My stars! I’m recommending books for homeschoolers, and it never enters my mind to recommend my own books! I’ve only just realized that I’ve left myself out.
I’ve been surprised, over the years, at how much Bell Mountain has been enjoyed by children whom you’d think were too young to read a novel. Most of the time it’s Daddy or Mommy who’s read the book to them. I’m very happy that my book can be read aloud to 8-year-olds–or even younger–and give them pleasure.
And of course it’s just the first book of a series… and the series has now grown to 13 books, with two more yet to be published… so it should be able to keep you interested for several years. Somehow the books have proved equally appealing to children and adult readers.
In Bell Mountain, a boy named Jack dreams a distant mountain is singing to him. Scripture says there is a bell on the summit of the mountain, waiting to be rung; and God will hear it. Jack believes he has had this dream because God wants him to ring the bell. He sets out for the mountain, accompanied by his friend, Ellayne. The story tells of their perilous journey to the mountain-top–along the way encountering strange beasts, strange people, miracles, treachery: everything that makes life worth living. Or at least worth reading about.
Click “Books” on our home page for descriptions and sample chapters of all 13 books in the series. Available from the Chalcedon Foundation Store at http://www.chalcedon.edu/ .
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.
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.
This is a scene from Bell Mountain drawn by our friend Kathleen in Brazil. It’s Jack, Ellayne, and Ham the donkey meeting the hermit, Obst. I wonder if she’ll wind up illustrating my books someday. (Gee, that idea really appeals to me!)
So you’re here in New Jersey, you write a book, and someone in Brazil likes it so much, she draws pictures of it. It’s humbling!
OK, no more nooze! Get outside and work on Ozias, Prince in Peril…
Tomorrow I’ll unveil the first Bell Mountain video anyone has ever made. Made by Katheleen, a talented girl in Brazil–and her approach to the story, well, I think you’ll find it totally unexpected. The dialogue is in Portuguese (hence the Portuguese language cover, above) with English subtitles.
I find it hard to describe my reaction to this video; but delight is a major part of it. Hey, this book is my baby!
Well done, Katheleen–and thank you. (This is just so cool!)
A reader in Brazil, Kathleen, has asked me for this. She wants to make a Bell Mountain video for her YouTube channel. She’s interested in the fact that the book was inspired by a dream I had one night.
I dreamed of a boy standing alone on a grassy riverbank, a shallow stream of cold water flowing over a bed of smooth stones. In the distance towered mountains, the tallest of which, Bell Mountain, was cloaked in clouds around the summit. No one had ever seen the summit.
And suddenly that mountain began to “sing” to him. This terrified him and froze him to the spot; but it was also exhilarating. He’d never heard anything like it before. He could have listened for hours, but then he woke up.
It was a very vivid dream, in technicolor, and I never forgot it. That was a good thing, because shortly afterward someone at the Chalcedon Foundation wondered how we’d do if we published a novel–and I was ready to write it!
I also dreamed the climax of my third book in the series, The Thunder King, and the opening chapter of the seventh, The Glass Bridge. I have always dreamed vivid, unusual dreams, all my life; and they’ve played a major role in my writing.
I look forward to seeing Kathleen’s video, and hope I can post it here for all of you.
Meanwhile, all across the country, people are reading less and less. When I was in high school I began to wonder if they weren’t trying to discourage us from reading: it’s the only way I can explain assigning Silas Marner to American tenth-graders. We also had to read The Forsyte Saga. If that doesn’t put you off reading, you’re made of very stern stuff.
So, yeah, I’m trying to get some more of you to read my books. I mean, that’s why I wrote them, isn’t it?
And you can order them right here on this blog! Just click “Books” on the Home page and find out all about it.