Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Favorite Educational Master Books

My #1 MB Titles I reviewed this year:

Of the home school and educational titles I have reviewed for the Mom's of MB blogger program, my top choice is the Galapagos Islands.  My other favorites include the Chronicles of Dinosauria, the Children's World Atlas and I Am Ruth.

An entire curriculum can be created using the educational materials from Master Books.  The complete  spectrum of resources for science, history, geography and literature are available.  These multimedia resources reach out to students as well as educators.  They bridge the gap between faith and science showing that biblical truth does not contradict what we know about the world around us.  Whether for recreational reading or education, these books as well as the entire Master book line, represent the latest scholarship as well as creativity.

For a listing of available NLP and MB titles please visit the New Leaf Press web site. Master Books is an imprint of New Leaf Publishing.

New Master Book Titles

Galapagos Islands: A Different View (edited by Georgia Purdom) is a new science pictorial about the Galapagos Islands written from a creation world view.  This impressive full color science book contains vivid graphics and high definition photos throughout.  The quality and scholarship of Purdom's work rivals that of the best science texts and journals.  Photos of the unique wildlife as well as ecosystem give the reader a bird's eye view of these islands.

Starting with an overview of the creation account as depicted in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament, the editor ties in biblical creation with the science of these impressive and unique ecosystem.  The reader will get a comprehensive view of how creation is in indeed consistent with the natural world that can be observed.  Additionally, there are contributions from.a number of respected creation scientists and scholars adding additional scholarship and credibility to this work. This book incorporates history and social science- the development of evolutionary world views side by side the creationist world view.  This rounded depiction gives the reader a comprehensive view of these special islands.

This book is appropriate for all ages and audiences - young and old alike as well as the secular educational and homeschool market. This book can be adapted into a science curriculum for an earth science or geology course.   This would be a great book to see in any school or public library or museum gift shop.  Science fact books are an ever growing genre gaining popularity among elementary readers.  This book would make a great gift for any young reader interested in wildlife and science.  Ironically, an ecosystem that has been widely viewed as evidence of evolution is shown to prove the validity of creationism from the bible.  This book will appeal to all readers of all educational backgrounds and interests:  history enthusiasts as well as environmentalists and those who hold an interest in wildlife. 

I highly recommend this book published by Master Books an imprint of New Leaf Press. I would like this book to be offered in the school market. This book would be a welcome addition to school book fairs and libraries. 

Chronicles of Dinosauria: The History & Mystery of Dinosaurs and Man  by Dave Woetzel and illustrated by Richard Dobbs is a newly illustrated volume written from the biblical perspective of creation. This full colored book is filled with colorful graphics, full color illustrations and photographs on each page.  Created and designed to resemble an actual field journal, this book is like an actual experience with dinosaurs.  This book is the creationist answer to the new emerging genre of realistic journal styled books that usually focus on mythical or fictional creatures such as ware wolves, vampires or even middle earth dragons.  This book is designed in the same tradition yet its focus is on dinosaurs.  The mixed media illustrations and elements- line drawings, photographs, the aged worn  appearance of the cover and pages and realistic graphics draw the reader in for a realistic experience.  Visually, this book is impressive and is certain to draw in all readers- young readers and even parents alike!

As far as the content- this book provides a broad picture of the concepts of creation, with its focus on dinosaurs in particular.  Background information of the creation account and the worldwide flood as recorded in the biblical book of Genesis is covered.  The lives of dinosaurs is retold in context of archeological evidence as well as the Genesis account.  Intelligently written, this book serves as a good apologetic resource for anyone who wishes to build up and defend their belief in the creation account.  In terms of scientific coverage, this book would be a goo supplement to a science text.  A number of facts are presents in regards to archeological evidence, and fossils.  The different dinosaurs are depicted with their names as well.  This hybrid book combines science and entertainment as well.  Detailed endnotes provide sources of information. Last but not least in the end of the book is "God's Plan of Salvation" in order to provide the opportunity to hear the gospel message to all readers. This book is the perfect outreach to draw in the science enthusiast and dinosaur buff.  Inj light of all those erroneous memes and photos of creation tests that have gone viral on facebook, this book provides the true source of creation from an objective point of view- first hand.  As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I received a copy of this book published by Master Books and imprint of New Leaf Publishing group. 

