Purpose of the Anna’s Friends Books
Now that you have learned a little about each one of the motivational gifts, and hopefully have been able to narrow down which one might be your child’s, you can go to the next step in discovery by letting your child assist in determining for themselves which gift they have.
The Anna’s Friends book series is a set of eight books written specifically for the eight to ten-year-old, those in second to fourth grade. I find that children in this age group are very eager to learn who they are. Life begins to open to them and they start to question their value systems and what they believe.
In the Anna’s Friends series, you and your children will meet Hiro (the exhorter), Anna (the facilitator/leader), Maria (the giver), Cayden (the merciful), Daniel (the prophet), Jesse (the servant), and Sarah (the teacher). This clan of friends interact with one another in a multitude of life scenarios that children will be able to relate to. You may find your child connecting with a character that most resembles them, thus enabling them to learn what motivates and inspires their actions as well.
At the end of each book will be a description about the motivational gift that the main character in the book is about. For example, in book #2, Anna’s Friends Save the Animal Shelter (the gift of Facilitation) your child will read:
Anna has been given the gift of facilitation, also known as administration or leadership. If you are a boy or a girl and connect with Anna, you might have the same gift. You also might read the book again with the following traits in mind if you think you might have this gift. (There is a long list of traits about this gift that the child can review to see if they are like Anna). Here are a few of the character traits of Anna on the list:
- Anna was always thinking ahead about what needed to be done on her project.
- Remember how she got the job done through others? She was a good delegator.
- Anna was always writing notes to herself.
- She gets to know as many people as she can on purpose.
- Anna has a lot of friends.
- You might be good in gym just like Anna. Remember her in the playground at recess and how she ran from place to place?
Which Book is for Your Child?
Book #1: The Assignment, is an introduction to each of Anna’s friends and families and takes us on a journey with the children during the summer vacation before entering the third grade. Here’s what Anna says:
Welcome to my world! My name is Anna Renee Riley. I’m seven-almost eight-years-old and I just finished up second grade. It was really hard at times, but I managed to make it through.
On our last day of school, I was sitting at my desk and making a list of all the things I wanted to do during summer vacation. Then my worst nightmare happened!
Our teacher, Mr. Henderson — this was his first year as a teacher at Praston Elementary school — gave us some homework to do. Yes! During our vacation. Can you believe that? He said that we would have a test on it when we enter the third grade. Of course, we all protested, but it didn’t work!
What kind of teacher gives homework during summer vacation! I guess you’ll have to read my book to find out, and, I hope you’ll be one of my new friends! It will sure make my summer more fun. Love, Anna
At the end of each chapter in The Assignment is a list of character traits that resemble each of Anna’s friends mentioned in that chapter. In each of the books #2 through #8, you will find a more extensive list of traits, so your child can see if they might be like the character the book is about. The stories are fun and engaging with light emotion in some cases.
Book #2: Gift of Facilitation
Book #2: Anna’s Friends Save the Animal Shelter, is a delightful story about how Anna, who has the gift of facilitation (leadership) leads her classmates to coordinate a project to raise money for the local animal shelter. She learns which one of the gifts each of her friends have so they can help her with her project. That’s what facilitator’s do!
The reader will interact with Anna, Hiro, Maria, Jesse, Sarah, Daniel, and Cayden and see how they interact with one another based on their gifts.
This excerpt shows us that Anna is in full blown leadership mode the night before her big event:
Anna could hardly sleep. She watched the clock move to 12:30 am. What if nobody comes? Will the music be loud enough? Oh, my, if Maria forgets her lines everything will fall apart. And—and the costumes must be there by 9:00 o’clock in the morning! Anna jumped out of bed, rushed over to grab her notebook and reviewed the list one more time just to make sure everything was ready for her big day.
Suddenly, a wonderful sense of peace came over Anna. She had never felt that before. It was like all her concerns were gone and she could finally go to sleep. Anna was indeed ready for the big day.
Even though Anna didn’t get to sleep until after midnight she rose with feeling like she had a full night sleep. She was as calm as the still water in a summer lake and didn’t even think about the contest. “Morning, Mom,” Anna said strolling into the kitchen for breakfast. “Mmmm, smells good.”
“You’re up mighty early,” Mrs. Riley commented. “Are you ready for the big day?”
“I sure am. I checked all my notes last night after midnight.
NOTE* Children with this gift intentionally make friends so they will have plenty of people to help with their numerous projects.
Book #3: Gift of Giving
Book #3: The Hayride, is a heart expanding story about how Maria uses her gift of giving to befriend a new student at her school. On the way to Sunday school, Maria sees a little girl playing hopscotch on the sidewalk. She notices that she only has on flip flops and is not wearing a coat, and it’s freezing cold outside. The lesson that morning is about giving to the “least of these” and Maria wants to know what that means, so she asks her Sunday school teacher. Her own gift of giving kicks in full speed ahead and Maria learns the meaning in an unusual way.
