Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible: Explore the Story of the Bible—People, Places, and History

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible, Hardcover, Full Color Interior Explore the Story of the Bible—People, Places, and History is a brand new study bible published by Zondervan.  Unlike other bibles published for kids- this bible actually includes full color graphics, diagram, illustrations and photos to accompany the bible text.  Each page includes side bars featuring simplified study notes on selected verses and bible concepts.  Most bibles for kids on the market may advertise that they are kids' bibles.  In reality they are nothing more than the standard basic bible text in small font with colorful color and maybe a few pages of colorful inserts. I feel like those themed bible are nothing more than standard pew bibles with a kids' cover.  This bible is completely different and true to the title it helps the young reader explore the bible.  I feel this bible is suitable for kids even up to teenaged years as the study features are flexible and adaptable to appeal to older children.  Younger readers will need guidance with this bible as it is the complete NIV text and the standard sized font is small.  I'd even say that anyone new to the bible will find this as a suitable bible. If it were not for the cover with the word "Kids" in bold, that all ages would find this to be a great bible.  Personally I feel they should remove the word "Kids'" from the title and rename this bible "The NIV Visual Bible" to reflect its versatility. rather than to exclude older adolescent readers or adults.  This is the best kids study bible I have seen in a long time.  It's format is similar to the NIV Quest bible which is marketed to adult readers with the study helps and notes delegated to the color blocked side bars distinct from the main text.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

David Jeremiah Morning and Evening Devotions Holy Moments in the Presence of God By David Jeremiah

David Jeremiah Morning and Evening Devotions  Holy Moments in the Presence of God By David Jeremiah is a new devotional book that is certain to address the spiritual needs and challenges you face day to day.  Whether facing the daily day to day stresses of work and family to the tragic experiences and crisis of illness and death, the author provides spiritual strength for each day.  This beautifully bound hardcover book is pocket sized; small enough to read while holding it in one hand whether you are reading in bed before sleep or carrying it in your purse.  The two toned pages and embossed cover make this an inviting book to read or to give as a treasured gift.  Each day has two devotions, side by side- one for morning and one for night.  This devotional is versatile enough that you do not necessarily have to follow a structured 365 day a week daily reading plan.  The passages are quick to read and easy to understand.  Even those with busy life styles or those entrenched in grief will be able to find the time or muster up the strength to read a devotion each day.  This devotional is general enough to be applicable to readers of all ages, as well as men and women.  There are so many devotional books on the market.  What makes this one special is that it is written by a spiritual authority- a well known Christian author and writer, who has proven to be guided by the Holy Spirit and is faithful to the bible.  Anyone can say they have written a devotional book- but David Jeremiah writes with biblical authority and faithfulness.   As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of the book published by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Book of Greens A Cook's Compendium by Jenn Louis

The Book of Greens A Cook's Compendium by Jenn Louis with Kathleen Squires is an encyclopedia of every green vegetable and edible plant.  From, the well known and commonly used iceberg lettuce, to the infamous lawn pest- the dandelion,  this book contains unexpected recipes as well as staples to accompany any meal.  This book is a hybrid between a field guide of edible vegetation and a cook book in one volume.  This hardcover book, filled with vivid photographs is perfect for the new beginning cook as well as for the expert who wants to trey something new and exotic.  This volume contains basics and complicated recipes in addition to background information about the various featured edible greens.  I'm not sure I will use this book to cook any recipes but it was an eye opener as to the wealth of recipes that can be created using leafy greens.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by 10 speed press for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories By Stan & Jan Berenstain with Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories  Read-Along Classics by Stan & Jan Berenstain with Mike Berenstain  Published by Zondervan is a new compendium of stories for children.  Based on the original series of books and the television show, young children will love this volume featuring their favorite characters Brother bear and Sister bear.  As soon as my two youngest saw this book, they eagerly sat down and listened to the stories.  Don't let the title "5-miniute" make you think these are short abridged stories.  These stories are full length stories, not simply quick one or two liners that you may see in other "5-minute" story books.  With my youngest who is two, I abridged the stories a bit more as I found they were a little to lengthy for her to sit through. For older kids or preschoolers, the story length is perfect.  This collection includes 12 full length books from the Berenstain Bear book collection, including God Loves You, The Gossip Gang, and Blessed are the Peacemakers.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review. 

Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal by Tyndale

Tranquility: A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal by Tyndale  a beautiful little gift book that cannot easily be placed in one single genre.  Although its title mentions "coloring" and "journal", this book is a hyrbid devotional first and foremost with a number of beautiful and intricate illustrations perfect for coloring with colored pencils.  In some form or another, illustrations and even serene photos adorn each page. Unlike other coloring books or devotionals which can seem monotonous or repetitious, there is a lot of original content and variation from page to page to keep the reader engaged.  There are a lot of unexpected little details in this book.  On some pages, they span across a full page or even a two page spread like a traditional adult coloring book.  On other pages, small decorative illustrations are used either as a border or a decorative accent- which can also be colored.  Some pages feature full color graphics and art.  Most pages feature a short devotional entry based on a scripture or theme making this a devotional book.  There is also lined space for journaling as well as blank page space for free writing or free drawing and doodles.  This book allows for a great amount of creativity.  This is a beautiful keepsake for yourself or to give as a gift to a loved one.     As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  This book is part of the Living Expressions collection.

Chazown, Revised and Updated Edition Discover and Pursue God's Purpose for Your Life Craig Groeschel

Chazown, Revised and Updated Edition Discover and Pursue God's Purpose for Your Life Craig Groeschel is a book that will change your outlook of life long after you have read it.  If you are discouraged, disappointed, depressed or simply looking for a new perspective in life, this book will motivate you.  This book is the revised edition of the original- published for today's generation of readers.  Much has changed even in the past few years of this modern day era- with the fast pace of today's society what held true last year may be obsolete today when navigating the problems and obstacles faced in every day life.  This book isn't difficult to read, with unique diagrams to illustrate basic concepts.  The eccentric and unfamiliar expression in the title, "Chaztown" might scare off potential readers, but this book is relevant and useful for all readers.   But from the introduction, to the first page of the first chapter- the reader will be intrigued.  Even the most apathetic of readers will find inspiration and motivation in this book. As a blogger I reviewed this book published by Multnomah for the purpose of writing this review.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Woman's Study Bible, NKJV Receiving God's Truth for Balance, Hope, and Transformation

The Woman's Study Bible, NKJV - Receiving God's Truth for Balance, Hope, and Transformation - is a beautiful combination of a study bible and devotional bible.  This bible features a floral printed cloth hardcover, full color graphic elements as well as an easy to read font.  This well made bible is sure to become any woman's favorite bible.  The bible comes with a hardcover presentation box, making it perfect for gift giving.

For any reader who enjoys the New King James Version of the bible- this will be one bible that can stand the test of time with its study features, articles and devotionals themed for women.  This bible is the perfect way to encourage bible reading.  This solid, well made bible has a retail price of $79.99 which makes it a bit expensive.  For those looking for a bible to last a lifetime, it will be a good investment or it would make a great gift.  The price may be prohibitive for most readers.

I would like to see this bible available in other versions as many modern readers may prefer a an NIV or NLT version.  The NKJV is a traditional and trustworthy translation, but not as easy to understand subtle theological concepts for some readers who may be new to the bible. As a blogger for booklook bloggers I received a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing this review.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Bible Adventure Through God's Word 52 Bible Stories for Kids By Johnny Hunt

My Bible Adventure- Through God's Word 52 Bible Stories for Kids By Johnny Hunt is a new full color devotional for young children that covers the bible in 52 weeks.  Initially, I thought this book would be a bible story book- containing one bible story for each week of the year.  This book is more of a hybrid "devo-bible"- somewhat between a bible story book and a devotional.  Each week is based on a theme or story taken from the bible.  But unlike a bible story book, the stories in this book are not simply a re-telling of stories of the bible in chronological order, but rather the spiritual concepts of the bible.  For example in the first week "God made everything" story, the illustration is simple- a cartoon depiction of the earth.  The brief narrative gives a simplified account of creation.  Afterwords, the "Today's Adventure" article sums up the spiritual significance of creation in and applying the concept in a way that young children can understand.  There is also a prayer that follows.  The illustrations are very simple- more like graphics to compliment the story.  Unlike other story book bibles, the illustrations are secondary to the text.  If your child is ready to sit down and learn how to apply bible principles to real life, this book would make a great choice. Although the simple illustrations and cover would appeal to children as young as toddlers, the lengthy text to illustration ratio may be more appropriate for pre-schoolers and children up to first grade.  For any parent that struggles with teaching a child how the bible is applicable to everyday life, this would make a good choice.  For a first introduction to the bible, a more traditional bible story book would make a better choice. If you already have childrens' picture bibles and are looking for something to expand beyond the basic bible story, this would be a great choice.   I received a copy of this book published by Tommy Nelson publishers as a blogger for Booklook.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Bible Explorer's Guide 1,000 Amazing Facts and Photos By Nancy I. Sanders Published by Zondervan

