About this Issue
April 2017—New Life
By the time most children reach middle-school age, they will have experienced some significant loss: a move that leaves old friends behind, the death of a beloved pet or perhaps a grandparent, a divorce in the family, or some other disruptive event. The good news of Easter—Christ is alive!—is that out of sadness, disappointment, and brokenness God can bring new life.
In “Trumpets, Trombones, and Tyrell,” Bryce has spent months avoiding everything that reminds him of his friend Tyrell, who died. That’s why Bryce doesn’t play in the band anymore. When Tyrell’s grandmother, who encouraged both boys’ love of music, shows up at school Bryce wants to avoid her, too.
In “The Woods Next Door,” Jess and Addie are upset when they learn a large wooded lot where they’ve always been allowed to play in is going to be turned into a subdivision. Can anything good come out of such a big change?
In “Tree Frog Trail,” our continuing feature series, Callie’s beloved dog dies and she struggles to find any kind of new life in the family’s Easter celebration.
In “Itching for Change,” Logan hates change. In fact, any kind of major change causes him to break out in itchy hives. So when he finds out his family is moving to a new place, his worry and his itching ramp up.
In “Making New Friends,” Lizzie suddenly doesn’t want to be friends with Keziah anymore. Keziah is crushed and lashes out when Lizzie won’t explain or even talk to her. But maybe there’s someone else who really needs Keziah as a friend.
Pocketsful of Scripture includes readings from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.
Where in God’s World? looks at Denmark.
Special Features: This month’s issue includes several Easter activities for families and other groups.
May 2017—Family—In This Together
This theme was inspired by an observation from one of our former Kids’ Advisory Board members’ that while friends are great, “Friends won’t always be there like your family.” In this issue we hope to celebrate the family as a place of love and constancy. We’re not talking about perfect families here (we don’t know any of those!) but about the family as a place where people love and nurture one another. This love is one of the primary ways we come to understand God’s love and care for us. This issue should give children a sense of their own families (whatever their imperfections may be) as places where they can experience God’s abiding love through the abiding love of those with whom they share their lives.
“How do I know God is listening?” “Why doesn’t God speak to me?” “I don’t know how to talk to God.” As we receive these and other comments and questions from children, we are reminded that children are serious about prayer. They want to know how to have conversation with God. This issue is not about prescribing a “right way” to pray but rather to help our readers realize there are many avenues of prayer in which to deepen their relationship with God. We want children to understand that God can be a part of every moment of every day. Quiet time, journaling, breath prayers, music, movement, the beauty of creation, everything and everyone they encounter in a day can point to God. We hope this issue will help children understand that living each day can draw them close to God.
July 2017—Tech Time
Technology has changed our lives in such significant ways and has become so omnipresent that it’s hard to even comprehend its impact. The positive effects are many, as are the negative. We hope this issue will look at the role of technology in children’s lives in a balanced way. This is not about nostalgia for “the good old days”! What are the ways technology can help us have positive, healthy relationships with others? And what are the pitfalls? What role does technology play in a healthy family life? How does the way we use it help or hinder our efforts to love God and neighbor? How do we use technology in ways that are consistent with our faith?