This excerpt shows us how the child with the gift of giving (support) responds to those in need:
On the way to Sunday School Maria spotted the same young girl as last week. She pushed her face and hands to the window when the car passed the little girl so she could watch her. “Mama, there she is!” Maria told her mother in a loud voice.
“There who is?”
The little girl from last week. The one that didn’t wear good shoes or a coat. It’s colder today than it was last week.” The little girl was playing hop scotch on the sidewalk right where she was last Sunday. She still didn’t have on any tennis shoes or a coat and it was really cold outside. “Mama, stop! Please stop!” Maria said loudly. “Stop the car. I need to go help that girl.”
“No, Chica, you will be late for Sunday School,” her mother insisted.
“But mama, look. She doesn’t even have on a coat and it’s so cold outside,” Maria argued. The church was only a block away. Maria kept her eye on the girl. Her heart was beating fast. As soon as Mrs. Rodriguez stopped the car at the curb Maria jumped out and ran toward the girl.
NOTE* These children are always looking for ways to help those in need of practical things like food, clothing, and the like.
Book #4: Gift of Exhortation
Book #4: Hiro Plays Tiny Tim, we will follow Hiro through his journey of practicing for his role as Tiny Tim in a Christmas play and how he overcomes the adversity of such an important role with his wit and humor.
This fun excerpt shows us one of the humorous traits of this child (the one with the gift of exhortation) – teasing his friends:
Hiro had a rubber spider in his pocket just waiting for the right time and the right person to tease with it. He got down off the table and sat by Sarah, then quietly and slowly took the rubbery toy critter out of his pocket to be ready for the right moment.
“Okay, all in favor raise your hand,” Anna told the group. Everyone raised their hand except Jesse.
“Perfect,” Hiro said under his breath. While everyone’s hands were raised, he slid the spider in Sarah’s notebook that was laying on the table.
“Sarah, will you write a few lines about the reading contest and give it to me before you go home so I can put it in the newsletter?” Anna asked.
Sarah was very thrifty. She opened her notebook to take out a piece of paper. She let out a scream that everyone in the park heard. Sarah’s notebook went flying through the air. Papers floated up and down and everywhere just like bird feathers, and the spider too. The rubber critter came down and landed on Cayden’s hair, but no one saw it just then. “Where did it go, where is it?” Sarah shouted and moved around the table like a chicken with its head cut off.”
“Where’s what?” Hiro grinned. “There was a big black spider, THIS BIG, right in the middle of my notebook.” Sarah made a circle with her hands to show Hiro how big it was and kept hopping up and down in case the spider was anywhere near her. Sarah brushed herself off everywhere.
NOTE* Being strong encourages, these children want everyone to know how good life can be so find ways to make them happy.
Book #5: Gift of Teaching
Book #5: Sarah Learns a Lesson, is a delightful story about how Sarah uses her motivational gift of teaching by creating a three-week book-a-thon for her class and inspires the local book store owner to add a kid’s section.
This excerpt shows us Sarah’s dedication to reading and how she influences the local book store owner to create a kid’s section:
“Sarah, not now. I’m busy.” Mr. Lumpkin told her.
“I want to know where the kid’s books are?” Sarah put her hands on her hips and made her complaint. “You have to have kid’s books so we can read. You’re a book store and we want books too.” She continued making her case. “Did you give my letter to Mrs. Tumbleweed? You promised you would give it to her.”
The very tall lady stopped talking and thumbed through a large binder she was holding in her hands. She pulled out a piece of paper and held it out in front of her like it had the flu or something and began to read, having a hard time reading Sarah’s cursive writing.
Dear Mrs. Tumbleweed, my name is Sarah Sims. I am eight years old and in the third grade at Praston Elementary School. I’ll be nine in February. I am learning to write cursive. I visit your store sometime with my mom because I love to read and some of my friends do to. I think you will sell more books if you have a place just for kids to sit down and read some of the books they might want to buy. Your store should be a fun place for us to come, don’t you agree?
Thank you, Sarah Sims
“Are you this Sarah Sims?” Mrs. Tumbleweed asked sternly.
“Yes, I am. Who are you?” Sarah asked with confidence.
NOTE* Children with the motivational gift of teaching love to share what the know with others and want everyone to read like they do.
Book #6: Gift of Service
Book #6: Jesse Can’t Say No, is a fun story about how Jesse uses his motivational gift of serving to help his mother who is having twins, and his father around the new farm they will be moving to. You’ll meet the goats, Mimi and Dodi, and a Calf named Buster, and some other fun farm animals. This excerpt shows us how Jesse jumps right in to help, even when he’s not asked:
Stan the painter was high up on his ladder painting the eves of the Delaney’s new house. “Harry, get me that paint bucket over there,” Stan called to his helper who was almost too old to move, but wasn’t ready to retire so Stan let him help however he could.