The Bible Explorer's Guide 1,000 Amazing Facts and Photos By Nancy I. Sanders  Published by Zondervan is a new documentary fact book just for children.  Filled with photographs, artwork, illustrations, graphs and more, this book bring the bible to life by allowing readers to explore archeology, artifacts and art.  This book is the perfect compliment to the bible to allow readers to get behind the scenes of the bible.  Staring with Genesis and ending with Revelation, this book provides highlights to major events, places and archeological finds of the bible.  Even adults will appreciate the facts and background to bible history provided by this book.  The back includes a compendium of important figures of the old and new testaments.  This book is like an encyclopedia and documentary combined inot one volume.  The full color design and photographs, charts and illustration will draw in all readers.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Zondervan for the purpose of writing this review.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Beautiful Word Devotional Bringing the Goodness of Scripture to Life in Your Heart Published by Zondervan

The Beautiful Word DevotionalBringing the Goodness of Scripture to Life in Your Heart

Published by Zondervan is a new devotional journal providing a new scripture and devotional passage each day for an entire year.  Each two page spread features a beautifully illustrated full color bible passage.  Whether the reader is familiar with the Beautiful Word bible or not, this devotional book is certain to become a treasured keepsake after adding your own thoughts and reflections.  On each two page layout, a few widely spaced lines are provided in the side margin.  The wide spacing allows ample room for any sized handwriting, although the lines themselves allow room for a few quick thoughts and not lengthy passages of journaling.  I have not decided whether to keep this book as a devotional, or whether to personalize it adding my own notes and journal entries.  Although this is a structured journal with a devotional for each specific day of the year, it is hard to resist reading ahead and scrolling the selection of illustrated verses. As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Peace in the Face of Loss by Jill Kelly

Peace in the Face of Loss by Jill Kelly is a small devotional book with a flexible leatherette cover, embossed with golden leaves.  This short easy to read devotional is perfect for those in the midst of grief and suffering.  In the acute phases of shock, denial, anger and rage, this is the perfect resource to get through your grief.  Using personal anecdotes of her own experiences with grief, the author uses scrupture from the bible to help the reader get through the worst of grief,  Whether it is facing a death, terminal illness, job loss or some other loss, her experiences will help the reader to know it is possible to get through grief no matter how grim and hopeless life seams.  The devotional chapters are short, the pages thick and the font size is easily readable, making this the perfect book for those who are weary from grief.  As a blogger for Tyndale I received a copy of this book published by Tyndale Momentum for the purpose of this review.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Ragamuffin Gospel

As other contemporary readers, I too have heard of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, often referred to as "the Classic Meditation on Grace".  I've never actually read it until now with the reprint of this Special Anniversary Edition.  Unbelievably I met Brennan Manning's niece in the most unlikely of places- after I started a new job in a sub acute facility as a new RN. Who would have even imagined that I'd befriend a relative of The beloved and well respected contemporary Christian author, Brennan Manning's niece.  And she turned out to be everything you would expect from the legacy of Brennan Manning.  She was full of stories and anecdotes about her youth, her family and her Uncle.

Brennan Manning, an ex- Franciscan priest,  challenged much of the hypocrisy and legalism of mainstream churches.  He rejected the strict legalism  and man-made tradition of the Catholic church much like Jesus rejected the hypocrisy and legalism of the Pharisees and other religious leaders.   Manning's message is the perfect outreach for those rejected by rigid, mainstream  religions built on tradition and man made rules rather than the inspiration of God.  For example, Manning uses the example of how the Catholic church will prohibit a divorced woman who remarried from receiving communion.  In contrast, he points to the New Testament where Jesus would reach out to sinners.  In fact, just as in bible times during Jesus' ministry, those labeled as "sinners", and "unclean" were the first to repent and receive the Good News.  On the other hand, the "pious" and hypocrites were to rigid in their practices that they neglected the concepts of mercy and grace.
This book is for anyone who feels rejected by mainstream religion as well as those prideful individuals who feel they are "too good" to associate with those they feel don't meet their criteria of piety.  Manning has an important message and his book is the perfect outreach to draw in countless people to the Good News of the true gospel message.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Multnomah publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Raising A Hand: A Photographic Music Festival With a Cause

Raising A Hand is a brand new book raising awareness for a rare degenerative genetic disorder that affects young girls.  This book is a virtual concert, captured in photographs featuring a variety of musicians. For those who love music and musical history, this will be a treasured volume.  This book is part of an effective and unique outreach program to raise awareness of the little known  Rett Syndrome. The artists included in this book give a voice to the cause of young girls who otherwise would have no voice.

