Ever see a book that looks wonderful but you just want to see inside it before you buy? Let me take you inside a lovely little book published by Apologia Press: A Light for my Path by Davis Carman. It is such a lovely little picture book and has so much more in it than meets the eye.
Everyone’s familiar with:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119: 105.
But have you read the entire Psalm? At first I wondered why the last half of this lovely little picture book is Psalm 119, the entire Psalm featuring the Hebrew Alphabet. Why such a stark contrast to the rest of the book? It just seemed disconnected- at first. Then I realized it’s an ABC unit and a reflection on Psalm 119 for children (and adults).
Like the book’s title, the Psalm it reflects on is a gentle eye opener to God’s incredible Word. This book makes me wish I had preschoolers and lower elementary just so I could use it as a spine for a unit study approach, working slowly through various topics and activities by letter.
A Light for my Path’s unique qualities as a picture book and ABC lesson:
First and foremost A Light for my Path is an ABC Book. Each page features a letter. The book emphasizes each letter in the following ways:
- Highlights the upper and lower case letter for identification.
- Uses the letter for describing an attribute of God’s Words, Law, Statutes, Degrees and Precepts. Letter L ex. L– light
- Illustrates a creature or something from God’s creation whose name begins with the letter being featured. ex. ladybug ( picture only)
There is an easy reference chart in the introduction for parents so that there is no confusion on what each illustration represents. It’s very useful for difficult letters such as X and more obscure creatures such as the Narwal or Iguana. That way there is no confusion, they have been wonderful in clearly explaining how to use the book.
The artwork and illustrations in the book are particularly appealing. They are artistic while remaining forthright and have a level of sophistication that isn’t usual for an ABC book. This quality sets it apart from other ABC books in my opinion. There is also an added element of surprise in each illustration that is fun for your child to search for and point out.
Each illustration carries over the creature featured on the previous page. This became a fun search and find even for my middle schooler. For example, letter C page had an illustration of a caterpillar and letter D features dandelions so you can see an ever so small caterpillar on one of the dandelions (lower left). The entire book goes on this way. Wouldn’t this make for a great review of the previous letter with your child if you covered a letter each day?
Why reading A light for my Path was effective even with my eleven year old:
It was a huge blessing for me and my eleven year old to read Psalm 119 while waiting for my daughter in the doctor’s office. This is a picture book, the type of book we never read together anymore, rightfully so because of his age but also because he has no younger siblings.
Reading the last half of this book first and then later enjoying the pictures made it an age appropriate for my middle schooler. My son and I read it aloud together taking turns reading every other page and the Hebrew letter featured (though I’m not sure we pronounced the correctly).
My son learned some wonderful vocabulary. I was able to listen to his out loud reading (I like to check in sometimes and test his ability) and we were praying and reading scripture together. This psalm is a beautiful form of praise. It is repetitive, being an acrostic poem, and felt like worship with rhythm. We read it all in one sitting discussing vocabulary and meaning as we went. It took about 15 min. taking our time. But for younger children I recommend breaking it up into reading times.
He enjoyed pointing out all of the psalmist’s repeated phrases. It became a lesson in poetry and composition as well. I was able to point out similes contained in verses such as:
“Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.” vs. 83
These are just a few of the new vocabulary words we discussed:
- “fear of the Lord”
- arrogant- my son knew the word but not how it was spelled or looked
Sometimes as homeschoolers we can get caught up in academic competition and loose the joy. We always feel like we need to prove our worth as educators. Don’t overlook valuable content just because it’s simple. You might be overlooking what God’s word has to teach. Inviting and child friendly, A Light for my Path makes it so very easy and effortless to tap into.
Where to buy A Light for my Path: