150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking by Mary E. DeMuth (Harvest House Publishers)
Trying to get our children to open up and talk often proves futile. Seemingly overnight, they can go from endless chatter and questioning to quiet reserve and disinterest in parental perspectives. How do we share our values beyond simply dictating to our kids what to believe and what to avoid in today’s culture?
Mary DeMuth has three good reasons—three growing kids—to inspire her search for ways to provide healthy influence at home. Her ideas largely use the family dinner table, which studies reveal as most effective in influencing kids’ values and behavior. DeMuth’s family took up the habit of sharing trials and triumphs over meals, but then she had an inspiration—create questions the whole family could answer, one each night. She typed questions, cut them into squares, and placed them in a box in the center of the dinner table. She states: “Our table became a lively place of bantering, of exchanging ideas, dreams, and regrets. The questions probed into areas I hadn’t expect-ed. My kids learned about their parents. We learned about our kids—all in a nonthreatening, easygoing way.”
For those of us lacking the creative juices to produce more than a handful of conversational starters, DeMuth shares plenty in her latest book, 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking. Ten chapters offer 15 questions each—questions that likely will bring kids out of their shell while helping parents avoid the status of irrelevance. The author provides an articulate preface for each chapter. These pages offer personal stories and advice related to the various sections. DeMuth shares her own times of lesson-learning in the humble tone of a fellow traveler down the road of life, rather than an authoritative teacher all finished with the journey.
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House)
What happens when choices made by people we love dramatically and tragically alter our lives? Are we in some way responsible? How do we get past the past? Award-winning Christian author Lisa Wingate explores these issues in her uplifting novel Larkspur Cove.
Andrea Henderson’s world and faith shatter when her husband, a pastor-turned-religious-college-vice-chancellor, leaves her for another woman and loses his job amid financial irregular-ities. To make ends meet, she and her son move to her parents’ lake house near mythical Moses Lake, Texas, where she finds a job using her counseling degree.
Fourteen-year-old Dustin doesn’t want to leave Houston. Bored, he accepts an invitation to go boat-riding on the lake the day his mom’s car breaks down on her first trip into the backwoods to handle Child Protective Services referrals. Game Warden Matt McClendon catches the teens in illegal acts, takes them to a nearby bait and grocery shop, and makes them call their parents.
When Dustin can’t reach his mother, McClendon becomes convinced she’s unconcerned about her son. When Henderson meets the game warden, she’s certain he’s on a power trip, but he bears his own life-shattering wounds. To their dismay, the two find themselves forced to work together to avert tragedy when a reclusive Vietnam veteran suddenly appears with a shy, unkempt little girl.
Wingate’s descriptive passages and character development create a powerful story. And the thrilling conclusion makes for an exciting page-turner to the very end.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas