"It is significant that Lent happens to coincide with spring. I think there is a wonderful lesson for us in this happy coincidence. Lent should be for all of us a period of placing ourselves in the position where the best things can happen to us...in the presence of Christ, where the Sun of His love and power can shine into our arid souls to bring about a real awakening..."
In our family, we also tried to carefully choose good books to read aloud with our kids during Lent, that would help underscore what we were doing.
There are the obvious choices of Bible and Saints stories, but today I thought I'd highlight some good literature for kids, that you may not have considered...please let me know if you have any to add!
SIR GIBBIE by George MacDonald, Kathryn Lindskoog. (ages 8-12) From Publisher's Weekly: George MacDonald's 1870s' Sir Gibbie, about a destitute Scottish orphan, was reportedly a favorite of C.S. Lewis's. An edition of the novel, prepared by Kathryn Lindskoog, inaugurates a Classics for Young Readers series, while a companion, Sir Gibbie: A Guide for Teachers and Students by Ranelda Mack Hunsicker, is available for teachers, students and home-schoolers. In the Guide, Hunsicker contends that Sir Gibbie served as a source for Huckleberry Finn, although Mark Twain (a friend of MacDonald's) upended MacDonald's religious message. Noting that previous editions of Gibbie "cut out much of MacDonald's Christian teaching," Hunsicker adds that Lindskoog's goal was "to restore [the book] to its original Christ-centered plot." (218 pages)
HEIDI by Johanna Spyri, illustrated by Ruth Sanderson. (ages 7-12) I hope you can find this adaptation with Ruth Sanderson's gorgeous illustrations. In any case, try to get a good unabridged version. Spyri's descriptive telling of Heidi's struggle to learn to read, as well as her relationships with her grandfather, the Alps, the goats, Klara, and Peter and his blind grandmother are not to be missed. What touched me most was the underlying story of the stern grandfather ("Alm Uncle") as a prodigal son figure who has his heart softened by his tender granddaughter. (285 pages)
THE BRONZE BOW by Elizabeth George Speare. (6th grade and up) Newbury Medal Winner. Daniel bar Jamin is driven by only one passion: to avenge his father's death, by driving the Roman legions from his land of Israel. He joins an outlaw band and leads a dangerous life of spying, plotting, and impatiently waiting to seek revenge. Headstrong Daniel is devoid of tenderness and forgiveness, heading down a destructive path toward disaster until he hears the lessons taught by Jesus of Nazareth. Elizabeth Speare said she wanted to make young adults feel what it would be like to live during the time of Christ. I think she succeeded!