You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ category.

Praying with Jane is a lovely, small, hardbound book. Rachel Dodge has taken three beautiful prayers composed by the famous novelist Jane Austen and transformed them into a thirty-one day devotional. It is insightful, uplifting, and engaging.

The author’s introduction reveals fascinating details of Jane Austen’s spiritual and family life which may be unknown to many readers. Then, after presenting each prayer in full, she breaks them into small passages for reflection.

Each devotional gives insights into Jane’s faith, pulls illustrations from her novels, quotes related scripture passages, and suggests personalized prayers on the same theme. We glimpse the gracious life of hope and joy lived by a woman whose strength came from daily conversations with God.

For those who love all-things-Austen, this book will be a valued addition to their collection. Published by Bethany House Publishers (2018), Praying with Jane is about 160 pages long, and can be appreciated by readers from middle school through college, and beyond. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, and probably in your local book store.

 

From Nancy–If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about Christmas gifts. This book sounds like it would make a terrific one–a gift a beloved would savor throughout the long winter months ahead. And don’t forget, that someone could be you. 🙂

Last year at this time Pamela Walls recommended Suddenly Single Mom by Jeanette Hanscome, and I want to point you to that review and the book again. Single moms can have a really tough time of it during the holidays. Maybe you and this book can befriend one of them, giving them the gift of an understanding heart.

 

Donna Fujimoto’s children love to read. She is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. Her collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge  is available as an e-book at Amazon.

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, written by Laurie Halse Anderson and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (2005), is a fun read and a great way to learn historical information. The main character is Sarah Hale, the woman who was influential in making Thanksgiving a national holiday.

This small book written for children ages five to fourteen is cute, informative and inspirational. It is also funny in some parts. Matt Faulkner’s colorful and sometimes humorous illustrations are great, adding a lot to the storytelling.

The book starts by telling how the first Thanksgiving began. AS time went on, it wasn’t always observed as it had been before. Sarah Hale, a woman in the nineteenth century, had the passion and the tenacity to make it a national holiday. It took her many years of writing letters to various presidents to finally get her idea approved, but she never stopped trying.

In addition to fighting for Thanksgiving, Sarah Hale also fought for playgrounds for kids, schools for girls, and historical monuments for everyone. She argued against slavery, raised five children, wrote poetry, children’s books, novels and biographies. She was the first female magazine editor in America, publishing great American authors like Longfellow and Poe. She also composed “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

The story goes on to explain more about Sarah and her letter writing to different presidents. She was passionate about what she believed and never gave up. She also knew how to ask readers to help by asking them in her magazine articles. After trying to influence four different presidents to make Thanksgiving a holiday, she finally had success with President Lincoln. And in 1863, he made it a national holiday. Sarah’s determination had paid off. She can be an example to us to persevere, even when things get difficult.

Sarah was a bold, brave, smart, stubborn lady who used her time wisely. She died at the age of 90, knowing she had accomplished much. She is a great example for children and adults alike. I know readers will enjoy this book as much as I did.

From Nancy – Here are some more suggestions of books with a Thanksgiving theme. We think they are lovely as well and will add to your celebration of the day and the days following.

What is Thanksgiving?  – a board book that takes the listener to the heart of the holiday

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving – a picture book about God’s hand in the first Thanksgiving. The whole family will enjoy this one.

Thanksgiving Graces – a picture book about extending ourselves to family, friends and strangers

Molly’s Pilgrim – a first chapter book with illustrations for children in lower elementary grades that may help children consider modern day pilgrims.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving – a gentle story about family life at Thanksgiving from 19th century author Louisa May Alcott.  This short book with illustrations would be enjoyed by children ages five to twelve.

 

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her six children. Her two daughters, two sons, one-daughter-in-law and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for more than 35 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue are her most recent works. These novels are mysteries for kids, ages 10 to 13.

Halloween is coming and we have a few sugar-free but yummy suggestions for Christian kids.

