‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’

*Sigh* No hymn requests this morning. Oh, well… it’s been a while since I posted one by Alan Jackson, isn’t it? So let’s go with this one–Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

The hymn shop’s open, everybody…

Bell Mountain Illustrations, No. 6

everybody with lee

Whoa! I got so busy with the “ban gas stoves” nonsense, I almost forgot to post this picture–another Bell Mountain illustration by Katheleen and Kerolyn, young readers in Brazil.

So here we have a group portrait of Helki the Rod, Jandra the little prophet, Jack and Ellayne, King Ryons–and some bearded guy in a black T-shirt. Holy cow–that’s me! They drew me, too.

I love these kids, and it humbles me to think their artwork was inspired by my books. Gives me something to live up to!

Bell Mountain Illustrations, No. 5

banjo real

Here we have Obst and Chief Uduqu giving King Ryons a bath, which he sorely needed at the time–another Bell Mountain illustration by Katheleen and Kerolyn, young readers in Brazil. I would love to use these inside the books, but we’d need a new edition for that. Think of it, though–a book illustrated by its own readers. I don’t know that that’s ever been done before.

I have one more picture of theirs to publish, and that’s scheduled for tomorrow–so stay tuned, I’ve saved the best for last.

Bell Mountain Illustrations, No. 4

jack corta

Jack and Ellayne in Lintum Forest–I think this is one of Kerolyn’s, although it’s not that easy to tell them apart.

Stay turned day to day, because I’m saving a real corker for last!

(Young Readers’ fantasy novels–we are pioneering a new trend! Books for young readers illustrated by young readers–how cool is that?

‘Bell Mountain’ Illustrations, No. 3


Here are Ellayne and Jack on the summit of Bell Mountain, with Martis trying to collect his wits and get up from the snow. This is from Katheleen and Kerolyn, in Brazil–these are gifted girls!

I wish we could get some of these illustrations into a new edition of Bell Mountain. When have you ever seen a book illustrated by some of its readers? That would be so cool! But first we’d have to sell out the edition we already have.

Bell Mountain Illustrations, No. 2


Here are Jack and Ellayne with their donkey, Ham, meeting Obst, the hermit of Lintum Forest. I love these pictures by Katheleen and Kerolyn, our girls from Brazil… and I wonder if we could ever get them into the book someday. But first we’d have to sell out the current edition of Bell Mountain!

I don’t have much to show in the way of sales; but I do have gifted young readers who’ve done honor to my work. I’ll try to live up to it.

‘How to Write Good’ (2015)

7 Great Fantasy Novels for Teenagers - The New York Times

It isn’t often we hear from a best-selling author of young adults’ fiction, so let’s make the most of us. He insisted on concealing his identity, but you can probably guess who it is. You just can’t hide that kind of fame under a bushel.

How to Write Good

You will also notice how the market strives for Diversity by making sure that published novels, no matter how many there may be, are so shaped to be indistinguishable from one another. That way, if you’ve read one young adults’ fantasy, it’s sort of like you’ve read them all. The new ones won’t be so confusing then.

Lee’s Homeschool Reading List (7)

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (ages 12 and up)

Did King Richard III really murder his two nephews, “the princes in the Tower”? Classic mystery writer Josephine Tey didn’t think so, and in 1951 she wrote and published a book to prove it: The Daughter of Time. “Truth is the daughter of time”–and in time the truth comes out.

But history can be very, very tricky. Finding out “what really happened,” Thucydides wrote, over 2,000 years ago, is the hardest thing about studying history. And he ought to know!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is just about the best week in the year–at least in the Northern Hemisphere, when it’s so terribly cold–for snuggling up with a good book. And given that the mortal remains of King Richard were only recently discovered under an English parking lot, this 15th-century mystery seems quite timely.

In Tey’s novel, Inspector Alan Grant (not the one from Jurassic Park) of Scotland Yard, laid up with a broken leg, applies modern police methods to investigate the claim against Richard. All I can tell you about it, without spoiling the fun, is that he does a very thorough job and I find his conclusion 100% convincing. So do a lot of people. The book is full of insights into history–how facts are gathered, the role of propaganda, how to decide whom to believe and whom to dismiss… I mean, how do we “know” what we think we know? How many things that we’re sure we know… just ain’t so?

History is chock-full of stuff like that. That’s why I love it.

Many critics think Daughter of Time is one of the four or five best mystery novels ever written–out of many thousands. I’ve probably read hundreds… and I agree!


My Favorite Books

Friends of Freddy - Friends of Freddy

Of course, if I were to list all my favorite books, we’d be here all day and I’d still be far from being finished. So I’m going to name only a few of them. And why not? Books make great Christmas presents (hint, hint).

*Freddy and the Ignormus, by Walter R. Brooks. This is my favorite Freddy book, and its theme couldn’t be more timely. It’s all about being afraid of something that isn’t real! If that doesn’t sum up 2022 in seven words, I don’t know what could.

*Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy L. Sayers. This intimate peek into the advertising business is just endlessly fascinating! You almost forget there’s a murder to be solved, you get so wrapped up in slogans, jingles, etc.

*The Chessmen of Mars, my all-time favorite Edgar Rice Burroughs book–even more than Tarzan of the Apes. All that need be said is that “This book puts you there”–“there” being a Martian backwater where the game of chess is life and death. Really, if you’ve never met Ghek the Kaldane, you’ve really missed something.

*Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, exposes the destructive hubris that underlays our worldly business and scientific triumphs. Talk about building foundations on sand! Ours are built atop a sinkhole.

And is it really necessary for me even to mention Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia?

All these books are, in their own way, parables. Maybe the authors didn’t know that they were writing parables–but that only makes their achievement more impressive.

‘When Is a Good Book Not So Good?’ (2015)

Not all the books that I enjoy reading would I recommend. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is one of them.

When is a Good Book not so Good?

I admit it: I don’t turn away from cheap thrills. I don’t gorge on them any more than I’d eat a whole package of chocolate chip cookies at a sitting. If it’s going to unsettle your faith, or get you hung up on alien ideas that no Christian should have room for… then it’s best to stay away. Don’t court temptation.

Scary books won’t hurt me. I know of other things that can, so I avoid them.

Plus! This book makes for an interesting study of popular culture in what was once a Christian nation. Our America is following Britain down the tubes: we need to wake up to the danger, slam on the breaks, turn around, and go the other way. Fast!