Fireflies in December
By Jennifer Erin Valent
Tyndale House Publishers
“The summer I turned thirteen, I thought I’d killed a man,” begins this book. Here is a story of adolescence, prejudice, and heartfelt love that wraps around all the ugliness of a society being driven by hate and stubbornness. As thirteen-year-old Jessilyn explains it: “summers are long and hot and sticky. They drag on and on, making slow things seem slower and bad things seem worse.”
Well, they were bad, and even their trying to do the right thing was turned into something wrong–at least in the eyes of some of the other residents when the KKK was alive and active in the farming community called Coopersville.
Jessilyn’s crush on 19-year old Luke who works for her daddy and comes for supper most every day is a major coming of age experience as the events unfold during the hot summer of 1932. A bit of mystery, a glimpse into a youthful love experience, and a touch of admiration for those who refuse to be bullied out of doing the right thing make an entertaining, refreshing, and inspiring story, one that perhaps even solidifies what we already know but don’t always recognize.
No Longer an Orphan: Never Abandoned, Never Alone
By Dana Stone
Westbow Press, 2010
This is a beautiful story of love that goes beyond human potentials. But there is much more than just a story. It is a beautiful testimony of love. First there is the journey to China to adopt a Chinese baby girl and the long trip home filled with love and joy, It’s really all about God the Father. Each chapter has a title describing God–as Creator, Provider, Joy giver, Healer, and 23 more attributes. Much of the text used to explain these attributes is in the story of journeys: waiting for–and then going to–China, where they meet their baby and deal with the very long journey back to America.
But that is only a part of the message. Each chapter is titled as “The God Who…”
It speaks of God’s plan, God’s provision, and especially how God calls us to learn to see and hear–recognize–how God sends experiences as blessings. It reminds us how we can receive, and then share, the good even in the hard part of life.