This book is available directly from the publisher www.newleafpublishinggroup

or from B&N Chronicles of Dinosauria B&N


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heaven and Hell: Are They Real? by Christopher D. Hudson

Not only is the newly published book,  Heaven and Hell: Are They Real? by Christopher D. Hudson an authoritative text on the subject of Heaven and Hell, this work is a real eye opener for anyone who wishes to put his priorities in order.  This exhaustive resource shares with the reader everything there is to know about heaven and hell based on the bible.  Not only is there an extensive reliance on scripture references, Hudson had gleaned countless references and quotes from notable personalities, politicians, preachers, writers and other well known historical figures. Providing a well balanced perspective, the author provides quotations from a number of secular as well as religious personalities for a well rounded experience.  This mix of references is the perfect outreach to draw in secular readers who might not normally read a Christian work.  Nevertheless, the author does not compromise scriptural truth.  You will not find relativist ideas or liberal all-inclusive notions of hell.  Though the reading level of this book is deceptively simple with its easy to follow question and answer format upon which the individual chapters are based, Christopher Hudson does not water down the scriptural truths of heaven and hell as presented in the bible.

It is certainly true that the concepts of heaven and hell in today's society are devoid of meaning.  Many deny the existence of a literal hell and many reduce the concept of heaven to a fairy tale land in the clouds.  Angels are equated with Precious Moments figurines and Christmas cards.   The book Heaven and Hell: Are They Real? discusses what Scripture really says - it is a wake up all even for those who consider themselves religious.  Not only does this book sort myth from reality, I found it to contain a comforting message as it reinforced the concept of Heaven and biblical priorities.  Even though some questions and topics addressed may seem overly simplistic or silly, I believe for some readers especially those unfamiliar with the bible, they are  important nonetheless.  This is the perfect book for anyone with questions and  seeking the truth.  It is a simple introductory book on the text.  But just like any thorough book, for the seasoned Christian it will reinforce important concepts such as having a spiritual heaven focused outlook and about building one's spiritual treasure in heaven.
Especially practical features include-
  • 50 days of reading on heaven and on hell
  • quotes and excerpts from modern and ancient authorities and figures
As a blogger for Booklook bloggers I received a copy of this book published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

101 Color and Sing Bible Stories by Steven Elkins

 101 Color and Sing Bible Stories by Steven Elkins is a newly created bible storybook marketed as an  introductory Bible storybook for preschool aged children. This book is a true multimedia  experience (with 2 CD-ROMs) that features not only songs but coloring pages that parents can print out on their printers for their children to color.  These features make this book a great resource for a Sunday school class.  It can be used as a simple year long curriculum to teach children about the bible from creation to revelation complete with stories, short facts, songs and coloring pages.

I feel this is a great product for parents to use to get young children interested in the bible.  Young children will enjoy the short bible stories, colorful pictures and the music that goes along with the stories. The bold use of color and graphics and the cartoonish styled drawings will appeal to young children.  Yet I found the illustrations to be a bit too cartoonish and sketchy. They give an impression of being quickly drawn and rushed.  This probably is intentional to appeal to young children with a child like crayon textured theme.  Personally I dont prefer quick cartoonish, sketches.  I just feel that the artwork does not  convey quality. For me the cartoons were a turn off as I prefer  more traditional and careful art.  Nevertheless I am sure that some young children may find this artistic style appealing.

 As far as home use, I really can not say that as a parent, it is convenient to access the coloring pages and print them out.  Personally I would have preferred this coloring feature to be included as a separate coloring book to accompany the story book and cds. Even if this would increase the price, I believe that a separate coloring book would add additional value for this product for parents to use with their children.  It might  be misleading to advertise that coloring sheets are actually included when they have to be printed out to be used.  Considering the cost of paper and the high cost of printer toner, this might not be feasible for parents to print 101 separate coloring pages on their own personal printer.  Purchasing a coloring book is cheaper.  With the internet, bible themed coloring pages are easily available without cost for parents who wish to print out coloring pages.  I was not impressed by the added coloring pages feature as I saw it did not add any practical value to this book.    The feature in which a mini version of the color pages is reproduced within the page spread for each story makes this book reminiscent of a teacher's text. This feature might distract from the actual story and flow as it is styled more like a text than a simple story book.  This does not present a problem and in fact makes this book even more suitable for use in the classroom setting.

