My Mother Recommends

Whenever I speak with my mother, she always has a book recommendation or two for me. This weekend was no different! In her honor, I’ve compiled a short list of books that she says I “must read ASAP” … but of course, I haven’t yet. If you get around to them before I do, let me know how you like them!

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

This New York Times Bestseller “shares about the loss of [Mary Beth Chapman’s] daughter, the struggle to heal, and the unexpected path God has placed her on.” ( When I was talking with my mom about this book (which she hasn’t finished yet), she said she was struck by Mrs. Chapman’s transparency about struggling with depression. While this book isn’t high on my to-read list, I am intrigued by a memoir that deals with loss and depression from a Christian perspective.

Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon

“Weaving meticulously researched facts with beautifully imagined scenes, Margret Landon recreates an unforgettable portrait of life in a forgotten exotic land. […It] continues to delight and enchant readers around the world.” ( This book was the inspiration for the 1956 classic, The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr as well as the 1999 drama, Anna and the King, starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat. I love both of these movies and am not sure why I (as a firm believer in “The book is always better” and “The book must be read first”) am so slow to do so!

End of the Spear by Steve Saint

This is another example of how I contradict myself and watch the movie (family night!), but haven’t read the book yet. I grew up hearing about the legacy of missionaries Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Nate Saint. This is Nate Saint’s son’s story, of returning to the jungle to discover “long-buried secrets about his father’s murder, confront difficult choices, and find himself caught between two worlds. […It] brilliantly chronicles the continuing story that first captured the world’s attention in the bestselling book, Through Gates of Splendor.” (

Molder of Dreams by Guy Rice Doud

Mom has been after me to read this small biography for twelve years, ever since I first started teaching. I’ve heard about Mr. Doud quite a bit, not just from my mother. Several of my professors were big fans of his and so we watched some of his interviews and a skit/biopic, so I am no stranger to this 1986 Teacher of the Year’s “message on the power of encouragement and love.” (

As an educator, I am also familar with the poem Teachers…Molder of Dreams. It was read to Mr. Doud by President Ronald Reagan and I believe it contains many of the sentiments and truths of the great teacher.

To America by Stephen Ambrose

This was a recent gift, so I believe I can be forgiven for not having read it yet, ha! I’m actually a big fan or Mr. Ambrose. I love his interviews on The History Channel and Undaunted Courage is probably my favorite work of non-fiction. But I digress. To America is Mr. Ambrose’s “very personal look at our nation’s history through the eyes of one of the twentieth century’s most influential historians.” ( Published right after his death, this book is intended to be a journey and a look back on the history of our nation as well as this historian’s changing perspectives.


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