Review of Children's Book: It's Not About You, Mr. Santa Claus & 2 Giveaways!

by Sally Matheny
It's Not About You, Mr. Santa Claus
If you don’t want to exclude Santa Claus, but still focus on Christ this Christmas, then you’ll want to check out It’s Not About You, Mr. Santa Claus: A Love Letter About the True Meaning of Christmas. (Morgan James Publishing)

     First, the author, Soraya Diase Coffelt, has an interesting story of her own. She is a native of U.S. Virgin Islands, a lawyer, and a former judge. Soraya serves on mission trips to Honduras and the Amazon and has volunteered in the children’s ministry for fifteen years.   


     Soraya established As the Stars of the Sky Foundation, Inc. in 2012. This non-profit corporation assists the physical and spiritual needs of children, which brings us to the book, It’s Not About You, Mr. Santa Claus.

     All the proceeds from the sale of Soraya’s books go toward the foundation. How cool is that? Also, she has donated two books to give away! 

     Be sure to enter for the drawing at the end of the post by entering a comment in the comments section below. Two, randomly chosen winners will be selected on December 8, 2014.

     It’s Not About You, Mr. Santa Claus is written from a child’s perspective in the form of a letter to Santa. I like that the illustrations allow the child to be either a boy or a girl. We only see the hand writing the letter. 

     The child believes in Santa, elves, and flying reindeer but this year instead of writing a letter asking for things, the child wants to tell Santa something—the true meaning of Christmas. 

     The story begins with Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, includes the angels and the shepherds, and ends with information about King Herod and the Magi.

     I like the shepherds not minding the smells of the stable animals because "they were used to them" and "smelled like them, too."

     The child shares the reason we have Christmas. He ends the letter by thanking Santa for all he does and tells him he still loves him, but he loves Jesus more. He writes,

     “This Christmas, instead of asking you for more gifts, I’ve told you about the most precious gift of all. Jesus was born to be our Savior and Lord.”

     A simple, sinner’s prayer is included on the last page.

     While scripture is not quoted in the story, the story is accurately told according to the Holy Bible. 

Author, Soraya Diase Coffelt
     If you’re a parent wanting to keep the Santa Claus traditions, yet share with your child the origin and truth of Christmas, this colorful and Santa-friendly book is the way to go.

     To learn more, visit Soraya’s website www.asthestarsofthesky.org

     Be sure to leave a comment below in order to be entered in the drawing for one of the two free books! These will make great Christmas gifts.

(This giveaway has ended. Alleena and Pam are our winners.)




Announcing the Winner of the Creative Writing Curriculum!

Rafflecopter randomly selected the winner of the "Ocean Adventures in Writing" curriculum:

Tracy Teague of N.C.

Congratulations, Tracy! The author of the curriculum, Jan May, will be emailing you soon about your prize!


Sending You a Tropical Breeze - Review of Jan May’s Ocean Adventures Creative Writing Curriculum & a Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny

Sending You a Tropical Breeze
A cold wind may be whistling outside your window but today, a tropical breeze is coming your way.

     Do you have a young, reluctant writer in your home? I do. My fourth-grader freezes over when he’s required to write. He hates it. Which is why I was eager to try out Jan May’s curriculum, Ocean Adventures in Creative Writing.  Clearly stated on the front cover is the statement, “Even the reluctant writer will dive in!”

     Not only did I plan to get my reluctant writer’s toes in the water, but I also hoped the curriculum would splash enthusiasm into a homeschool co-op class I was teaching.

     The students ranged in ages from eight to twelve. Only a third of the class professed to enjoy writing. Here are a few of their comments upon completion of the class:

     I liked writing a story about my ocean adventure. I liked being able to choose my own animal instead of being assigned one. – Meredith (10)

     I’ve never been able to write this much in one week before. I never wanted to write this much before this class. – Samuel (8)

     I loved how fun it was. I liked the ocean theme. [The lessons] were easy to understand. – Zac (10)

     What makes this curriculum so likable to students?

Ocean Adventures in Creative Writing
·         to research an own ocean animal of their own choosing
·         to create their own ocean community setting
·         to devise their own characters and plot
·         to focus on the story more than grammar and punctuation

Bite-Sized Lessons
·         Character, Setting, and Plot
·         Writing beginnings, middles, and endings
·         Spicing up your story
·         Editing

Fun Factor
·         Opportunities to interact with friends
·         Additional art and craft ideas
·         Spotlight presentation at the end

    What makes this 53-page curriculum attractive to teachers?

·         Easy to follow teacher notes
·         Clear and concise worksheets for students
·         Printables of twenty ocean animals and handwriting paper with an ocean-themed border

·         Easily incorporated into other school subjects
·         Written primarily for ages 8-12, it is great for use by students of various ages, within the same setting
·         For students at various writing skill levels

     The curriculum offers ten lesson plans before students present their final story. Jan May offers additional ideas that could easily stretch this curriculum over several months, if desired.

     A “spotlight theatre” is suggested for the culminating project where students present their stories. However, my class opted for a sunlight theatre outside. 

     The reluctant writers may not be in the deep waters of writing yet, but they sure enjoyed wading out past their knees.

     After presenting their stories, several students experienced the exhilaration of riding their first wave. That’s a great feeling and usually it prompts a desire to do it again!

     If your students are dreading the winter blahs of writing, consider sending them a fun, tropical breeze with the Ocean Adventures Creative Writing program.


Author, Jan May is a veteran homeschool mom, freelance writer, and book author with a Christian worldview. Connect with her at www.newmillenniumgirls.com.

     Jan is graciously offering a free download of the Ocean Adventures Creative Writing curriculum to the one winner Rafflecopter selects on November 25, 2014. There are several ways to increase your chances of winning. 
Rafflecopter will accept entries between midnight on 11/17/14 and midnight 11/25/14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Veterans—Why Children Still Need You

by Sally Matheny    

Surely they served with our children in mind.
Those who have served in our Armed Forces, during times of peace and times of war, have surely done so with our children in mind.

From the Revolutionary War to the latest war on terrorism, our service members have fought to protect our freedom and way of life.    
Many service members hoped their service would provide a better life for the next generation.

Not only do I want to express my appreciation, I also want to remind veterans why our children still need you.    


Girls’ Devo Book Review: Just Sayin’ by Carol McAdams Moore

by Sally Matheny

Just Sayin' by McAdams Moore
Don't judge this book by its cover. This paperback, 90-day devotion book is perfect for daughters (ages 8-12) who love digging & doodling. Each two-page devotional contains a scripture (NIV or NLT) and questions to get your girls pondering. Best of all, they'll love the opportunities to put their thoughts into pictures, puzzles, quizzes, and more.

One devotion is from Psalm 95. After some reflection on the scripture, you draw inside a frame of hearts a time you had a hardened heart and another space is for how you look living out life with a soft heart.

You can check out other sample pages from the book at Christian Book Distributors.

In addition to the topics and the various "doodle" activities, the terminology in the book will also appeal to girls 8-12. (ex. "peeps"= friends) 

Published by Zonderkidz, Carol McAdams Moore’s devo book for girls is in Christian bookstores and on-line for around ten dollars.  

This book appeals to the heart
and your artistic side!
I wasn't sure I'd like this book based on the cover (maybe I just don't care for dogs in sunglasses) but I do like this book! It has Truth and the fun factor. It will appeal to all types, but especially to those who don’t enjoy a lot of reading. Devos are short, substantial, and snazzy. 

Sorry. I'm not giving this book away. I've got a certain girl in mind to receive this one. 

However, I will be giving away a free, children's writing curriculum the week of November 16 so be sure to check back for details on that!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.