Overall I feel this book and CD- music combo is perfect for Sunday school use and to teach multiple children the message of the bible in an engaging and memorable way. Children will enjoy the music and the quick simplified stories. As a blogger for   Tyndale House Publishers I  received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

101 Bible Stories by Dan Andreasen

101 Bible Stories by Dan Andersen is a brand new collection of  popular Bible stories written for young children.  The beautiful artwork stands apart from the cartoonish line drawing that commonly is used in many bible storybooks on the market.  Parents will be impressed by the expressive quality illustrations that accompany each story. This is a bible story book where the illustrations truly enhance the stories.  In of themselves, these powerful illustrations retell the story visually.

Although this compendium, 101 Bible Stories from Creation to Revelation is marketed specifically for "young independent readers ages 6 and up", as a parent and an educator with experience teaching elementary school children, I believe that children under age 8 will struggle to read these stories independently. In my opinion, younger children will understand the message of these stories more readily if read by a parent or adult.  I feel many 6 year olds will find the reading level too difficult.  I caution parents not to have unrealistic expectation of having a first grader reading and comprehending these stories on his or her own,  Nevertheless the fact that the reading level leans more toward the higher age range, this does not detract on any way from the quality and value of this book.  Personally I see it as the perfect book for parents to share with young children by reading aloud.  These stories are short and simple, and are perfect bedtime stories for young children but contain enough detail to engage older readers as well. Each story is one page in length and features a picture depicting the main character or event of the story.

For anyone looking for a children's bible storybook, this is definitely a good choice. if only for the quality art alone, this o's a good choice.  Yet just as impressive as the art is the storytelling style of the author in his ability to communicate   timeless bible truth with these familiar stories.  This book brings new life to these familiar bible stories for young and old alike.  I received a copy of this book published by Zondervan publishers for the purpose of writing this review. 

Children's Bible Directory

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Big Picture Interactive Bible

The Big Picture Interactive Bible

Finally there is a children's bible that actually targets its intended readers with age appropriate text as well as with colorful graphics and articles. The Big Picture Interactive Bible is absolutely one of the best children's bibles I have read featuring the full text of the HCSB.  Unlike many kids' bibles, this bible is actually one that kids will be able to read.  The inviting fonts of the faithful yet modern HCSB text will encourage young bible readers to actually read this bible.  I can not say how frequently  I have seen children's bibles with tiny 6-7 point font in a hard to read NKJV or  KJV! While some readers may argue that the HCSB is not as easy to read as the NLT or other more modern or paraphrased versions- of all the literal translations on the market, this is probably the most accessible to readers of all ages  This bible is not one that kids will quickly outgrow.  Even beyond the pre-teen years, I feel that even teens will appreciate this easy to read, inviting bible.

The bold full color graphics and extensive full color illustrations and photographs make this bible inviting to pick up and read. There is color everywhere.  It is clear that the publishers produced a bible with children in mind.  Highlighted verses and a magazine styled interior will draw the readers attention to the bible text as well as highlighted side bars of useful information to apply.  Full color maps and additional  bible resources add extra value as a study bible.   These resources are  often overlooked in many kids bibles.  Every page has either an illustration, photograph or graphic.  The modern cartoon styled illustrations are faithful and artistic.  They are reminiscent of computer styled graphics and will appeal to young readers as well as older children.  Within the text and illustrations are special icons that lead the reader to additional multimedia online resources.  These online resources are optional and do not detract from the bible reading  experience. This unique feature is the B&H Kids Augmented Reality App (free and available for Android and iPhone). When the links are accessed it is like a digital book.  Overall, This is a good choice for first time bible readers and it is a good bible that young readers will not quickly outgrow.  If you are going to own one single children's bible, I would recommend this bible.  Parents will be impressed with the quality and quantity of content.  The varied style of the pages of this bible will keep children engaged.
In sum, some notable study and entertainment features included are....
  • Big Words - like having a  Dictionary  with photos, maps, illustrations and descriptions of key concepts right in the Bible text.
  • Big Questions/Big Answers - Q and A feature that answers many of the common "big questions" children will ask throughout the Bible.
  • Book Introductions
  • Special icons are placed throughout the Bible to connect to the interactive multimedia Gospel Project for Kids curriculum.
  • Memory Verses
  • Seeing the Big Picture - This feature is an idepth look into key Bible stories to help kids to grasp the meaning and also provide parents and educators with extra information
This bible is a beautifully bound with a flexible cover .  This high quality bible will easily stand up to years of use.  The purpose of a children's bible is to reach kids with the life saving gospel message.  This is the best bible suited to accomplish that.  In the overwhelming market of full color books, magazines and media finally there is a bible that fits in to capture the attention of the modern young reader without compromising truth.

As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

.The Big Picture Interactive Bible is published by  (B&H Kids)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rewired by Brandon Cox

Rewired: How using today's Technology can bring you back to deeper relationships, real conversations, and age old methods of sharing God's love is a timely new book  by Brandon Cox.  The author, Brandon Cox is himself a pastor who has served in his own church as well as the beloved Saddleback church of pastor- speaker Rick Warren, has  successfully used the internet and social media to spread the message of God in a new modern package to appeal to today's generation.  His new book tells the reader how to use social media to become fishers of men and to spread the gospel message.  In fact, according to Cox- it is essential to use this new technology and is a disservice to ignore it. 

The cover of this book in of itself is a piece of art- a jumbled mix of well known icons - a modern tribute of computer clip art and images familiar to any social media user. These images are interconnected by a computer logo- symbolizing how the internet and social media connects people and users together.  No other technology or institution has the potential to connect so many over vast geographic areas.  According to Rick Warren, Cox's new book, urges church leaders to "embrace the social media wave" and to "harness" its power for the good of God's kingdom. ( from the forward page xi).  This book is written for any one in a leadership roe of their church including pastors and ministry leaders. 

Step by step Cox systematically covers all aspects of the internet and social media and how to effectively use and integrate them as part of a Church's outreach program.  Twitter, facebook, blogging and other social media platforms are discussed.  The effectiveness of elements such as multimedia, video wed design and photographs is covered in detail as well.  This book serves as a how to manual for anyone interested in moving their church to the computer age. This book is like having a computer- social media expert advisor at your disposal.  No need to search how to forums or user groups as anything you need to know to get your church up and running online is right here in this book.   Any internet or social media concept that is introduced, in explained in detail making this book accessible to anyone regardless of their internet and computer background.  This book is written in simple to understand language- it is a much needed message directed at today's church leaders.

 At the end of each chapter are refection and discussion questions to reinforce the significance of the material introduced.  In the Appendix sections are a list of helpful web sites as well as helpful apps and programs with explanations and descriptions.  Basically this book is the one step resource guide for any ministry and church to organize itself in the computer age as well as navigating the complexities of social media. 

As a blogger for the Booketeria I received this book published by Passio for the purpose of writing this review.  I recommend this book as an essential guide for any ministry team or leader who wishes to use the internet and social media their church's reach and sphere of influence. 

Whaley's Big Adventure illustrated by Alexander Luke

Whaley's Big Adventure, illustrated by Alexander Luke, and presented by Carole P. Roman is a story about Whaley, a young blue whale that sets out to explore the ocean, meeting other species of whale along the way.  Not only is this story fun, but it is educational as well.  Young Whaley meets many types of whales on his adventure- including Orcas and Humpbacks.  Each time a new whale is introduced in the story, an interesting scientific fact about the whale is presented. 

This picture book not only is a fun bedtime story for parents to read to their young children- it is educational as well. This is a hybrid or cross over book between a picture story book and educational fact book on whales. The fascinating facts will engage and surprise young children.  Illustrated with watercolor styled illustrations in deep blue and gray, the reader gets the impression of a deep, dark, murky ocean habitat. It is hard to believe this story is written and illustrated by a five year old boy!  The fact that a child authored and illustrated this book makes it a perfect story for young elementary children to motivate students to use their creativity to write stories as well.  This book is a perfect choice for teachers to read to their classes during story time.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Awesome Science Episodes 8 & 7 Explore Rocky Mountain National Park, Explore Glacier Park

Awesome Science Episodes 7 & 8 are the newest editions to the Master Books educational DVD series.  Episode 8- Explore Rocky Mountain National Park with Noah Justice and Episode 7  Explore Glacier National Park are the perfect DVDs  for elementary science students and geology enthusiasts.  Everything having to with every aspect of these national parks and landmarks is covered- from water and weather to fossil evidence and dinosaurs.  Information about everything from the ocean, to the ice age, the water cycle, fossils and climate change is included in the episodes of this  comprehensive series.  Each episode is narrated by a young teen aged boy, Noah Justice- which is certain to appeal to young viewers.  When these arrived, my 8 year old could not wait to watch.

