Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Really Woolly Easter Blessings By Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Really Woolly Easter Blessings By Bonnie Rickner Jensen is a new board book for young children featuring the cartoon sheep known as  "Really Woolly".  This small sized board book is perfect for toddlers and young children.  Each two page spread features a theme and scripture as well as a special devotional and
prayers.  This book focuses on the Easter theme and related passages of the bible.  Although Easter is in the title of this book it is appropriate for year round use as well.  Other scripture topics are introduced, but the spring theme, with brightly colored flowers, sun and Springtime scenery  ties them altogether in this book.  This is a great choice to stuff in an Easter basket.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Tommy Nelson of Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Story Travelers Bible by Tracey Madder

The Story Travelers Bible by Tracey Madder with colorful lively illustrations by Tim Crecelius, is a unique one of a kind bible for young readers. Unlike other childrens' bibles which are usually a collection of individual bible stories, this new book for children presents the story of the bible from Genesis to Revelation from the point of view of modern, time traveling kids that act as tour guides.  This book turns the bible into a literal adventure- almost like a science fiction time travel saga just for kids.  The narrative is detailed and engaging.  It includes bible stories and a narrative from the point of the time traveling kids who add their own commentary and perceptions.  This is an original idea that packages the truths of the bible in an entirely new way. Full color illustrations and colorful graphics keep the reader engaged.  This bible storybook is perfectly suited for a parent to read to their child or for younger readers to read on their own.  Side bars of information make this book like a study bible which serves to aide a child in understanding how to apply God's word or even the context. As a parent I found this bible to be a pleasant surprise.  Its detailed enough in that this bible can grow as your child's faith and knowledge grows.  Unlike many bible story books for young children, this is not a bible story book that will be quickly outgrown.  As a blogger for Tyndale bloggers I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  This bible is published by Tyndale Kids publishers.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire by Carole P. Roman

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

Ancient Mali is a little known culture to many readers.  Roman's picture history book sheds light on this mysterious ancient, yet taboo culture through the eyes of a young girl growing up in a typical Ancient Mali household.  Ironically, this story is somber account although the author takes a light hearted tone in the telling of the young girl's life, and culture. As an educator and historian, Roman reports the culture as she sees it, without omitting even the distasteful elements of the culture.

 There is no censorship in this book as the author gives a truthful, matter of fact, judgement free depiction of some of the primitive cultural practices such as polygamy and child marriage that are considered immoral and unacceptable practices in today's society. For example, on page 10 the author explains that a traditional family would include multiple wives with one husband and many children.  "You shared the house with your father and his four wives.  There were seventeen children between all your father's wives.  He always told you that you were his favorite."  Polygamy is a difficult concept for young children to grasp, even if only in the historical context and something that parents or educators would feel is not appropriate for younger aged children. The practice of child marriage is introduced on page 44 with the statement "you knew the time was coming for you to marry".  A few pages later more detail is added "Twelve to thirteen was a turning point for you too.  You would be considered ready to have children and a marriage would be arranged.... You had time to worry about the thought of a husband.  You were just ten this last year."

For example page 42 explains, "punishment was fierce and fast.  Liars had their tongues cut out, thieves lost their hands".   In fact some conservative readers might find offense with the author's non judgmental stance towards these barbaric practices,

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.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived on...Mars by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived on...Mars by Carole P. Roman, Mateya Arkova (Illustrator) is a brand new picture book in the "If You Were Me and Lived on" series of books.  But unlike the previous books that take the reader to different countries or different time periods this story follows a new path to outerspace.  Roman opens up an entire new world for children to explore- the universe.   Just as her other stories, this thorough and realistic account takes the reader through a journey to the planet Mars.  The reader will follow a futuristic family as they travel through outerspace to Mars.   The detailed art allows the vivid imagination of children to imagine what life on Mars might really be like.  From the serene deep orange mountain-scapes, to the deep red skies, one can almost create a picture of what life on the planet Mars would be like if humans were to travel and colonize the planet.  This book will ignite any young reader's interest in astronomy and science.  My two youngest really loved this book and so far its been read and re-read countless times.  I'd recommend this book for any parent or even for use in a science class for grade schoolers.

