The first is a young adult historical fiction novel titled, I AM REMBRANDT’S DAUGHTER by Lynn Cullen. (Bloomsbury, 2007) Cornelia van Rijn, Rembrandt’s illegitimate daughter, tells the story of her 16 years living with the famous creative genius. At the time of Cornelia’s birth in Amsterdam, however, Rembrandt had fallen out of favor with art patrons. The story recounts the struggles of the family, especially Cornelia’s search for her own identity and happiness amid the turmoil of poverty and the ever-present plague threat. Both romance and resilience play parts in this tender novel.
The second wonderful book is PSALMS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN by Marie-Helene Delval and illustrated by Arno. (Eerdmans, 2008) The title belies the fact that this beautiful book is a treat for all ages. 40 psalms are simplified for more easy reading and understanding. Arno follows this simplified approach with his colorful illustrations. The combination of text and pictures with the messages of love found in the psalms creates a truly powerful piece of literature.
*For another example of introducing young children to Biblical verses, check out my book–GIFTS FROM GOD.
The third book is a picture book by one of my favorite children’s authors, Karen Hesse. SPUDS (illustrated by Wendy Watson–Scholastic, 2008) tells the story of a poor rural family, three children and their hard-working mother. When the mother goes to work one night–leaving the eldest child, Maybelle–in charge. The narrator–the middle boy, Jack–relates their exploits when they decide to harvest left-over potatoes from a neighbor’s farm. They bundle up young brother, Eddie, pulling him in the old red wagon. They scramble in the dark to fill a bag full of potatoes, but when they return home they are in for a surprise. This is a touching story of a family working together to overcome their hardships. The illustrations evoke the 1930’s setting with sweet vignettes.
The weekend is almost here. I hope you get some extra reading time in–perhaps one of these great books would be the perfect treat.