Reading Bingo PrintableDoes anyone else often get stuck reading the same type of book or other reading material over and over again? And do you read in the same place all the time?

I do. I’ve been stuck on British crime novels for a long time now (and I’m addicted to British crime TV dramas as well, but that’s an issue for another day). And I always read either in my recliner or in my bed. It’s kind of a routine, and while there’s nothing wrong with routines, I think I need to mix it up a little. Maybe you do too.

With that in mind, I created a Reading Bingo printable for myself and for you, my loyal blog readers. I made it with both adults and independent kid readers in mind, so various ages can use it.

This is a great tool to use with kids who love to read as well as those who need a little prompting to get some more reading time in.

You might want to give yourself a certain time frame to get “bingo”—like summer or a specific month. Maybe your goal will be to cross off the whole board. Or you might want to make it a contest with a friend, child, or even your entire family. It’s up to you to do whatever you wish with it.

If you decide to play Reading Bingo, I’d love to hear about your plans for you and/or your kids. Leave a comment below to give the rest of us ideas.

Click here to download the Reading Bingo pdf: Reading Bingo

Want another way to connect with your kids over books?

If so, you need to check out our companion novels for women and tweens. The two books have an intertwining storyline, but one is written for adults and one is written for children. Adults can connect with kids by reading the books together and discussing the characters, story, and themes of forgiveness and community service. Click below to find out more.

Connect with Kids by Reading Companion Novels // A novel for adults and a novel for kids: both books contain a shared storyline, with the same characters, timeline, and setting, but they're written from two different points of view and for two different age groups. // #reading #parenting #kids #books #fiction #family

The purpose of this website is to inspire people to live well and serve others and then influence the children in their lives to do the same. You can find other resources that will help you influence kids to live well and serve others in our online store and on our companion novels page. 

If you didn't grow up in poverty, it can be hard to understand the issues, obstacles, and hidden rules people in poverty deal with every day. And when you lack understanding, you either don't see the need to help, OR you might help in ways that actually hurt the people you're trying to help, regardless of your intentions. The books in this list will open readers' minds to the realities of poverty in America, and they give ideas and tips for how to help. #poverty #bekind #serveothers #books

If you didn’t grow up in generational poverty, it can be difficult to understand the issues, obstacles, and hidden rules people living in poverty deal with every day. And when you lack understanding, it can lead to various problems.

If you didn't grow up in poverty, it can be hard to understand the issues, obstacles, and hidden rules people in poverty deal with every day. And when you lack understanding, you either don't see the need to help, OR you might help in ways that actually hurt the people you're trying to help, regardless of your intentions. The books in this list will open readers' minds to the realities of poverty in America, and they give ideas and tips for how to help. #poverty #bekind #serveothers #books

You might think you shouldn’t do anything to help because all they need to do is just “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” which is not the case for many people. Or, on the other hand, you might want to help, but you end up doing so in ways that can actually hurt the people you’re trying to help, even though you have the best of intentions.

The following books will open readers’ minds to the realities of poverty in America and similar countries in the developed world. Some do delve into alleviating poverty in developing countries, but for the most part, the focus of these books is on poverty in America.

Some of these books about poverty provide general understanding, others lay out best practices for school and/or community involvement and engagement, and still others warn of the dangers of helping without understanding the deeper issues. Without exception, the book titles are self-explanatory.

If you were to only choose one of these books to read, my suggestion is the first one below: A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne.

Click on the book covers to go to the Amazon product page and find out more information.  Continue reading “Books to Help You Understand Poverty (and How to Alleviate It)”

Amy Simpson: Advocating for Mental Health


When Amy Simpson was four years old, her mom would often lock herself into her bedroom for hours at a time. While that’s not an ideal situation at any time, the bigger issue is that this would happen while Amy’s dad was at work and her older siblings were at school. So that left Amy and her two-year-old sister on their own.

How a Parents Mental Illness Can Affect Children // Read Amy Simpsons story to discover how kids are affected by mental illness in their home. Find tips for how to help them. // #mentalillness #mentalhealth #kids #family #parenting #kindness

More than a decade would pass before Amy’s mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia, though she’d been showing symptoms—some quite concerning—since she was in her late teens. This was the 70s, after all, and mental illness carried much more of a stigma than it does today. And it was never discussed in the church, which was a major problem because Amy’s dad was a pastor.

