On Books and Boys {A Review of Two Books to Nourish the Hearts of Sons}

Nature Got There First


I don't even know anyone who has a bigger library. My sweet friend, Lynn Custer, has worked by my side at conferences, taught Seasons of a mother's heart groups for 15 years, held mama's teas in her home and cried with ones who needed encouragement for so many years. We raised our children together and we raised this ministry together. I told her she needed to start sharing all about books with us, as she raised her own two boys on the best! Thanks, Lynn.

Nature Got There First by Phil Gates is a book that will grab the attention of that rambunctious, easily distracted, eight to thirteen year old boy. You know the one? The little guy that runs up to everything and anything with wheels or a motor and looks underneath it to try and figure out what’s making it tick? This book is perfect for the young boy that plays outside for hours coming up with all sorts of make-shift uses for sticks, rocks, and insects.

What do earthworms and elevators have in common? What about leaves and shoes, or your knees and engines? This book explores these things as well as many others. Take the example of squid for instance: what invention could have resulted in the study of the way squid drive themselves through the oceans? Phil Gates says it's jet propulsion. And what about armadillos? Is it possible that man’s idea of the armored car or a knight’s medieval armor was first formed after observing the suitably attired armadillo? How about a tropical tree? Could man have really got the idea of building mighty cathedrals based on their knowledge of how these trees are rooted and stabilized?

When Nature Got There First will cause your guys to look out of doors through a completely different lens. It draws upon the similarities between modern day inventions and those things found in nature, designed by a Creative Genius. While I wouldn’t say this book is necessarily written from a Christian perspective, I will say that it draws the Christian reader in and causes his or her gaze to fall upon the Master Designer. It will reinforce the fact that man’s ideas and creativity is not original to man. It all begins with the Maker of all things, the Inventor of all things, and the Giver of every creative thought. Who knows what other inventions can be inspired by further study and investigation of God’s amazing world?
Furthermore, who needs a boring biology textbook when there is something like this available? In fact, if more boys were allowed to read books like this one, they may find themselves a lot more interested when that biology class finally rolls around.
"Nature is but a name for an effect, Whose cause is God." ~ WILLIAM COWPER

Circus Pic 1

 "Gotta go, Mama," called Billy. "I finished my Saturday chores, and now I need to meet Seth and the fellas for a game of stickball." So begins  The Day the Circus Came to Town by Melody Carlstrom, a story of a young boy who is about to learn the valuable lesson of thinking for himself and following that still, small voice of God.

In The Day the Circus Came to Town, Billy is a young man that can't wait to hang out with his friends, but before he gets out the door, his mama calls and reminds him, "Don't forget about the circus!" After promising to be back in time for this family outing, he's off for a fun afternoon of stickball.

While out playing, Billy and his friends bump into Zino, a funny, joyful clown. With much enthusiasm, Zino presents the boys with tickets to the circus and invites them to come along and check it out. Billy very quickly reaches to take a ticket, but then immediately hears the other boys sneering, using words like 'sissy' and 'babies' and 'wimps'. In the blink of an eye, Billy has fallen in line with all the others and rejects Zino's invitation.

What Billy soon discovers though, is that blending in with the crowd and just following along has very real consequences. It not only costs him something but it affects his family as well. In this beautifully illustrated allegory by Melody Carlson, boys and girls alike will benefit from learning from Billy's mistakes. Giving in to peer pressure, ignoring God's voice of conscience, and the advice of parents, will eventually lead to sadness and regret. Billy finds this out the hard way.

But, then there is grace. Gratefully, the book doesn't end there with Billy's mistake looming over him. With a repentant heart, He makes his way out to the circus, regretting his decision to refuse to go. Standing outside the tent, looking mournfully on as his family is inside having a wonderful time, Billy contemplates what a fool he has been and how it's too late to make it right.

But, it's never too late for God. It is never too late to pull away from the crowd and start thinking for yourself. More importantly, it is never too late to listen to God's voice and follow His leading.

What are some of your favorite books for boys? Share so we can all add it to our list?

The following post is written by Lynn Custer, a wife and mom of two grown boys, who is passionate about books, whole- hearted education and encouraging moms. Lynn makes her home in North Carolina, where she has been leading Mom Heart groups and mentoring women for over 15 years. We are so thankful to have her sharing with us today! 

Lynn Custer



The Discipleship & Discipline Webinar

Over 1,000 moms joined us on the Discipleship & Discipline Webinar! If you weren't able to attend the live course, now you can get it on-demand. If you would like to get access to the Webinar, simply click here. It was so much fun, and we are so excited to share this with you.