Here are some recent recommendations:
I have mentioned before that I grew up in Liberia, a country that later was ravaged by 15 years of brutal civil war. This is the story of an ordinary woman (now a Nobel Peace Prize winner) who lived through it, and mobilized thousands of women to help stop it. The subtitle says, "How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War"--and that's exactly what happened. It's horrifying and devastating to read (especially since she speaks of places where I walked and played), but ultimately hopeful.
Whew. A depressing read, but I now have a passionate desire to burst into some US foreign policy meeting, ranting and raving. I still like When Helping Hurts better, but this was also a fascinating book. Very recommended for anyone interested in Africa.
"Over the past thirty years...the most aid-dependent countries have exhibited an average annual growth rate of minus 0.2 percent. Between 1970 and 1998, when aid flows to Africa were at their peak, the poverty rate in Africa actually rose from 11 percent to a staggering 66 percent."
This was a free Kindle download, and I got it intending to read it to Grace. I'm glad I didn't, because it would have been too emotionally intense for her. But it's perfect for a 10-year-old. Beautiful, creative, and simply told. I will be looking for more by Kate DiCamillo.
What I did most recently read to Grace was The Secret Garden, which I remembered loving from my childhood. And though she loved it, and it sparked good discussion on a pantheistic worldview, I would recommend to wait until your daughter can read this one herself. That is, unless you happen to be particularly good with a Broad Yorkshire accent ('Nowt o' th' soart'). What on earth? Rather exhausting as a read-aloud!
"People often ask if I think my life is dangerous, if I am afraid. I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable... I am surrounded by things that can destroy my body. I interact daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can hep them. ... I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy."
This is a re-read of one of my top 5 favorite, most influential books of all time. And I love it just as much the second time around. This book profoundly changed my life. Philip Yancey is a master storyteller and an engaging, talented writer who isn't afraid to ask the hard questions or say it like it is.
"During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith....The debate went on for some time until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. 'What's the rumpus about?' he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity's unique contribution among world religions.
Lewis responded, 'Oh, that's easy. It's grace.'"