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The Urbana Free Library was a homeschooler’s dream when we lived in Illinois. We found old copies of the beautifully-illustrated D’Aulaire books, back before we had even heard of their popularity with homeschoolers. We read one Lois Lensky book after another, books that you can pay as much as $50 for now. I hardly know how I could have homeschooled without it.

We made weekly trips to this great library and participated in many of their programs. When I hear “Turkey in the Straw,” I sometimes think of the hilarious picture book, Rosie’s Walk.  During a library program, we saw an old-fashioned filmstrip of Rosie’s Walk. In frame after frame, she narrowly escaped harm to the tune of that old folk song.

Once we participated in a reading bingo program. It was fantastic. The library provided a bingo card. Instead of numbers, each of the card’s spaces had one type of book. For example, one space might require the child to read a book from the 800s (of the Dewey Decimal system), another might require a book from the 300s, and an another might be a picture book.Our children earned a prize each time they completed a row. The card required them to read different books from what they or I would have picked out on our own.

One space told the child to read a book aloud to a younger child. Another instructed the child to have someone else read a book aloud to him. To complete this requirement, I read In His Steps to John who was about twelve or thirteen at the time. This powerful book is one of the most-read books in the history of the United States. Barnes and Noble includes it in their Library of Essential Reading. Ray included it in the list of books that go with his high school Exploring America. It is from In His Steps that Christians get the much-used phrase, “What would Jesus do?”

Minister Charles Sheldon wrote the fictional In His Steps based on a series of sermons he gave in the late 1800s. The book begins with an account of a poor man who comes to a church for help. After the man dies, the church’s minister makes an announcement on a Sunday morning, asking all church members who are willing to spend a year doing nothing without first asking the question, “What would Jesus do?” to come to his office after the service.

The rest of the book is an account of the events in the lives of the handful of people who joined the minister in his office that Sunday morning. An opera singer stops singing for her glory and begins to sing at evangelistic meetings. A newspaper editor quits taking ads for alcohol . . .

In His Steps has a powerful message for anyone of any age, but I’m thankful a library bingo card prompted me to read it to John just as he was entering his teen years.

Sunday Worship and Hike 149
John More Than Twenty Years
After We Read Aloud In His Steps

For you have been called for this purpose,
since Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example for you to follow
in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21, NASB

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