Jennifer’s Recommendations by Eryn Tolley | May 7, 2022 Jennifer’s Book Recommendations Favorite Children’s Book Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman – I love this book because my adopted grandparents bought it for me when I was very little. Apparently I would never let Sarah Kathryn read the “goodbye” pages. I used to love just staring at the illustrations and imagining what it would be like to be in their world! Favorite Juvenile Novel Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls – Oh my goodness. My nine-year-old self read this in 4th grade and was never the same again. It was the first time literature made me sob. Long live Old Dan and Little Ann, the greatest coon dogs to ever live in my heart. Favorite Childhood Authors My love for Beverly Clearly and all things Ramona Quimby should never be underestimated, along with my ridiculous obsession with the Berenstain Bears. However, as much as I adore Ramona, my deepest love will always be for Janette Oke and Hilda Stahl. These authors shaped my entire childhood and love for reading. I still own my complete childhood sets of the Love Comes Softly and When Calls the Heart series. They are tattered and worn, battle scars from multiple readings throughout a lifetime. If anyone personally knows a Canadian Mountie, you are now obliged to introduce me. Should I have been blessed with a daughter, I always wanted to name her Sadie after Hilda Stahl’s heroine, Sadie Rose. But perhaps the reason I love these so much to this day is that my father read each of these books with me, discussing them with me, loving the characters with me, and joining me in the adventures that I loved so much. Priceless. Favorite Authors as a Parent Hands down Mo Willems. No contest. Go on an adventure with Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, Knufflebunny, or Edwina right now! As my boys have gotten older, we have thoroughly enjoyed reading through some Gordon Korman novels. Don’t tell anyone, but The Unteachables and Ungifted actually made my fourteen-year-old laugh out loud. While not my personal cup of tea, Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey have earned my ultimate respect. My boys love Greg Heffley and Dogman the way I love Ramona and Garfield. Kudos to those authors for encouraging my boys to read! Family Favorite The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Wait! Let me explain! For fifteen years I could have cared less about dear Harry, but when our oldest son participated in the CCYT production of Sally Cotter, we figured we should at least read the first novel so we would get the puns in the play. My husband was the first to succumb. This is only significant if you understand that he does NOT read fiction….ever. He is strictly a non-fiction, trivia, newspaper kind of reader. He read the ENTIRE SERIES…..ON HIS PHONE (don’t even get me started)….IN A MONTH! Well, there was no way I was going to let him out-read me. I did not read them on my phone, it took me many months, and it wasn’t until the end of book 3 that I was completely hooked, but hooked I was! My youngest listened to the entire series on audiobooks and has just recently completed reading the final novel. He has always been an avid reader, so he and I were easily conquered. Now, the final domino. I never thought I would see the day when my oldest would voluntarily read something other than the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series (shout-out for you trivia lovers). He is now completely engrossed in book 5, steeped in appreciation for how much deeper and richer the characters and plots are in literature than in the movies. Well done, Harry, well done. Current Favorite Authors Apologetics has been a fascinating topic for me the past few years. I would highly recommend J. Warner Wallace as an easy step into this area. Cold Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith also have a kid’s version that I enjoyed as much as the adult version! I LOVE Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer. “Chew and Spit” all of you fellow Mama Bears out there! I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I have never cared for his Chronicles of Narnia series, so I was hesitant to try anything else he has written. Shame on me! Up next for me will be Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ and Michael Guillen’s Believing is Seeing. If you have authors in this area you enjoy, let me know!