Kathleen's Shaken Dreams

This first historical fiction book in the "Life of Faith: Kathleen McKenzie" series by Tracy Leininger Craven is published by Zonderkidz.

Kathleen's Shaken Dreams is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

The McKenzie family lives a comfortable life in Fort Wayne, Ind., during the 1920s. After 11-year-old Kathleen is injured in a foot race, she meets Lucy. The two friends enjoy companionship in their tree house and at school. Kathleen learns lessons of humility and gratitude when she competes in spelling bees and sees her friend through illness. Their life is disrupted by the stock market crash in October 1929, which eventually causes Mr. McKenzie to lose his job. The family trusts in God's provision, as they must decide how to survive in difficult times.

Christian Beliefs

The McKenzie family members are strong believers, going regularly to church and praying at home. Kathleen prays for guidance and believes the promises of the Bible verses she calls to mind in her daily activities.

Authority Roles

Kathleen's father is a strong, gentle, godly man who leads his family using Christian principles and love. Kathleen apologizes to her parents for refusing their advice about performing on an unfamiliar instrument for a church function. Kathleen respects her teachers and parent's friends.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence



Kathleen is embarrassed around her classmate, Freddy, and there is a rumor that he has a crush on her. They remain friends throughout the book.



Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Kathleen learned that perseverance is often more important than winning.
    What are some ways Kathleen and her family persevered through difficult times?
  • What qualities did Papa and Mama want to foster in their children as shown by the inscription in Kathleen's book?
    What do you think of this inscription?

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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