Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Book review: 'Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas'

Asleep on the HayAuthor and illustrator, Ben Sowards, has written his first book, "Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas." Sowards uses a story to help teach children and adults alike the true meaning of Christmas.

Paul lives on a farm in the midwest—the Dust Bowl. Because recent dust storms destroyed his family's crops, his parents are seeking employment out west. It'll just be his grandfather and his beloved calf, Ellie, together for Christmas.

When a couple with a baby show up on their doorstep in need of help, Paul's grandfather not only shares with them their small amount of food and gives them a place to stay, he also decides to sell Ellie to help them get their truck fixed so they can get their sick infant to the doctor.

Paul is upset at the prospect of selling his calf. The woman gives him a small box with an engraving of a scripture Paul has heard many times before, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Paul runs to the barn to be with his calf and angrily throws the box on the ground, breaking it. He discovers puzzle pieces inside, begins to put it together, but then decides to shut his eyes for a bit and snuggles up next to Ellie.

He falls asleep and has a dream where he finds himself in Bethlehem and overhears King Herod's plot to kill the baby Jesus. He runs off to find and warn Mary and Joseph.

What happens gives him a personal experience of the true meaning of Christmas and changes his heart.

With beautiful illustrations by Sowards, "Asleep on the Hay" is an enjoyable story for all ages that can bring the spirit of Christmas into readers' homes.

This is Sowards' first book he has authored, but has illustrated other books such as "A Christmas Dress for Ellen," "Seven Miracles that Saved America" and "Christmas Oranges."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thinking Through Our Fingers: When the negative feedback comes...and it will

I'm on the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog today talking about how we can "shake it off" when it comes to negative feedback (and knowing the difference between negative and constructive!).

Thinking Through Our Fingers: When the negative feedback comes...and it will: As writers, we love to hear all the awesome things people think about our writing. And while there is a lot of positive feedback (probably m...