My Favorite Family Books for Summer


When I think of summer, I think of books and sweat.  Mostly because I remember sitting outside on summer days, swinging on the porch swing, reading the day away.  Even in my adult years, summer is the time I read more than any other time of the year.  And for my kids, when I hear, “I’m bored,”  the answer is usually, “Go read.”

When Andrew was a toddler and still napped in the afternoon, the older boys and I would sit on the screen porch and read together.  This was a time I would read out loud to them books that wouldn’t hold Andrew’s attention.  Andrew is now old enough to join us, and this time has become a little tradition.  I sip coffee, they sip lemonade, we rock in chairs, and we listen and linger over words.

I’m a big believer in reading anything.  Read, read, read.  However, reading offers a perfect opportunity for some intentional spiritual nurturing.  I thought today would be a good time to share our favorite summer books.

These books are PERFECT for the ages of my boys 5, 8, and 10.  But honestly, we’ve been reading them for 2 years now and they enjoyed them then.  There are many years ahead to enjoy them as well.

Case for Christ, Case for Faith, Case for Creator.  All the Case for…. books by Lee Strobel are amazing for kids.  The information is so easy to understand, and it really challenges them to think beyond, “I believe because you tell me to.”  He has a whole series just for kids.  They are fun, and my kids love listening to me read these books.

I’m a huge Josh McDowell fan.  He writes apologetics I can understand.  The same holds true for the books he writes for kids.  Our favorite is The Awesome Book of Bible Answers for Kids.  I have always read this aloud.  Now they enjoy reading it on their own.  The chapters are short, so it’s a great book to leave on the table, and they can pick it up and read a few minutes here and there without feeling they have to have the time to become involved in a storyline.  Zachary loves to tell me the cool facts he is learning.  The questions are the types even we as adults struggle with.

Other favorites include Jesus is Alive by McDowell and The Amazing Bible Adventure for Kids.

I’ve tried buying my boys individual devotions and they never stick with it.  These books are different.  They don’t feel it’s something added to their to-do list.

If you are looking for a way to weave in spiritual training this summer, I highly recommend these books.  It’s effortless and entertaining, yet the truths sink deep.

Summer kicks off officially in my house in exactly one week.  Our books are out and ready to read!

What are some of your favorite summer books?  Both children and adult?

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



5 Benefits of an Electronics Fast



For 30 days our home is electronic/screen free.

We are just a little over a week into this.  And we feel free.

It was a spur of the moment idea Steve had one weekend. “We are shutting down for 30 days.  For one month we will have no tv, no Wii, no electronics (with the exception of the computer for me to pay bills and blog and him for work).  Steve even went so far as to cancel Dish Network.

I don’t watch tv or play video games, so this isn’t as painful for me as it is the rest of the members of my household.  Honestly, I felt this would be a breeze for us anyway.  Our kids rarely watch tv during the week.  There simply is no time.  Wii is only allowed on the weekends.  A couple of 30 minute time blocks.

We started noticing some attitudes in our boys.  More bickering than we cared for.  And a constant asking to watch something or play some game.  A break was needed.


Top 5 positive changes from week 1:

  1. We don’t rush away from the moments.  We stay.  We linger.  We soak.  We relish.  There is nothing to rush away to.  No tv show to catch.  No video game to conquer.  Nothing but time and each other.  Dinner is slower, more relaxed.  There is no need to rush to eat so we can fit a show in before bedtime on a Saturday night.  We took a family bike ride Sunday afternoon to a favorite tree swing.  After a long time swinging, we asked if they were ready to head home.  Zachary’s immediate response, “No!!!”  One week ago he would have been begging to go home so that he could play the Wii one last time before the new week began.  
  2. We are having moments we’ve never had.  I’ve come to realize the distractions of our devices cause great anxiety and a sense of urgency.  When they are taken away, we are left with the simplicity of life.  We are left with the beauty of the ones we love waiting to be enjoyed.  When our affection and attention is taken away from our devices, it must go somewhere.  So we turn it to the ones we love.  Andrew wanted to take a bath Saturday night.  While he was playing in the tub, I heard Jacob in there talking to him.  He was just sitting on the side of the tub chatting away with his 4-year-old brother he rarely has time to simply enjoy.  Jacob began making up stories and songs.  He had Andrew captivated.  After that Andrew began to want to be with Jacob again.
  3. We are finding new activities to enjoy. I’ve found the boys putting together puzzles, setting up imaginary play scenes, making up new games, using tools to create projects.  I’ve even found them simply resting.  Yes, just lounging on the screen porch, enjoying nature, enjoying life.
  4. We are thinking.  Want to increase creativity and productivity?  Take away your devices. Your mind will slow down and focus.  We have noticed this in ourselves as well as the boys.  We all feel much more able to think clearly.
  5. We are reconnecting.  I found I had gotten in a pattern of putting a movie on while I cooked dinner.  Now, everyone is taking part in the dinner prep.  We are all together in the kitchen.  We all help clean up.  We are simply together more.  Jacob and I have had extensive conversations, which have really been lacking lately.  One of our long talks occurred while he was helping me prepare dinner and Steve was outside with the other boys.  I said, “See Jacob if you had been watching a movie, we would have missed this opportunity to have this time together.”  He just smiled and said, “I’m actually kind of liking this electronics fast now.”

When the option of electronics is completely removed, kids will become kids again.  When all the distractions are removed, we can fully enjoy our moments again.