Friday, July 20, 2012

The Schoolhouse by Jill Glassco


The Schoolhouse
Written by Jill Watson Glassco 
Illustrated by Cami Monet Webb
Christian / Children's / Discipleship Resource
Available June 29, 2012
LifeHouse Publishing
46 pages



About the Book
No teacher had completed a full term at that one-room, eight-grade schoolhouse in over four years. Neither the warnings about unruly students and an unbalanced boys attacks on the school, nor reports about a dangerous bewitched woman deterred young Elsie from accepting the challenge to teach at Shady Grove School tucked deep in the woods on Whitwell Mountain.

The shrill blast of the engine whistle sounded within moments of her settling into the first available window seat on the train destined for a coal mining community near her school. The click-clack-click of the wheels along the rails and rhythmic sway of the coach helped to calm her nervousness. Imaginations of the adventures to come played across Elsie's mind as she looked out on the fertile valley.

No imagination, however, could have prepared her for the fierce trials the new teacher would soon face. When her determination grew weak, Elsie turned to God again and again for the courage, wisdom, and resolve needed to finish her term at The Schoolhouse.


My Thoughts
Having known the Glassco family for a number of years (think back to middle school . . . oh the pictures they could probably "out" me with!), I was excited to learn that Jill was publishing a children's book. There were a number of women who poured into my life during my teenage years, and Jill had a huge impact on my spiritual walk. Among other things, I learned from her example about having an intimate prayer life and the need to be devoted to studying Scripture above all else. I still have a (treasured!) letter that she wrote to me in middle school sharing Scripture after Scripture of the ways she was praying for me. So if you're curious about the author behind the book I'm bringing to you today, I can tell you that "Miss Jill" is the real deal! And now, without further ado, I am delighted to share my thoughts about her book The Schoolhouse.





The Schoolhouse by Jill Glassco is a unique children's story that will inspire readers (children and adults alike) to follow God faithfully regardless of the circumstances. As explained in the author's note at the beginning of the book, this story of Elsie's adventures as the new teacher of an eight-grade, one-room schoolhouse in rural Tennessee was inspired by a detailed letter from Jill's grandmother written in 1955. The letter included adventures of her time as teacher and instructions for these stories to be turned into a book and submitted for publication. Jill has done just as her grandmother asked, and I think her grandmother (and her readers!) would be pleased!

A lovely hardcover storybook with illustrations by Cami Monet Webb
Elsie has just graduated when she receives her first teaching assignment—a school so horrible that no teacher has finished the school year in the last four years! Full of spunk and determination, Ellie commits to finish the year with God's help.

More than just a collection of short stories, though, The Schoolhouse is an incredible tool for teaching children about fear, pride, working with others, finishing well and trusting God to lead us through each circumstance. I daresay that parents and teachers will take a way life-changing lessons as well from reading this book with their children. Elsie's story is divided into seven shorter stories that each focus on a particular lesson. At the conclusion of each chapter, Jill has included a "worksheet" of sorts to help readers process the story and apply truths from God's Word to their own life.

Worksheets at the end of each chapter help children process the story they have just read.
My favorite part of these worksheets are the section titled "Pearls from God's Heart to Yours." These "pearls" are statements crafted from Scripture with a blank for you to insert your own name and see how personal these promises are. For instance, "Brooke, I have plans for you to give you a future and hope. When you talk to me, I listen. When you look for me with all your heart, you will find Me and the plans I have for you (Jer. 29:11-13)." What a wonderful way to make these verses that can seem so "common" to us really soak into our hearts and minds!

Cami's illustrations are beautiful as well and a wonderful addition to the book. They help bring the story alive through images that help readers imagine what it would be like to live in the past.

Jill's heart for the Word, prayer, and discipleship shines through the entire book. I highly recommend The Schoolhouse—not only as wonderful story but also as a resource for adults who want to disciple the children in their lives. [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the author. I offer my review freely and honestly. All opinions expressed are my own.

Purchase your copy of The Schoolhouse through the publisher's website, Amazon, or a variety of stores in the Birmingham area.

About the Author
Jill Watson Glassco is best known for being an insightful and theologically sound womans Bible study writer and teacher for women from all walks of life. She is currently serving as the editor and one of the authors for "Mainstream," a Christian women's ministry blog. Jill's priorities are: love God, love family, and love people. She and her husband, Phillip, were high school sweethearts and have been married for over thirty years. Residing in Birmingham, Alabama, the Glasscos are active members of Church of the Highlands. They are the parents of three grown children and proud grandparents times three. 

About the Illustrator
Cami Monet Webb has been painting since an early age under the direction of her father G. Webb. In addition to painting, Cami recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee with a degree in journalism and electronic media and currently works for DIY Network. Raised in the Great Smoky Mountains, Cami has fostered a steady friendship with the outdoors and can often be found enjoying the mountains she grew up in. She is a member of Webb's Creek United Methodist Church.

*Please excuse the quality of the snapshots of the inside pages as they were taken with my cell phone. :)

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