Disaster Falls: A Family Story by Stephane Gerson

Disaster Falls: A Family Story by Stephane Gerson is a newly published true life
story chronicling the grief of losing a child.  This low profile book, with its minimalist yet cover design gives little clue to the honestly raw, heartfelt account of the author's painful re-telling of the death of his son while on a family vacation.  Ironically a fun, hope filled family vacation turned into a remorseful tragedy.  With the authenticity that only a grieving author has, Stephane Gerson reaches out to the reader in his open and vulnerable life story.  In the end this book cannot neatly fit into any single category.  It can be a memoir or biographical account.  Or it may be compared to a personal journal written by a grieving father who is trying to cope with an unimaginable tragedy.  Even as the reader reads the author's words, it is clear that the depth of the tragic loss is great.  It is painful to read as the reader gathers that even the author himself can barely re-tell the specifics of the account of his son's death.  In fact, you must read through the first half of the book at least until you get the details of his son's death.  And even as the author slowly reveals these details, it is clear by the disjointed and uncertain language, that this is an authentic, and unaltered account in which the author has full transparency before the reader. For an honest account of the journey of grief- this is the book to pick up.  It seems almost more like a personal journal than a book in fact.  Anyone who reads this book will certainly gain new clarity and insight into grief and for those readers who are in the midst of grief it is a comfort to know you are not alone.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Crown for the purpose of writing this review.

A Spectacle of Glory God's Light Shining through Me Every Day By Joni Eareckson Tada

A Spectacle of Glory God's Light Shining through Me Every Day By Joni
Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby is a new pocket sized daily devotional book. While you might feel as one going through a trial or handicap, that you are a spectacle- Joni's new devotional calls is a "Spectacle of Glory"......
Joni Eareckson Tada of Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability, is known best by many readers, as an inspirational hero of faith who suffers from quadriplegia as a result of a diving injury suffered at the age of 17.  I first learned of Jodi Eateckson Tada's story as a college student when I read her inspirational autobiography.  Over the years I found myself drawn to her story and example when life became difficult with various trials.  This little book of 365 devotionals- one for every year is a perfect compendium of daily inspiration and empowerment. 

Her faith and resilience in the face of disability and tragedy is an inspiration and model for all Christians and especially for those facing tragic circumstances and disability.  One may wonder where Joni finds her strength and how she maintains her strength and faith. For true inspirational devotionals, side by side with bible scripture- this devotional is  resource is where to turn. Unlike many devotional books  on the market- this daily devotional is truly dedicated to those readers who are actively suffering or going through trial.  Joni provides the tools needed to empower and inspire even the most apathetic and depressed of readers. Whether you are facing the grief of loss, terminal illness, disability or even the loss of a job- this book is certain to provide comfort. I received a copy of this book published by Zondervan as a Booklook bloggerfor the purpose of writing this review. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Q&A a Day for Writers: 1-Year Journal by Potter

Q&A a Day for Writers: 1-Year Journal by Potter is a new alternative format book- a cross between a one year journal and a yearly calendar. Each day features a poetic writing prompt or idea to inspire the reader to write further.  It is reminiscent of the daily journals I did in school to start the day.  This book is a great idea for writers or for anyone else who wants to fill their time with something deeper than passive video games or television.  This book would make a great gift.  As far as practicality I found personally it would require much time and dedication and with all my other responsibilities I felt that I simply did not have the time to spare. Any of the unique writing prompts could even be expanded to create a full length novel for those who are extra inspired or ambitious.  This book has a lot of great ideas and would be an invaluable tool for teachers.   In the end, this book would be perfect to integrate into an honors high school English class or a college literature or writing course.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter/ TenSpeed/Harmony press for the purpose of writing this review.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

A Boy Called Christmas

by Matt Haig is a new audio book perfect to give as a gift for Christmas and the holidays.  Based on the book, this is an audio rendition of the popular classic story.   Listening to an audio book is the perfect way to recreate a nostalgic Christmas tradition for adults and children alike.  Although I normally don't listen to audio books, as I feel they lack the flexibility and portability of a book- this is worth a try as it can become the start of a new yearly Christmas tradition. Unlike a movie, you must use your imagination.  This audio book is much longer than a movie so you may want to plan ahead and free up a few nights to listen to it.  Nicely packaged this also would make the perfect gift for anyone.  As a blogger I received a copy of this set for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, December 2, 2016

One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day by Carole P. Roman illustrated by Mateya Arkova


One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day by Carole P. Roman illustrated by  Mateya Arkova is a new children's picture book that teaches young children how to cope with bad days and life's disappointments. The brightly textured watercolor art by Arkova is inviting for children of all ages.  The animated characters and their friendly, and sincere personalities will draw in the young readers and they follow along.  This story addresses common challenges little ones face- cancelled plans, bad weather, embarrassment, bad grades, divorced parents and the loss of a beloved pet-  to name a few. Using a technique to relieve stress and to decrease anxiety, squirrel learns a new coping technique  based on numbering the problem on a one to ten scale. The story ends with a few wise words that will have a lasting impact on children of all ages.   "In the event that something happens, and you feel your world fly apart, recall this conversation; remember the one to ten chart.... Once you give it a number... the problem doesn't feel so big, and somehow you'll know what to do." (Roman, 2016) Parents can use this story with their children as a springboard to address life problems and situations. Once again, Carole P. Roman shows her versatility as a children's writer.

Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith by Tanika Fitzgerald

In her new book, Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith, Tanika Fitzgerald ministers to women experiencing the grief of pregnancy loss and stillbirth.  Tanika herself experienced the grief and isolation of miscarriage in 2015.  She opens her book with the candid account of her own experience of miscarriage.  She reaches out to the grieved reader as a personal friend and mentor.  For many women, the solace and comfort received from Tanika's book might be the only companionship during their own pregnancy loss journey.  As Tanika points out, miscarriage and pregnancy loss is more common than many believe.  But, because of the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss, many women must grieve alone.  This book is a resource to read multiple times, and to have handy by the bedside for sleepless nights and times of grief.  There are plenty of scripture verses as well as bible anecdotes that are used to help guide any grieving mother when facing the loss of her child no matter what stage in pregnancy the loss occurred. This is the perfect book for anyone experiencing pregnancy loss.  And for those painful times when there are no other words of comfort- this makes a comforting resource.  One of the best most poignant aspects of this book is that it is written from a point of view of incredible faith.  Tanika wrote this book despite the fact that she currently does not have any living children.  She writes from the point of view of patience and in a time of uncertainty which makes her words even more powerful and applicable.  Not every mother has a happy ending or a baby here while on Earth.  The fact that the author has written this powerful book while still patiently waiting on God -serves as a reminder that if this type of faith is possible for her, that maybe it is also possible for those who have not been able to have children either.    As a blogger for Litfuse publicity, I am providing an unbiased review.

Beyond Suffering Bible NLT: Where Struggles Seem Endless, God's Hope Is Infinite by Joni and Friends, Inc.

The Beyond Suffering Bible NLT: Where Struggles Seem Endless, God's Hope Is Infinite - is a new bible produced by Joni and Friends, Inc.

Joni Eareckson Tada of Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability, is known best by many readers, as an inspirational hero of faith who suffers from quadriplegia as a result of a diving injury suffered at the age of 17.  I first learned of Jodi Eateckson Tada's story as a college student when I read her inspirational autobiography.  Over the years I found myself drawn to her story and example when life became difficult with various trials. 

Her faith and resilience in the face of disability and tragedy is an inspiration and model for all Christians and especially for those facing tragic circumstances and disability.  One may wonder where Joni finds her strength and how she maintains her strength and faith. For true inspirational devotionals, side by side with the full text of the bible- this bible resource is where to turn. Unlike many devotional bibles on the market- this bible is truly dedicated to those readers who are actively suffering.  This bible provides the tools needed to empower and inspire even the most apathetic and depressed of readers. Whether you are facing the grief of loss, terminal illness, disability or even the loss of a job- this bible is certain to provide comfort- not only with the inspired words of scripture, but also with the articles and devotionals that help bring the word of God to life.  The devotionals focus on scripture but also help the reader to see how God's word can be practically applied when facing a crisis, or tragedy or even a chronic illness.  As a blogger I received a copy of this bible published by Tyndale for the purpose of writing this review. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Read and Share Look, I'm Reading! Bible Storybook By Gwen Ellis


