Wednesday, May 8, 2013

TOS CREW Review- Papa's Pearls

 photo papaspearlslogo_zps7e410f29.jpgWe love family.  And we love story telling.  One of our kids' favorite things to do is get their grandparents to tell stories of our childhoods or of their own.  That was one of the reasons I was excited to review Papa's Pearls, a story written by Diane Flynn Keith retelling stories of her childhood and that of her father's.  Papa,  Carol Joseph Flynn, was born in 1922.  After a shady couple of years of gambling and hanging with the wrong crowd as a youth, Papa readjusted his thinking and turned his life into one of joy and integrity, focused on family.  The stories that Diane recounts are arranged into 17 short chapters, each bearing the title of a saying or sayings that she remembers her papa saying from her childhood.  Those familiar sayings shaped not only the people she and her siblings became, but also the generations that have followed.

 photo papaspearls_zps509cd1df.jpgOur thoughts-  Though written for adults, we decided to read this book out loud as part of our nightly family devotion time.  We love the idea that a family can learn from the older generations and we want our kids to learn to value and respect them.  The love and respect of this family for their "papa" is obvious and warmed my heart.  I want our kids to see that the older generation has much to pass on and is a group to be respected, not feared.  Many of the stories related are humorous and it was fun to laugh out loud together as we read.  The kids especially enjoyed a story about Papa becoming "contaminated" after some sewer work.  Often times the stories read led to a lively discussion afterwards of similar things that we have had happen to us or just general conversation about the phrase highlighted that Papa used.  Some of our favorite were-

Keep a Foxy Pocket.
I love you, you know that, right?
You don't kick someone when they're down, you give them a hand up.
 Be grateful every day!
 It's all about family.

The other thing that this book allowed us to do was talk about the history of another era.  From the Great Depression to World War Two we were able to share with the kids information that they may have heard in a history book, but will now better remember because it was presented in a more personal way.  Several things mentioned were new to some of the kids, like the Civilian Constitution Corps, and led us to look up and discuss those things.

A word of caution-
There were several instances where we felt that the subject matter discussed was not suitable for younger children.   While those situations were not glorified, tales of drinking and dating at a young age and birth control are not things we felt like our two younger boys needed to hear.  We passed over several of those stories.  In addition, there are a few instances of curse words that I wish she had left out, making it an easier multigenerational read.  Once or twice I felt like money was overemphasized by Papa, but let's face it, during the time he grew up and then was raising a family was a particularly hard time in history and money concerns were a central theme and worry.  Papa was Catholic, but his faith was emphasized in a respectful, non threatening way.  I do not think you would be offended if you are not Catholic- we were not.  It did allow us to talk about peoples' different beliefs.

Our Bottom Line-
I think you would enjoy many of the stories Diane shares in Papa's Pearls.  She has a knack at bringing a story to life and making you feel like you could just hear papa saying the words himself.  Despite a few instances that I wished we had read ahead of time to filter out more, I think it is a delightful read for older kids and adults.  Now that we are finished with it, I am excited to pass it on to my mom and grandmother to read.  I have a feeling that it will make them smile and bring back some fun memories.  Maybe some they will even share with us!

You can order an autographed copy of Papa's Pearls for $21.97.
Diane is also author of  Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time, and coaches parents through her websites, writing, private consultations and speaking engagements.

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  1. I enjoyed reading your review of "Papa's Pearls," Michele. I like your comment, "I want our kids to see that the older generation has much to pass on and is a group to be respected, not feared." How true! And I love that you'll pass the book along to your mom and grandmother. :) By the way, is having a Father's Day Contest - and the prize is a $50 gift card to Amazon. You can enter here: Thanks, again! :)

  2. Thank you, Diane, For sharing your father's legacy. It was an honor to review.


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