The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a picture book for younger children. However, it’s message of God as the Creator and our opportunity to share His light with a dark world can be a message that will encourage readers no matter how young–or how old–they are.

October 31, All Hallows’ Eve, is an important date in the history of the Protestant Reformation. According to legend Martin Luther, on that day in 1517, hung the Ninety-five Theses (questions he wanted the church to discuss) on the door of Castle church in Wittenberg. It started a lot more than a discussion. When Lightning Struck: The Story of Martin Luther will help teens learn something of this important man and the incredible times in which he lived.

The Queen’s Smuggler continues the story of the Protestant Reformation. It’s a thrilling novel that gives a glimpse of William Tyndale and his commitment to translate the Bible into English, making the Bible’s truths more available to common folk. Though the novel is short and recommended for 8- to 12-year-olds, we think Tyndale’s violent death may be too upsetting for younger readers. Upper elementary children and teens though, may find themselves awed and inspired by the story.

 

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue are her most recent works. These novels are mysteries for kids, ages 10 to 13.

Publishers from time to time release new Bible storybooks and other materials for understanding and enjoying the Bible. At Books 4 Christian Kids we recently looked at a new release. We decided to pass on it.

I didn’t like having to do that. I know you, our readers, like to know about Bible storybooks and other biblical resources and acquire them–especially for your little ones. That’s when I realized that I had never made a list of books that we can recommend. So here it is and with links to reviews. (I haven’t made a list of holiday books yet. I’ll get on that. In the meantime, know that you can find reviews of holiday books if use the drop down menu to your left.)

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women

Amazing Tales and Strange Stories of the Bible

Bible Story Search

Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids

Kregel Pictorial Guide to the Story of the Bible

Little Visits. . . (a devotional series)

Look and Find Bible: New Testament Stories

Mix and Match Bible Stories

The Picture Bible

Read Aloud Bible Stories

Tiny Bear’s Bible

Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers

 

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue are her most recent works. These novels are mysteries for kids, ages 10 to 13.

 

Today I am remembering 9/11. I remember the horror and the fear. But more than that, I remember the grace of God and the bravery and the self-sacrifice of the men and women who became involved, challenged despair and overcame evil.

At Books 4 Christian Kids we’ve looked at two books that speak to the bravery of one individual and his dog that day–Thunder Dog (for teens and adults) and Running with Roselle (for children).

None of us face the challenges of a 9/11 each day, but every day we all face small and big challenges. We need to do the right thing and we need to be brave even when we are scared. We think these books will be encouraging.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue are her most recent works. These novels are mysteries for kids, ages 10 to 13.

Bullying is currently a concern of many kids and parents. Whether there is more of it occurring than in previous generations or whether more of it is being reported, it is hard to say. But I think what can be said is that kids and often even adults don’t know what to do when it happens or how to overcome the damage. Mean Girl Makeover, a series of three novels, takes up the topic of bullying. The author is Nancy Rue and the publisher Thomas Nelson (2014, 2015).

Each novel is told in first person and from a different character’s point of view. The first novel, So Not Okay, is told from the perspective of a bystander. Tori initially watches as Kylie and her friends, a group of popular girls at their middle school, make Ginger, a new girl, the object of rejection and public ridicule. Tori surprises herself and horrifies her friends when she offers that Ginger can be a member of their science group. The girls stumble into their science project question: why are some people mean?

With the help of Lydia, an adult, the girls research bullying and eventually create an anti-bullying code. As the bullying escalates and spreads to them, Tori and her friends put into practice some of the strategies Lydia has taught them. The book honestly shows the fears, risks and missteps, as well as successes, that may occur when a bystander decides to not just stand by.

In the next book, You Can’t Sit with Us, the story continues but from Ginger’s point of view. Ginger unwisely reveals some sensitive information about herself to Kylie and Kylie’s posse. The posse threaten to make the information public if Ginger maintains her friendship with Tori and the other girls, and if she tells anyone about their threat.

