Review: Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln from YWAM Publishing

YWAM Publishing_zpswsszfqxbIt has been three years since my family was introduced to books from YWAM Publishing.  Since then these biographies of Christian Heroes and Heroes of History haven been a mainstay of our homeschooling lives.  We are almost always reading one of their books as a read aloud.  (My boys could totally read the books on their own probably in just a couple of afternoons.  Except then I’d miss out on such great books.  So we choose to read them aloud!) I stock up on these books big time every spring at our local homeschooling convention.  These are books that challenge and encourage our Christian faith, teach about God’s work in our world, and their newest history books give us a great deal of information about fantastic characters from our past.  This time we were given the Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln from YWAM Publishing  along with the Digital Unit Study for review.

We chose the Abraham Lincoln biography as we figured it’d be a great supplement to our American History and Civil War studies.  In fact we received the book just after a trip to Washington D.C. where we got to view the Lincoln Memorial.

Abraham Lincoln_zpsqmzgytziLike all of the YWAM Publishing books, the story of the life of Abraham Lincoln is told in a fascinating way that makes all of the children beg for just… “One More Chapter Please!” Though these are technically geared for children ages 10 and up even my five year old adores these books.

We begin in Abraham Lincoln’s early childhood years where we learn great details about how and where Abraham Lincoln grew up, the tragedies and difficult life he faced, and the events that lead him to become the man that he was.  We learn exactly how this seemingly uneducated man made his way to the presidency during some of the most tumultuous days in our country’s history.  The book is completely historically accurate with so much fact buried in such a compelling story.  Your forget you are reading a historical biography.

The Digital Unit Study adds so much to the experience of reading the story. It helps you dig a little deeper and think a little more about so many details of the story.

The study guide provides resources for teaching:


  • Reading Comprehension
  • Creative Writing
  • Essay Writing
  • History and Geography
  • Quotes for Memorization

This Digital Unit Study can so much to a study of the Civil war.  It gives you ideas for building a log cabin, investigating flags and money from Abraham Lincoln’s time period, you’ll be looking at photographs too.  Such a great way to make some of the history come alive.

Our family focused mostly on the Reading Comprehension and Geography activities.  We discussed many of the quotes that are offered.  We also dug through whatever sights we could find on the internet to find the pictures I described above.  We haven’t quite finished the last 2 or 3 chapters of the book however when we do I’ll be asking the boys to choose either an essay or a creative writing assignment to finish up our study. Ezra is looking forward to creating a map of Lincoln’s journey’s.  Activities like that are right up his alley. Noah plans to write and illustrate a children’s book about Lincoln’s life.

Please if you haven’t checked out YWAM Publishing books and Digital Unit Studies you just must take the time!  These books are a treasure.  In fact, I’m headed to that homeschool convention this weekend.  Guess which booth I’m hitting first!

To find out more about YWAM Publishing:

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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6 Things My Children Love About Being Read Aloud To!

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It’s no secret that my children LOVE it when Mommy takes the time to read aloud to them!  I often read while they play Legos in their bedroom.  I lounge on their bed while they build away.  It works perfectly!  A couple of weeks ago I shared with you the reasons I think reading aloud to children is so fantastic.  You can read that post here.  I recently asked my children to share with me why the enjoy being read to so much! Here are their answers.

1. We like to hear about new adventures! We like to pretend we are really IN the story!

2. The more you read to us the more time we have to play Legos!

3. It makes us feel like you care about us because you are spending time with us.

4. It makes us feel happy and calm.

5. We can hear stories that are too hard for us to read by ourselves.

6. We like learning new things in the stories!

Do you read aloud to your children?  What have been your family’s favorite read alouds?


7 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Children!


Once upon a time I figured once my children hit a stage where reading was as natural as breathing that one of my many Mommy jobs would be done!  I would be finished with reading aloud to them.  Why wouldn’t I be?  They could handle it quite well on their own.  Now I’m free to do…. other things!  Like, I don’t know… laundry!  Yeah LAUNDRY!  Ok, really?  Laundry is better than reading to my kids?  Not so much!  Truthfully though, in all of my fancy education classes all the way through my Master’s Degree no one ever talked about reading to children AFTER they were solid reader’s in their own right.  We only talked about reading aloud as phenomenal tool for developing everything from language skills, prereading skills, fluency, and of course emotional bonding.  It never dawned on me that there could be great benefits to reading aloud possibly forever!  Also, I never imagined I’d LIKE it either!  But I do! I really really do!

