Kathleen's Unforgettable Winter

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

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

Plot Summary

Kathleen McKenzie and her family are moving from their home in the city to the family farm because Papa has lost his job in the stock market crash of 1929. As 12-year-old Kathleen nervously attempts to fit into rustic farm life with all its chores and challenges, she also struggles to make friends with her cousin, Lindsay. On her first hunting trip, Kathleen mistakenly shoots a neighbor's dog, and the family tries to nurse the dog back to health. As a blizzard rages outside the cozy farmhouse, Kathleen learns from her Grandma Maggie's life story about trusting in God's plan even through hardship.

Christian Beliefs

The McKenzie family members are strong believers. They regularly pray and read the Bible and discuss their faith with each other. Kathleen relies on God to guide her in difficult situations.

Authority Roles

Kathleen's father, Uncle John and Grandpa McKenzie are strong, gentle, godly men who lead their families using Christian principles and love.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence

Although a dog is shot, the incident is not graphic in nature.


Kathleen receives a letter from her classmate, Freddie, and is embarrassed by the implication that they may be more than friends. She voices her decision not to have a beau until she is old enough to consider marriage.



Discussion Topics

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

  • Kathleen struggles to adapt to a new life and make friends with her cousins.
    How did her attitude affect her acceptance and ability to contribute to the family?
  • Grandma Maggie's life story holds the lesson that Kathleen is struggling to learn.
    Discuss what Kathleen can learn from her grandmother's story.
  • Kathleen is not able to trust her cousins with the truth.
    What keeps her from trusting them, and what are the consequences for Kathleen of that mistrust?

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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