I was so grateful when Bonnie Engstrom of "A Knotted Life" (as part of her Advent series) asked me to write about Advent traditions in our family. I must have been feeling a little discouraged when I wrote about not being well-prepared for Advent, because it was very encouraging for me to have the chance to articulate what we do well this time of year.
I write about "go with your strengths" and our family's strength, of course, is using books to celebrate Advent and Christmastime. The one book I featured was The Miracle of St. Nicholas by Gloria Whelan and beautifully illustrated by Judith Brown. We finally read our copy of The Miracle of St. Nicholas until after dinner, but it was a nice quiet after-dinner time. There was a lot of chocolate eaten today (including by me!)
But my St. Nicholas Day present (a surprise, and welcome surprise!) came in the mail this afternoon--when I picked up the mail and saw a copy of Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints by Colleen Swaim.
I am a huge Colleen Swaim fan since I read her first book Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints. It's a book intended for teen readers, but I loved and all my kids (8-13 at the time) loved it. I've given it as a gift multiple times, and everyone I've given it to or recommended it to has loved it, without exception. I reviewed Ablaze here (calling it a "gem") and interviewed Colleen here. I hope to have another Q&A with Colleen again soon, since she is willing. Look for that here soon!
I've been anxiously awaiting this book's release ever since I saw it had a November 1 release date, and actually planned to review it for my November print column in The Catholic Post. The publisher told me it was a little delayed, so I held off so I could review it for my December gift books column. Unfortunately, I wanted to be absolutely sure it was officially available, so that prevented me from reviewing it for my December column, which appears in this weekend's Post.
But I was really, truly excited to see in the mail this afternoon a hot-off-the-presses copy of Radiate. Now do you believe me that I am really into books? :-)
This isn't actually a review of the book, since one of the kids has run off with it. From my first look at it, it looks just as handsome and well-produced as Ablaze, with both new and well-loved saints. Review soon! In the meantime, if you need a book suggestion for a tween or teen reader, Radiate is your book.