Let’s talk about some benefits of reading aloud to older, independent readers.

  1. It inspires their reading!  It is quite an effective way to get my children interested in a new series or introduce my kiddos to a new author.  I often choose books to read to them that they might not have chosen to read on their own either because they view the topic as outside of their interest, or because they are intimidated by the size of the book perhaps.  What usually happens is they enjoy that book so much that they either reread the book on their own after we are through, or they begin devouring other books in the series or by the same author.
  2. Reading aloud gives me a chance to expand their vocabulary. What do you as an adult do when you are engrossed in a story but yet you stumble upon a word you aren’t exactly familiar with? You do the same thing children do, you try to guess at the meaning based on context and then you move on.  If you figure it out, great! If  you don’t, I doubt you typically take the time to stop and look it up.  When Mommy reads aloud Mommy will stop and discuss new words.  Truthfully my boys usually stop ME if they are unsure.  We’ve learned words together like unconscious and contentious together.
  3. Reading aloud gives me a chance to discuss hard topics with my children in a very non-confrontational way. It isn’t uncommon for the characters in fictional books to find themselves in some sort of trouble one way or another.  I often pause and ask my children simple questions like, “Do you think he did the right thing?” or “What would you have if this were you?” Boy can those simple questions get the conversation rolling. Then Mommy has a great chance to spout off to wonderful wisdom (LOL) about the situation. Truthfully it’s usually my children who surprise me with their own wisdom. It’s a wonderful way to pass along our family ethics and values.  Sometimes we get really side tracked by these conversations.  But they are worth every minute.  Once in while, when someone in our home does something naughty, we even relate it back to some event in a book we’d previously read together to reinforce the lesson we need to learn.  These can be pretty meaningful moments in our home.
  4. Reading aloud can help keep us busy! Books are pretty portable.  Ebooks are EXTREMELY portable.  I often bring our current read aloud along whenever I think we might end up hanging around waiting for something.  The doctor’s office is a prime example. A book or kindle is a lot easier to tote around than a bunch of toys!  I’ll sneak in little bits of reading while waiting on Daddy to fill up the van at the gas station or run into the store to grab that thing we need.  I use it to transition us between activities too.  If the kids are getting anxious for dinner but it isn’t quite ready yet… I can read to help pass the time.  Usually they ask ME to bring our book… even to the park! Yep, I’ve read to my children as we sat together on an empty play-scape.  How fun is that?
  5. Reading aloud can help children develop their ability to delay gratification. Truthfully, it takes Mommy longer to read a book aloud than they could read it on their own.  Reading aloud is slower.  Plus, I only have so much time in a day.  If I handed the book over they could surely finish it faster.  The beauty is in the slowness sometimes.  All of us can really soak up the story! We can pause, think about and discuss what is going on.  We can debate about what the author meant, how the character felt, or what we think they should have done.  When you read quickly, alone, few take time for any of these things.  I know I don’t! PLUS! It’s quite the lesson when Mommy closes the book and we all have to wait until NEXT time to find out what happens next!  Oh the GROANS!  I love it!
  6. Reading aloud can be used as a reward! What’s better than food, candy, or screen time?  A lot of time it can be read aloud time with Mommy!  Yes, if you step into our home you might actually hear me say… “If you guys don’t stop fighting I am NOT going to read to you tonight!”  If we are in the middle of a really good book, the fighting STOPS! Instantly!  Like magic!  No one wants to have to wait too long to see what happens next!
  7. Reading aloud with your children can be an excellent bonding experience! This has got to be my favorite thing about reading aloud.  When you read a book together you experience the joys, heartbreaks, traumas, sorrows, and laughter of all of the characters together.  I have enjoyed fits of laughter and nearly painful tears right along side my boys.  I think I will forever hold the memory sitting on the couch with my 7 year old smooshed in my lap, the two of us pouring our eyes out as we experienced the moment Charlotte died in Charlotte’s Web. We comforted each other and they we rejoiced together as Charlotte’s many babies were born.  What an afternoon that was! All because of a book!

I bet you are wondering what make a great read aloud for your family!  Of course I already mentioned Charlotte’s Web! But if your children have already read that one then I have to suggest the Lily Lapp books that I reviewed here.  I know on the surface they seem geared toward girls but have no fear…. I can attest to the fact that boys love them too!  These were truly some of the best books I’ve read aloud to my children yet!  We all loved them so very much!

If you have any good suggestions for excellent read alouds PLEASE share them in the comments!  I’m always looking for new ideas and so are my readers!