Amy recalls that her mom didn’t have any friends. She knew plenty of people an interacted with them on a regular basis at church, but her mom socially struggled, and she was very withdrawn and disengaged. She often couldn’t explain her thoughts or emotions.

In many families that have a family member with a mental illness, it’s very similar to households where someone has an addiction. Everything centers around that person. Everyone does what they can to make adaptations to protect, avoid, or keep from upsetting that person. This is what happened with Amy’s family, without anyone acknowledging it. She also can’t remember a time when things felt “right” with her mom.

“From as far back as I can remember, I lived with the conviction that I was stronger than my mom.”

“She needed my help and protection. … That awareness was always with me, but it wasn’t something that I processed. The whole family functioned that way without talking about it.”

Continue reading “Amy Simpson: Advocating for Mental Health”

NOTE: This page contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Books That Teach Kids About ForgivenessAs adults, we know forgiveness is a virtue we all need to cultivate, but we also realize it’s not easily learned. Kids often have a hard time with it (as do adults!), and they need to have forgiveness modeled to them by the people around them in order to begin to understand the need for and importance of it.

As with many things in life, kids (and adults) can also learn about forgiveness from stories—both non-fiction and fiction. Through stories, kids can observe situations where other children need to forgive, and they can learn from the ways the characters deal with those situations.

The following fiction books will help kids understand the importance of forgiveness. This isn’t an exhaustive list of books that teach forgiveness by any means, as many books deal with the theme of forgiveness in minor ways. However, these books place a primary focus on the value of forgiveness.





























Books That Teach Kids About Forgiveness // #kids #parenting #teaching #reading #forgiveness #books #childrensbooks

























































Books That Teach Kids About Forgiveness // #kids #parenting #teaching #reading #forgiveness #books #childrensbooks





























Continue reading “Books That Teach Kids Forgiveness”

Note: This is part one of a two-part post about Jeanette Hanscome. Click here to read part two about Jeanette’s journey through divorce and single parenthood.

Jeanette HanscomeJeanette Hanscome was born with a vision impairment called achromatopsia, which causes complete color blindness, low vision, and extreme sensitivity to light. In her words, “We have what is called day blindness. If I go outside during the sunlight hours without my sunglasses on, everything is like a white sheet.”

You would think such symptoms would lead to an early diagnosis, right? Wrong. Jeanette wasn’t diagnosed until she was eight years old.

Up until then, her parents, teachers, and doctors were stumped. They knew she couldn’t see well, her eyes shook, and she wasn’t learning her colors. But it’s such a rare disorder (1 in 33,000 people) that it took a long time for anyone to connect the dots.

Jeanette was the first person in her school with a visual impairment, and they weren’t equipped to deal with it.

Continue reading “Jeanette Hanscome: Unlimited by Low Vision”

How to Connect with Kids Over Books They Love; #kids #parenting #reading #books


How to Use Books to Connect with Kids // Find out how to look for repeating themes in books kids love, and learn how to capitalize on that knowledge in order to connect with them. // #reading #kids #parenting #teaching #books #family #connect #children

I recently had the opportunity to talk to the fifth grade students at School of the Osage in Osage Beach, Missouri, about writing and books. While thinking about what I wanted to say, I thought back to the books I loved as a kid.

I read a ridiculous amount of books when I was little. (And I still do.) But what I realized the other day is that I don’t remember much about most of those books.

There’s even very little I recall about the book I read more than any other book in elementary school: Superfudge by Judy Blume. I’ve always been the kind of person who hates to crack a spine, dog-ear a page, or otherwise mar a book. But my copy of Superfudge was nearly falling apart by the time I outgrew it. Yet I still have very little memory of what it was about, other than the fact that Fudge had an older brother named Peter and a baby sister named Tootsie.

My parents’ basement currently houses boxes upon boxes of Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden mysteries. However, I remember exactly one minor storyline from any of those hundreds of books. Continue reading “Connect with Kids Over Books They Love”