Although marketed as an elementary DVD for the home schooled market, this ambitious series easily fits into the popular non fiction science genre for young pre-teen readers and elementary audiences rivaling any science television series on tv. These videos are something that you might even see on the Discovery channel with one major distinction-  these books are based on a belief in God and the bible and not the theory of evolution and they  reconcile the revealed truths of the bible with science.

  These DVDs need not be confined to the homeschool classroom setting although they are perfectly suitable for the science class.  As you watch these episodes, you will find discussion of the creation account from Genesis as well as information on the worldwide flood and how it relates to fossil evidence, dinosaurs and the ice age.  Presented in an academic and professional format, this DVD ties into the curriculum of other Master Books science titles to re-enforce the information learned. This DVD series- combines  together faith and science, giving much needed credibility to biblical creation without sacrificing academic scholarship.  For those readers and families who are familiar with the educational titles produced by Master books, these videos cover topics introduced in the wide range of books.  This consistency and unity of material reinforces  the validity of the material as well as comprehension.  Having various media that discovers how the bible and science are consistent makes for a stronger understanding.  It is hard to comprehend the amount of scholarship and research contained in this series.  While written for a childrens' curriculum, I am sure parents and educators will enjoy this viewing this DVD as well.  The episodes of this series  leaves no stone unturned and is certain to answer countless questions about a host of science topics that go far beyond the topic of national parks alone.  Last but not least, these videos make a good travel resource for families who wish to vacation as these popular national parks.

As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I received a copy of these DVDs by Master Book and imprint of New Leaf publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Young Women of Faith Bible NIV

Finally there is a children's bible that actually targets its intended readers with age appropriate text as well as with colorful graphics and articles. The Young Women of Faith Bible NIV edition is marketed for elementary aged or preteen girls ages 9-12.  Unlike many kids' bibles, this bible is actually one that kids will be able to read.  With the tricolored, modern flower print cover- and doodle -like graphics, and the inviting  font of the faithful yet easy to understand NIV text, will encourage young bible readers to actually read this bible.  The pink graphic splashes of color and "journal" styled articles will draw the attention of younger girls.  There are butterflies, hearts, swirls and flowers to adorn the pages of the bible text.  I can not say how frequently  I have seen children's bibles with tiny 6-7 point font in a hard to read NKJV or  KJV! While some readers may argue that the NIV is not as easy to read as the NLT or other more modern or paraphrased versions- of all the literal translations on the market, the NIV is probably the most accessible to younger readers.  This bible is not one that kids will quickly outgrow.  Even beyond the pre-teen years, I feel that even teens will appreciate this easy to read, inviting bible.

The bold two-tone pink graphics make this bible inviting to pick up and read. Highlighted verses and a magazine styled interior will draw the readers attention to the bible text as well as highlighted side bars of useful information to apply.  This bible most likely is intended to be a gift to a young girl by a mom or grandmother or aunt.  It is unlikely that a young girl would actually make this bible selection on her own.  Most girls this age receive bibles as gifts from significant others in their lives.  The title "Young Women of Faith" is apparently marketed to the significant adults in a young girl's life as young girls don't usually refer to themselves or think of themselves as "young women".  There is a concordance and maps- resources often overlooked in many kids bibles.  The concordance is in tiny font- basically the same concordance in the regular NIV bibles/.  Nevertheless, this is still a valuable edition making this a bible that will prove to be useful even long into the teen years and for parents as well.  This is a good choice for first time bible readers and it is a good bible that young girls will not quickly outgrow. 

Children's Bible Directory

This bible is a beautifully bound hardcover.  This high quality bible will easily stand up to years of use. 

As a blogger for BookLook blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.