Our family is celebrating Advent for the first time this year; we are making new traditions and just having a lot of fun with it. Knowing that we were going to start our school days with an Advent devotional of some kind, I was on the hunt for good stories that could go along with our beliefs and make it even more enjoyable for the boys. Then I read about Jotham's Journey and Bartholomew's Passage, two books written by Arnold Ytreeide and published by Kregel Publications.
Jotham's Journey is A Storybook for Advent. It is divided up into chapters for each day and week of Advent. It even has a yearly calendar in the back that tells you what day to start each year, all the way up through 2078. In the beginning of the story, Jotham ends up running away from home, hoping that his family will come looking for him, and they do; but after finding clues that a jackal has dragged something/someone off, they fear their son is dead, and they uproot their tents and move on....Jotham being left behind. This book carries him on the journey of a lifetime, all through the land of Israel, to find his family. There are many dangers that Jotham must face, including people like Decha; but along the way he will meet people like Zechariah with his baby son, John; Elizabeth; Salamar and the other wise men who are earnestly searching for the new King; and even the angels who announce that the Messiah has been born. Jotham's story is like a first-hand account, as if you are right there with him through the whole story of Christmas, living every moment before and during. Will Jotham find his family? The conclusion of the story is very powerful....
After each chapter is a small devotional with verses and concepts that are explained in a child-like way. In my opinion, this book would be great for younger and older alike, although parts of it could be a little scary for very young children. It's probably a book we will pull out every Christmas season. You can buy this book from Kregel Publications for $13.99, which is well worth it, in my opinion, for a whole month or more of chapters and devotionals for Advent.
Bartholomew's Passage is A Family Story for Advent. It too has chapters divided up by the days and weeks of Advent, so as to break it up into bite-size chunks. This is one book that would definitely be good to read in our family right now, as Jacob has been studying about the Romans in history....it might help his history to come alive even more. This is the story of Bartholomew, a boy whose town is attacked by Roman soldiers; in all of the confusion, Bartholomew loses track of his family. The Romans capture Jotham, and all seems lost as he is made a slave, and he hears that his parents were shipped off to Rome to become slaves themselves. Bartholomew is rescued by Nathan, though, and so begins his journey across Israel to find his family. As he journies, he will meet people such as Cornelius, Dorcas, Rabbi, etc. He will also face many dangers, including the danger of being captured again by the Romans or worse yet, by the evil Decha of Megiddo. Will Bartholomew find his family? Again, this book too ends in a very powerful way. The story is just written in such a vivid way, as to make you feel you are making the journey right alongside Bartholomew.
This book also has devotionals at the end of each chapter with verses. It could be read to younger and older alike, although parts of it could be scary for very young children. You can buy this book from Kregel Publications for $13.99, which again, in my opinion, is a very reasonable price for such a wonderful book.
Now, on to the giveaway! I am giving away one copy of these books, Jotham's Journey and Bartholomew's Passage to two very fortunate readers. You will win only one of these books. I will draw the winner, using Random.org, on Thursday, December 17; then I will give the lowest number that is drawn the copy of Jotham's Journey and the highest number that is drawn Bartholomew's Passage. I hope this makes sense; I just want to open the giveaway up to more than one reader, yet make it fair at the same time. You can enter in one or more of the following ways; please leave a separate comment for each way that you enter.
1) Leave me a comment, letting me know which book would be your favorite, if you had to choose.
2) Visit Kregel Publications, and tell me one or more other holiday books that interest you.
3) Follow my blog (only if you really want to); or you can subscribe to my posts.
4) Follow me on Twitter; tweet about this giveaway.
6) Blog about this giveaway on your own blog, being sure to link back to Real Heart Prints.
7) Leave me an additional comment, letting me know how you found out about this giveaway.
8) Place my blog button (located in my sidebar) on your blog (only if you really want to).
Good luck, and Merry Christmas!
(Disclosure: I was provided with 2 copies of each of these books, by Kregel Publications, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review and giveaway.)