Because Ginger’s test scores show that she is outstanding in reading, she is selected for a special English project. Ginger gets along with her study partner, Colin. After some time he reveals that he was bullied when he was younger. This subplot gives the reader some insight into how bullying may affect boys. The posse take their bullying outside of school to the Internet and even to Ginger’s home. Lydia meets with Ginger on a regular basis helping her to overcome her false self-image and to develop some resistance to being bullied.

The third book, Sorry, I’m Not Sorry, is told from the point of view of the main bully. The novel picks up the story as Kylie, two of her crew and their parents meet with the school principal. These girls were expelled for their bullying. To get back into school in the fall, they must do community service. Kylie is told that she will be permanently expelled if she cannot demonstrate an attitude change. Regular meetings with Lydia are set up to determine whether Kylie will change. Kylie experiences Internet bullying herself.

Working with Lydia, Kylie recognizes that she does have a problem. Volunteering as an assistant in the dance section of a summer arts program helps Kylie see herself and others differently.

The novels are good stories that will engage pre-teens and middle schoolers. Readers will keep reading to find out how the kids will handle the bullying, if it will stop and whether a bully can change. I think they will see themselves in the characters and be fascinated and encouraged with the anti-bullying strategies. These strategies are well woven into the stories and do not come off as preachy.

According to Amazon.com the age range is 9-12, but I have some reservations about that. I think the intensity of some of the bullying (school work ruined, cyber bullying, being locked in a locker) may be too much information for a nine-year-old. Instead parents might consider reading the novels and teaching their younger children how to apply the anti-bullying strategies. Also I think girls older than twelve could still relate to the characters and gain practical helps from the suggested strategies.

Though a middle school is the setting for two of the books, bullying can take place in a variety of settings, so I think home-schoolers would also benefit from reading the novels.

I usually think it is unnecessary to read a series of novels. It can be fun, but not necessary. In the case of these novels though, I think it is necessary. Written from the different viewpoints, the three novels together give a more complete picture of the subject. At first I didn’t like being in Kylie’s point of view in the third, but as I was taken deeper into her life, I developed compassion for her. As I experienced her change, my hopes rose for all bullies.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue are her most recent works. These novels are mysteries for kids, ages 10 to 13.

I can’t believe it!!! I received a catalog in the mail that was hawking Halloween stuff. Outrageous! Don’t give in to it. Live in the now! Summer is still here. There’s still time to go camping (if only in your backyard), sip lemonade, ride bikes and daydream summer dreams. And there is still time for summer adventures.

Think of it. You and the kids could go to Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? or you could have them choose their own sea adventure: Journey under the Sea? or visit a small town in the woods of the Sierra Nevada: The City Bear’s Adventures? or solve mysteries with Libby and her friends in Edinburgh, Scotland: I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue ?

Those are just a few suggestions. We have others. Here’s a some more. (Titles are linked to our reviews.) Enjoy now! And take THAT, all of those who would steal today!

The Avion My Uncle Flew
Chancey of Maury River
Cheaper by the Dozen
Escape from Warsaw
Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition
Horse to Love, A
In Grandma’s Attic
The Incredible Journey
Jungle Doctor Meets a Lion
Little Lord Fauntleroy

McKenna
Meet Josephina
Meet Kaya
Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West 
Nick Newton Is Not a Genius 
Pollyanna
Running with Roselle
Sarah, Plain and Tall
Scout
Secret Garden, The
The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets
The Trumpet of the Swan

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

And while you are at it, maybe you would like an adventure–that is, after the kids are in bed. (Or maybe you could read your book sitting next to them while they are reading theirs. It’s a good thing for them to see you reading–so say some studies.) Take a look at the list for College Age/Working Person. Ah, an adventure in England! Ah, the American West! Hawaii, anyone?

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) You can learn more about her and her books at www.nancyellenhird.com .

For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

To help you and the kids celebrate the Fourth of July and all year, we offer these suggestions for your home library.

