Book Reviews


This book makes me smile. It shows how simple acts of kindness for others will help bring peace to our world. Lori Prentice tells the real story of how hospitality offered to someone in need changed her family and transformed her community. This heart warming story is sure to inspire children and families alike with a timely message of hope.

— Paul DePledge Pastor, Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church


A heartfelt and inspiring true family story of courage, selflessness and a desire to instill solid values into our children.

–Shirley McWilliams, Valley Oak mother of a 6th and 3rd grader.

 Not your ordinary Christmas story, The Best Dinner I Never Ate is a true account to be savored together with family and friends. Some of us have been sitting on things that could bless others, sleeping on things, eating things that we give a passing glance, but others would see as answers to prayer. Author Lori Prentice expresses her family’s story in a moving way, sure to tug at your heart and engage readers from the young to those rich in years.

Ragged Hope Cynthia Ruchti

–Cynthia Ruchti, author
and speaker

The Best Dinner I Never Ate is rooted in the DNA of a family who courageously opened up their home as well as their hearts, breaking down walls to help a family in need. Do not overlook the passion and conviction to serve as you read this book and be inspired by a real life story of love and service.

–Phil Allen
Jr Young Adult Pastor at Shepherd Church, Spoken Word Artist of When I Became a Man

I’m a clinical psychologist, I’ve known the Prentices for some time now, they attend the same church we do and they have developed a program from their home to help out homeless people they set aside a room with a separate entrance in their home and they allow homeless families to stay in their own home for a period of time to help them get back on their feet this is an amazingly well-thought out and well-planned program. Lori interviews the people to make sure that they’re safe with their own children, in the home of course, and um this is well a commandment of Christ to take care of the poor, the homeless, the hungry. They’re not only talking about it they’re doing something about it. Few Christians really act on their Christianity in the way that the Prentices have and it’s a very admirable thing and I commend them for it, this effort to help out.

I’m reminded of the story of the beach scene where there were many starfish on the beach and there was a little boy was picking them up and throwing them back into the water and a man said to him “You can’t save all those starfish.” and the little boy said “I saved that one.” And that’s kind of the way that the Prentices seem to be working with the homeless people.

You can’t save them all but you can help some.

–David Pounds, clinical psychologist


Book Blurbs:

Beautiful illustrations chronicle the story of how the Prentice family stumbles into helping the homeless when mom Lori delivers their Thanksgiving dinner to a homeless family in need. Upon discovery of the family, parents Jay and Lori immediately drop off their kids with the grandparents, four and a half hours away, and drive straight back, missing a second turkey dinner so they could clear out and convert their spare room into an apartment. About three years later, the first family they helped is still in the apartment they saved money for while staying with the Prentices, and now several more homeless families follow the same pattern. Lori posts an upcoming vacancy in the spare room hoping to find a homeless person to take in from the cold. When multiple people respond, looking for a place to stay, Jay and Lori move out of their bedroom, bust a hole in the wall to put in an external entry door, and go searching for another homeless stranger to bring in to the warmth. They give her their own bedroom and bathroom, and call her family. There is a surprise ending in this story, involving the Prentice children, and it will make you want to grab a copy and a tissue box.

Welcome to the inspirational story of a small town family who takes people in crisis into their own home. When you’re down-and-out, what’s the price for a stay in the Prentice home? Nothing. One snowy night, when several people need shelter, the family learns that the “nothing” they receive is something, and that “something” is everything.

Come take a taste of this inspirational story- a small town family gets an unexpected call. Out of nowhere, they start bringing people who are homeless into their own home. The price for a stay in the Prentice home? Nothing. One snowy night, when several people reveal they need shelter, the family learns the truth- that the “nothing” they receive is something, and that “something” is everything.


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Author, Lori Prentice
Lori is the creator of Brain Romp—the active approach to learning that incorporates physical activity and games with learning to read. A wiggle worm herself, Lori homeschools their three kids, Melanie, Tim and Ginger, in a structured, yet look-for-an-opportunity-to-put-your-skills-to-good-use kind of way. Lori is proud of her ADHD and considers it a blessing. Without it, many projects would have been deemed too risky or would never have been started. Lori has always wanted to be an “otter” (that was her long-ago kid-speak for “author,”) and with The Best Dinner I Never Ate, she has her chance. Lori loves writing, and has an obnoxious streak (woops, can you tell I wrote my own description??).

I read with enthusiasm the article in the Fresno Bee that featured you and your family’s ministry to the homeless. As the Mayor of the city of Bakersfield, who launched Home First: Kern County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2008, I applaud your efforts to reach out to the most vulnerable in your midst with your unique and unconventional approach.

Home First is a 10-year action plan we created through the collaborative efforts of many sectors of our community to address the challenging issue of homelessness at its very core. It is my strong belief that every individual and family deserves safe, affordable housing.

I have purchased a copy of your book, The Best Dinner I Never Ate, and it is my plan to read it to as many young students in our community during my celebrity reader events in 2014.

Wishing you all the best in your endeavors to make a difference in the Oakhurst area.

With best regards,
Harvey L. Hall, Mayor
City of Bakersfield