The Christian Parenting Handbook

The Christian Parenting Handbook imageBooks about parenting are a dime a dozen.  Christian books about parenting may only cost you a couple of cents a dozen.  There are tons and tons and tons of them out there.  Some are good and some will make you long to watch water drip from a faucet.  Some will change the way you think about parenting, and some will promise amazing results in only seven days with their time tested program.

What is lacking in the Christian Parenting genre is a book that not only addresses the why of parenting based on Christian principles but the how.  Missing that is….until now.  With the launch today of Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller’s new book The Christian Parenting Handbook, a void is filled in helping parents to understand HOW to apply biblical principals to raising their kids.

This book is exactly what the title implies.  It is a handbook for parents on how to raise their kids in a way that addresses the heart issues your child faces throughout their young and adolescent years.  From the very first chapter which may catch you off guard – “Consistency Is Overrated” to the 50th chapter (“The Value of Grandparents”), this book will help you move from a behavioral control model of parenting to a model that addresses the core issues of the heart.

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Sunday School Teachers A to Z by Keith Hammond (A Dad in the Middle Review)

Front CoverMost of the reviews I do here on Dad in the Middle are from sources that I knew something about prior to agreeing to review the resources.  This book was an exception.  I was contacted by someone asking if I would do the review, and I decided to go ahead and do it.  I am always on the lookout for good new children’s ministry resources.

After receiving the book, I realized that it was geared more towards traditional adult Sunday School environments, but I was still hopeful that some of the information would be transferable to a children’s ministry setting.  With that background, the following is my review.

The Book

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My Reading List for 2012: 52 Weeks, 52 Books

I decided this year that I had slacked off on my reading. So, this coming year I’m planning on making up for it.  In addition to reading through the Bible once or twice this year (I haven’t decided yet), my plan is tackle at least one book per week for a total of 52 books this year.  The books reflect my interests, and I’ve tried to pick a variety of books.  My main criteria was that I already owned all of the books (except for one which I couldn’t resist adding to the list).  I figured I better work my way through the books I have before I start buying more.  I have grouped the books by category.  I used amazon links in case you want more information about the book, but I couldn’t seem to get rid of that pesky “Buy from” badge.  If books don’t load, just press the reload button on your computer (F5).  I had some problems with it.  So, what do you think of this collection.  What would you add?  Have you read any of these and have some comments or insights?  Please leave them below.

Books About Divorce

My passion and my ministry these days focus on helping children of divorce.  As such, I’ve accumulated a stock pile of books about children of divorce and about helping children of divorce.  I intend to get through most of them this year.  They make up about one-third of the list.  If I hadn’t been intentional about picking other types of books, that might have been more like one-half or two-thirds.

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THE TODDLER’S BIBLE (A Dad in the Middle Review)



As the father of four kids, one of whom is still only four, I jumped at the chance when I was asked to review The Toddler’s Bible by V. Gilbert Beers.  This book from David C. Cook publishing was first published in 1992.  It was released earlier this year with brand new artwork and a fresh cover.  Having seen both the old version (which I was already a fan of), and this new version, I can attest to the improvement in the overall look of the book.

About the Book

This book includes a collection of 101 Bible stories rewritten in the language of toddlers and presented against the backdrop of wonderful artwork.  Each story is four pages long with text appearing on two of the four pages.  I read through the entire book in about 30 minutes by myself, but that isn’t really the point of this book.  The point is to sit, or lay, down with your toddler and engage in the stories with them.  Talk to them about the stories, talk about the pictures, ask them questions and generally build a relationship around these stories and this book.  Dr. Beers has done a great job with picking Bible stories which are age appropriate and provide kids with a great Biblical foundation as they grow in their knowledge of the Bible.   I was struck by the overall completeness of the book which includes many stories that other toddler Bible ignore.  Without tackling every story in the Bible, Dr. Beers does a great job of selecting a great variety of important stories including many lesser known stories without neglecting the time honored “toddler” classics like Noah’s Ark and Daniel and Lion’s Den.