American Dream: The New World, Colonial Times, and Hints of Revolution (about Books 1 & 2)

American Dream: The New World, Colonial Times, and Hints of Revolution (about Books 3 & 4)

 The Children’s Book of America

Sacagawea: Girl of the Shining Mountains

We the People: The Story of Our Constitution

If you look for these books on Amazon, be sure to include the author’s name in your search. Titles are not subject to copywrite and so you will often find several books with the same title. Also Amazon, to the dismay of those of us who did graduate work in librarianship, does not always list books with the conventions of alphabetizing in mind.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest work is We All Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. It is the second book in the series that began with I Get a Clue. You can learn more about her and her books at www.nancyellenhird.com .

 

Looking for a beach read, a plane read or a commuter train on- your-way-to-work read? Looking for a read that will invite you to an adventure or a romance? A read that will take you to a new world? or a different time? and with interesting people? One of the following books may be just what you want. The titles come from the books we have recommended for the College Age/Working Adult. They represent a variety of genres: historical fiction, contemporary romance, nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, biblical fiction. And we have more titles to suggest. Use the Select Category drop down menu at your left to see other books we recommend.

Boys in the Boat, The

Christy

The City of Tranquil Light

God’s Smuggler

Longing

Lost Castle, The

Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge

Oxygen

Pearl in the Sand

Peculiar Treasures

Shaken

Sophie’s Heart

Sushi for One?

With Every Letter

Zookeeper’s Wife, The

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest work for children is We All Get a Clue, the second book in the–from My Edinburgh Files series, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

Donna: What first inspired you to write?

Camy: I’ve always loved reading, and my parents really encouraged me in my reading because both of them read a lot–my mom likes contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and suspense, and my dad likes science fiction and urban fantasy. One day, after reading a fantasy novel, I suddenly felt a burning desire to write my own fantasy book and I started work on it. I haven’t stopped creating stories in my head since.

Donna: How many novels have you written and in what genres?

Camy: I’ve written 27 novels in contemporary romance, romantic suspense, cozy mystery, and Regency romance.

Donna: What do you draw on to create such realistic settings and characters?

Camy: Honestly, I think God gives me my story ideas. He definitely has His own opinion about what issues He wants me to write about.

Sometimes He speaks by an idea that forms in my head, other times He speaks through friends who mention things to me. Sometimes I feel like He wants me to write from my own experience, sometimes I feel like He’s asking me to write about someone else’s experience.

I also try to keep things in prayer as I’m in the formulating-my-characters-and-storyline phase, so that He has His finger in everything.

Donna: Sushi for One? is the first in a series of books. How do the stories interconnect?

Camy: My Sushi Series is humorous contemporary romance about four cousins, and each book is about the love story of one of the cousins. Here’s the series blurb:

Four cousins commiserate about their single status—Lex the Jock, Trish the Flirt, Venus the Cactus, and Jennifer the Oddball. The only Christians in their large extended family, they vow to fight the stigma of the infamous family title, Oldest Single Female Cousin. But they have very different ideas about not acting as desperate as they feel about their bleak love lives. Who knew God would have His own plans of true love for each of them?

Donna: What do you hope readers will take away after enjoying one of your books?

Camy: That no matter where you are, who you are, and where you’ve been, Jesus loves you deeply and is with you. You are not alone.

Donna: What plans do you have for the future of your writing career?

Camy: Right now, I’m working on two projects–the second book in my Lady Wynwood series (Regency romance, published under the pen name Camille Elliot) and also a new humorous contemporary romance series set in Hawaii. I’m also working to get my books translated into Japanese. Then the missionaries in Japan who are supported by my church can give them away to nonbelievers. There is hardly any Christian fiction in Japanese, and I’d like God to use my books to introduce Japanese women to Christ.

Thanks!

Donna: Thank you, Camy.

Donna Fujimoto’s children love to read. She is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. Her collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge  is available as an e-book at Amazon. 

 

Book Reviews

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 99 other followers

Search Posts by Categories