“I’ll get it,” Jesse hollered. He dropped the water hose he was using to water the newly planted shrubs by the front porch and ran to pick up the paint bucket. “Here you go Mr. Stan,” Jesse said as he scurried over to the ladder with the bucket full of fern green paint jiggling from side to side.
Harry, who looked like he was 200 years old, Jesse thought, hobbled out from behind the house. Harry didn’t get to the paint bucket before Jesse did. “Hey kid, you do your job and I’ll do mine, okay?” Harry was very grumpy to Jesse, not very nice.
“I was just trying to help,” Jesse answered back as he attempted to lift up the heavy bucket to give to Harry, paint jumping over the top of the can and splashing onto Jesse’s pants and boots.
“Yeh, well, now look what you’ve done. You’ve got paint all over you.” Harry raised his hand like he was preaching a fiery sermon. “Your father is going to skin you alive for getting those boots stained with paint.” Harry scowled with a rickety voice, “Now get on over there and do your job.”
Jesse set the bucket on the ground at the bottom of the ladder. “I was just trying to help,” he mumbled under his breath.
NOTE* Children with the gift of service will love this book because they not only love to help, they enjoy animals of all kinds. It’s one of the favorites in the Anna’s Friends series.
Book #7: Gift of Mercy
Book #7: Cayden and Mrs. Jules, will take us into the life and relationship between Cayden who has the gift of mercy and Mrs. Jules, who is a crotchety old woman that acts like she doesn’t like kids, but … well, you’ll have to read the book to learn more.
This excerpt shows us how Cayden’s heart of mercy helps Mrs. Jules even though she doesn’t act like she likes children, something a mercy-giver can accomplish quite well:
Cayden waved when she zoomed down the sidewalk on her roller skates, holding the leash for Tiny, her 125-pound brindle colored Great Dane.
“Morning, dear,” Mrs. Jules waved. “Don’t you fall down now. You’ll skin your knees. Slow up, dear,” she warned pointing her finger at Cayden. Just as the words left her mouth, Cayden’s skate hit a small tree branch that was laying in her path. The tall, lanky girl, plummeted to the ground, rolled head over heels, the rollers still turning on her skates when she managed to land face up on the grass, looking at the sky. Tiny licked her face, slobbering on her hair too. The gardener had just mowed the lawn that morning, the cut grass smell still strong and damp.
“Ouch!” Cayden yelled when she grabbed hold of Tiny’s neck and pulled herself up, then brushed the cut grass off her clothes. She walked on her skates through the yard toward Mrs. Jules front porch, Tiny her faithful companion, right by her side.
Mrs. Jules raised up from her rickety rocking chair and hobbled to the front of the porch. “Don’t walk on the grass,” she scolded Cayden. “Those skates will tear it up. Let me take a look at those knees.” Mrs. Jules put on her glasses, bent over, and noticed some blood on both knees, the right one more than the left one. The palms of her hands had grass stains on them as did the seat of her shorts. “Child, child! Come inside with me and let’s get you doctored up. And, where’s your father?”
NOTE* Mercy children are drawn to older people and dogs and will take any opportunity to befriend and listen to them. They are especially attuned to what is beneath the surface and can often feel another’s pain even when it doesn’t show on the outside.
Book #8: Gift of Prophecy
Book #8: Daniel Moves Away, is a look at the last, but not least of Anna’s Friends, and he has the motivational gift of prophecy. Daniel and Anna have grown up neighbors as long as they have been alive, so they know each other well. The two are getting older though and developing their own sense of individuality. You’ll enjoy this heart-warming story about how two friends can reconcile after a heated argument.
This excerpt shows us Daniel’s gift of prophecy in full blown action:
“Anna, you need to stop telling people what to do!”
“I’m not telling them what to do. I need them to help me with my project. It’s called delegating. That’s what facilitators do, and I’m a facilitator. Mr. Henderson said so.” Anna stood staring at Daniel with her hands on her hips, determined not to back down. She scrunched her eyes and nose up like she usually did when she was anxious or upset.
Daniel was just as head strong. He had tried to help Anna make things right with Sam, her older sister, when she made her mad about helping on the animal shelter project, but Anna wouldn’t listen. “You have a bad attitude,” Daniel shouted out.
“Well your attitude is stinky, like dog poop!” Anna yelled back and quickly stepped over the fence, slid down her slide, then ran into her house slamming the back door shut. “And you’re not my friend anymore!” Anna opened the back door for just enough time to shout back at Daniel.
“Remember, you always told me you want me to tell you what’s not going right, right?” Daniel ran over to the fence and climbed up on the stairs, shouting with his hands cupped around his mouth.
“Yep.” Anna stuck her head back out the back door again to yell back, “but I don’t have a bad attitude!”
NOTE* Those with the gift of prophecy are eager to point out when others are not walking in ways that glorify God. They often find themselves alone because of this strong character trait.