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iPad Books for Kids

For Christmas this year, my lovely wife (whom I love dearly, and for a lot more reasons than the one I am about to give) surprised me with an iPad.  I have wanted one for some time now (I’m a gadget guy), but I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase one for me.  At first, it struck mostly as an oversized iPhone (something else my wife finally broke down and decided I needed for father’s day last year).  The more I began to play with and use the iPad though, the more I began to see its great potential.  One of the the most enjoyable things I have found it to be useful for is reading.  Whether it is books read through the Kindle App or in depth bible study using Olive Tree, reading occupies a good deal of the time I spend on my iPad.

One night when I went to read to my four year old Nathan before bed, he asked if we could read a book together on the iPad.  It seemed harmless enough, so I forked out $2.99 plus tax and bought my first kids interactive book for the iPad.  Since then, he prefers, almost exclusively, to be read to from the iPad as opposed to old fashioned paper books.  Being a bit cheap, I keep my eye out for good cheap or free kids books, and I have compiled a list of Nathan’s favorites below.  If you know of any other great free / low cost kids books, please leave them in the comments below:

  1. imageCat in the Hat – I paid $2.99 for this Dr. Seuss classic.  It has options to read to you, and if your child clicks on a picture, the associated word appears.  This is a great app for young children learning to read and children of all ages who love Dr. Seuss.  The price of these books seems to go up and down frequently, so look for a good deal.  I use App Shopper to keep track of my wish list.  All of the Dr. Seuss apps are universal meaning they will work on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  All of my kids use the same apple id as me so they all get access to these books on their own device.
  2. imageYou’re Only Old Once – See my description of Cat in the Hat above for additional information on how this app works.  There is a great collection of Dr. Seuss books apps available, and they’re all on my wish list waiting for the price to come down a little bit.  One of the nice things about these apps is that once you’ve used one, they all work essentially the same way.
  3. imageAesop’s Fables – This interactive app comes with one free story, and you can buy four more for a $1.99 in app purchase.  I bought them, and it was a great investment.  These are some of Nathan’s favorite stories.  There is an option to have the book read to you (a must in Nathan’s mind) and various object “shine” during the story indicating that they can be clicked on for special actions.
  4. imageThe Ugly Duckling – This classic story is retold in this wonderfully illustrated book.  You can choose to have the book read to you or read it yourself.  Either way, each page includes some items which allow your child to interact with the story – from stirring up a storm to causing crazy reactions from ducks, this one was free and a great investment.
  5. imageToy Story – This classic telling of the first movie was free and comes directly from Disney.  Mixing great illustrations and video clips from the movie, it is a captivating story and top notched in terms of quality.  To be honest, I can’t figure out why they are giving it away for free, but I’m glad they are!
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025451011I’d like to meet Ryan Frank sometime.  Perhaps we could sit down over a drink (lemonade of course) and discuss children’s ministry, being a dad and life in general.  He and I come from the same generation (he’s a little younger, but not much!)  I’ve always enjoyed reading what he has to write – whether on his blog or in K! Magazine, and the more I read, the more I am convinced that we would get along famously.  So, when I found out that he was writing a book, and was anxious to get my hands on it.  I was not disappointed. 

Reading through 9 Things They Didn’t Teach Me in College About Children’s Ministry felt like I was having a conversation with Ryan and some of his closest friends.  The book is an easy read, which is not to imply that it lacks depth and insight, but only that Ryan writes so well that you often don’t realize how much of the book you’ve read by the time you put it down.  Despite how easily reads, and how relatively short each chapter is, the amount of information and practical advice packed into each page is astounding.  This book will not only make you think, it will give you a laundry list of practical ideas that you can start implementing today.  

Published to look like a an old blank notebook you might have used in college, each chapter tackles one important issue related to working in children’s ministry.  I don’t mind ruining the surprise, especially since you can find the table of contents online, so the nine chapters are:

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