This book is produced from the combined efforts of dedicated individuals whose mission it is to find a cure and treatment for Rhett's.  Dave Clements' life was changed with the diagnosis of his daughter with Rhett's Syndrome.  Clements is the executive director of Raising a Hand, inspired by his daughter.  Together with Kevin Black, whose daughter was also diagnosed with Rhett's- they were inspired to create a one of a kind campaign to raise awareness.   The photographic compendium is a virtual music festival, featuring authentic, vibrant still shots of musicians "raising a hand" during their performances.  This well made hardcover volume is certain to become a collector's edition- perfect for the library or the coffee table. The minimalist modern design of this book, as well as the sharp photographs make this a musical time capsule- the perfect gift for anyone who loves music.  Any serious music enthusiastic needs a copy of this book.  The book features a wide variety of musical artists from all genres and time periods: Chubby Checker, Connie Smith, Brian Black, Peter Noone, Randy Travis, Paul McCartney, ZZ Top and many more.  There is an Artist Index in the back so that the reader can quickly find his favorites.

For more information or to purchase the book please visit their website at http://www.raisingahand.com/

If You Were me and Lived in the Mayan Empire by Carole P. Roman

If You Were me and Lived in the Mayan Empire by Carole P. Roman is the newest of the Romans' picture book  series introducing readers to a variety of civilizations from various time periods.

The Ancient Mayan culture is mysterious to many readers.  Most people have some popular knowledge of the ancient Mayans but this book dispels myth from reality. Roman's picture history book sheds light on this mysterious ancient, yet taboo culture through the eyes of a young child growing up in a typical Ancient Mayan home.   The ancient culture is presented in its raw, uncensored entirety  As an educator and historian, Roman reports the culture as she sees it, without omitting even the distasteful elements of the culture.

The  various books in this series depict the art of different illustrators.  This particular volume features the art of the talented illustrator Paula  Tabor.  I especially enjoy her artwork.  Her bold illustrations in the foreground, with textured, photographs of various scenes are vivid as well as unique.  The textures of the grassy huts, and other textures of the building materials, foods and natural environment transport the reader to a new culture. The reader  will feels transported back into time- with the detailed authentic elements incorporated into the art.

Although this is formatted as  a picture book, it is much more than a simple picture book in its content and detail.  This new hybrid book concept blends the best of a picture book and a history book.  What is created is  a full sized  history book.  Though the pictures make it seem like a picture book for kids, the content is more appropriate for older students who are able to grasp the darker nuances of ancient cultural practices no longer deemed morally acceptable or legal today. This book may stir up some controversy and by other's it will receive a warm reception.  Either way this book is a springboard for lively dialog debates.  Either way this is a book that will illicit a reaction from many parents and educators.

 Additional books in this series include Elizabethan England, Ancient Greece, and Colonial America and are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If You Were Me and Lived in...Germany: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in...Germany: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman,  illustrated by Kelsea Wienrenga is the newest book in Roman's illustrated culture series. This edition on Germany is especially of interest as my teenager is in her fourth year of German Language in school. The art contained in this newest book about Germany is a combination of mixed media- colorful cartoons superimposed with beautiful, full color, picturesque photography.  Without a doubt,  each book in the "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World" series offers the reader new surprises each time.

When reading about Germany, the photograph of the castle on the hill in Fussen jumps out at the reader, against the backdrop against a cloudy  blue sky and mountains  in the distance.   Other authentic  details and textures add appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes. The back contains a glossary of German words.

 The cartoon tour guides will certainly capture the attention of all young readers as well as parents and educators. I believe the "Carlesque" styled mixed media illustrations with the simple line cartoons in her   books are  an unexpected treat.  Mixed media illustrations are very popular and appealing for young readers as evidenced by the popularity of Eric Carle's kids' books.  By combining geography with mixed media- I believe that Roman will generate even greater interest and attention for her educational series. This sets her books apart from cartoon only illustrations.

The consistency of these geography books makes this series perfect for the school setting. An educator can count on the fact that students will be introduced to the basics. There is enough detail to make this series appropriate for middle school and even high school students as well.

  It would be great to see this series used as part of a  school geography or social studies curriculum.  It is clear that each book, though simple in design, presents a wealth of information and research.   This book as well as the other books in the series is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. As a blogger I received this books for the purpose of writing this review.