Look, I'm Reading! Bible Storybook By Gwen Ellis is a new story book bible for young children featuring picture codes within the text.  This book is perfect for emerging readers and pre-schoolers.  By replacing key words with graphics, the child can fill in the story by looking at the picture which represents the missing word.  The cartoon like drawings are simple- similar to a doodle.  The child becomes an active participant of the story by looking at the image and by completing the sentences. This book is yet another way to add variety to bible storytelling.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Tommy Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs by Robert Trachtenberg

Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs by Robert Trachtenberg is a  modern book of photography featuring  photoshoots of actors, musicians and other well known media figures.  It is difficult to categorize this eccentric book into a specific genre. While it features known faces and figures from popular culture and modern media- the selection of subjects as well as  the themed photoshoots seem to be aligned with a smaller niche of readers.  Possibly the term "Red- Blooded American Male" is a euphemism that may be appreciated by some readers.   The varied mix of eclectic fashion ranging from complete nudity, to partial nudity to extravagant costumes and women's wear add an unexpected element.  This book challenges gender roles and stereotypes as well as the traditional perceptions of well known celebrities by creating a mix- up like none other.  Ironically, in the preface, the author addresses the question as to who would actually "pay good money" to buy this book.  Ironically, I feel the shock value of this book is what will drive readers to invest in this book.  This book of photography may be considered art by some readers and to others- part of a social movement to reject traditional roles and values. In the end, the best way to describe this work is a book of alternative art and photography. At least for those traditional readers- if you pull off the full color jacket featuring a reclining male in fishnets dressed in grey in a room with color coordinated decor-  you will find the glossy black binding, and contemporary yet minimalist cover to fit very well with the books on your book shelf.     As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Amphoto Book for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NIV, Journal the Word Bible

NIV, Journal the Word BibleReflect, Journal, or Create Art Next to Your Favorite Verses

by Zondervan is a beautiful new bible that is made to not only accommodate personal journaling, but it also a beautifully bound hardcover with a cloth design that will appeal to readers of all ages. The thick cream colored pages, with light lines on the margins leave ample room for writing and even small drawings.

There is a new trend of bible journals and bibles with journal space on the market these days. Creativity is a new way to express faith while also building one's knowledge of the word of God.  This bible can easily become a treasured keepsake, passed down generation to generation, once it is personalized.

Generous sized margins feature ample space for writing notes, or even for creating your own doodles.  There is no limitation to this bible as it allows flexibility for anything.  To get some ideas of how to decorate or personalize a journaling bible there are many videos on the internet.  This bible will appeal to a wide audience including scrap bookkers, artists, journalists  and writers.

One feature is its smaller size text and size in general. Depending on who you are, this may or may not be a positive feature.  This bible is portable and light- and easy to read while holding in one hand.  Unlike heavier, bulky bibles, this bible is easy to read sitting up in a chair, or with one hand right before bed.  With its portable size, comes a smaller font.  The text size is slightly smaller  than the standard font size of Zondervan bibles.  The font is still readable, just not as much as the standard font.  Once again this is to allow extra wide lined margins on just about each page to allow for personal journal entries and notes.   This is not a devotional or study bible.  There are no extra articles or devotions which is a good thing as nothing stands between the reader and God's word.

Now that I have this bible, the hardest thing is to figure out what to do with it since there are so many possibilities.  I can not decide if I should take notes, draw doodles, highlight passages or add stickers- or maybe all these things.  As beautiful as this bible is, I may just want to leave it as it is and not add anything. So, I'm probably going to take a few days reading this bible until I decide if or how to personalize it.  Maybe I will watch a few more videos for inspiration.   As a blogger I received a copy of this bible published by Zondervan.

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernusse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernusse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss is a new cookbook dedicated to baking and desserts.  This authentic cookbook features actual German recipes: Friesentorte (Plum Cream Torte), Butterkuchen (Butter Almond Cake), Schwarz- Weiss Geback (Checkerboard cookies) and many more.  The book features sections for cookies, cakes, yeasted cakes, Tortes, breads and even Christmas.  The last section is on the very basics- Quark (Sour Fresh Cheese), Streusel and more foundation recipes.  This comprehensive volume in perfect for every level of baking- from the beginner to the advanced chef.  This beautiful hard cover volume features thick sturdy pages, and detailed quality photographs.  Background information and commentary is provided for all the recipes as well.  I am giving this cookbook to my teenager who is in her third year of German language class- as she also enjoys baking as well.  This cookbook will transport the reader directly to Germany!  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Ten Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.