I’ve always been interested in stories of people’s lives in the early and mid 1900s. I loved hearing about my grandparents’ tales about USO dances where young love started or about my great-nana’s immigrant Italian- pigeon English.
Feeling a bit nostalgic for tales, I looked forward to digging into my review copy of Diane Flynn Keith’s Papa's Pearls ($14.97+ shipping through Homefires for a signed copy). Ms. Keith wrote this book based on her and her siblings memories of the wisdom her father – hardworking Carol Joseph Flynn – passed onto his children with memorable phrases:
When you fall down – get back up, brush yourself off, and try again.
You know I love you, right?
Tell yourself you like it.
You gotta roll with the punches.
Everyone deserves a second chance
Ms. Keith is a leader in the homeschooling movement and an expert in alternative education. She speaks often at conferences about alternative education and has written much. She’s also writing a blog connected to the book which (among other things) stresses the importance of fathers and family. Here’s a picture of her Papa:
How We Used This: The boys were always eager to listen to a Pearl whether it was morning, noon or night. The book has just 17 chapters, each of which was 4 or so pages – certainly not long and the book was easy to incorporate as a lunch time read aloud or even a bedtime story. Usually, Luke and Levi engaged in some quiet play while I read. I mostly just used it as a read aloud with the boys, and sometimes we’d discuss it further and I’d draw connections between the story and the Bible’s wisdom. I think children of all ages can benefit from the life lessons in this book, but especially those ages 8 and up (to adult!).
I will admit that this book has made me cry a little bit. Yes, I am a sap when it comes to family stories. I am blessed to have grown up with one set of grandparents who lived about 10 minutes from us. My paternal grandparents moved to my hometown when I was in high school. Reading the chapters in which Ms. Keith and her family recall how Papa cherished and nurtured his family relationships made me long for the days I had with my grand parents. I was richly blessed to be surrounded by generations who loved me unconditionally.
Since we’ve learned about the Depression, World War II and the rebuilding of the US after the war, I found the stories fascinating and I think they could really add a personal element to 20th Century studies. This book will definitely find a spot on our Tapestry of Grace Year 4 (Modern History) shelf for our next run-through.
Although the book is not filled with Bible references and verses, I found the book to generally support our Christian values -- hard work, honesty, perseverance, unconditional love, paying attention, thrift. Indeed, it seems as Papa aged, he came to express his faith in God more.
There were a couple stories I chose not to read to the boys – one in which Papa fibs (we are working on the trait of honesty with several of the boys in this house who shall remain nameless). But of course, these are just opportunities to discuss honestly, white lies, and “big” lies. The book might give you opportunities to discuss God’s role in our lives; for example, are people just “lucky” or is God’s hand more present in our lives than we can even imagine? Is there such thing as destiny?
I’m glad to have added this book to our library, and I know we’ll continue to use it to teach positive character traits and discernment as my boys age.
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew