Saturday, July 31, 2010

Little Bee

Chris Cleave has written a book that will make you think - and think again. Little Bee is POWERFUL! This is a story that horrified me but attracted me at the same time. The circumstances are raw but the reality of humanity is fresh.
This is what the book jacket says:
"This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there..."

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Heart and the Bottle

Oliver Jeffers' The Heart and the Bottle is a children's book that I feel is really for adults - I read this book, re-read this book, and even read it a third time. It's message is amazing - it is subtle and yet so profound. I am sharing it with so many of the parents here at our library, but yet putting it in kids' hands too.

My favorite line: "...the girl thought the best thing was to put her heart in a safe place. Just for the time being. So, she put it in a bottle and hung it around her neck. And that seemed to fix first." It resonates - isn't that what we all think? Just keep our hearts safe - protect them?? But we can't love that way - and that is what this little girl learns as well. I tear up every time I read it - it is one I will NEVER be able to read in story hour, in fact, my girls know that when I try to read this one out loud, I cry every time. But share it with your little ones AND your old ones - it is WONDERFUL!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


How could you not love a book that has as it's subtitle - "How to still be fabulous when you're broke"???? I love it, and it piqued my interest. Michelle McKinney Hammond has written, Divanomics. Hammond, a self-proclaimed DIVA (Divine Inspiration for Victorious Attitude), shares what she has learned about her own spending, wants, desires, and needs.

Michelle had it all - fame AND fortune - but what she shares is that it didn't last long for her and she was forced to change her lifestyle. I love it that she UNDERSTANDS - she's BEEN THERE - and she has learned how to look good on a tight budget. She starts right off by saying she is no Suze Orman, but she has learned a thing or two along the way. She gives you principles and ways to get your budget under control AND still have some of the "fun things" in life. It all starts with giving back, as she says, "...when you share what you have with others (with no ulterior motives), no matter how little it may appear to be, it will increase before your eyes."

I love it that she bases her whole premise on the fact that God comes first - it's Him we are trying to please - after that, we can make our purchasing decisions and decide what is necessary and what is not. She gives practical tips for shopping for things from food to houses and covers other issues like weeding through what you have and making some money off of that! It really is a worthwhile read - one that makes you think and maybe re-evaluate where you are with your finances.

**I was provided a copy of the book by the Tyndale Network for review purposes.

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

The Voice

I appreciate a different "take" sometimes when reading the Bible, so I was excited to try The Voice. Sometimes it feels like you've read certain passages so many times that they lose their "freshness" - I have SO enjoyed reading The Voice - it brings a new enjoyment and even some new insights I hadn't maybe seen before.

"The Voice™ is the product of the best minds in this emerging generation of Christian leaders. Together they are helping young people fall in love with the Scriptures. Instead of confining God’s Word in the framework of biblical criticism, The Voice™ highlights the beauty of God’s communication to His people. In The Voice™, the voice of God is heard as clearly as when He first revealed His truth. This is the first-ever complete New Testament in The Voice™ translation. Writers include Chris Seay, Lauren Winner, Brian McLaren, Greg Garrett, David B. Capes, and others."

To me, this Bible feels like I am just chatting with a friend - I read it and it is a welcome voice. It is a translation that I really want my teenage sons to read - it will be great for their daily Bible reading and I think they will appreciate the ease with which it reads.

This translation is available in flexible cloth/leather editions as well as a designer cloth edition - another thing that helps to make it such a great gift idea! Visit Their Website to learn more about the project - Hear the Voice. (Oh yes, you can even download the Book of John for free right now!) I highly recommend this translation to add to your "Bible" library - it will add a freshness to your study and/or your daily reading.

I am excited about the new edition as well with Psalms and Proverbs included - make sure and check this out!

**I was provided a copy for review from Book Sneeze.
I review for BookSneeze

Wild Soccer Bunch

I am excited to tell my "younger sports readers" about a new series I was introduced to. The Wild Soccer Bunch by Joachim Masannek is a fun ride for kids that enjoy soccer. Masannek was a soccer coach, himself, so he knows the thrills that can go along with kids' soccer teams. I know my younger readers will enjoy this new series - even the girls - because Masannek has purposely incorporated girls on his team as well! Fun books - AND a fun website to go along - visit WildSoccer and learn more.

*I was furnished a copy for review purposes by Impress Media.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DK Box of Goodies

When I get a box of titles to review from DK - I am just over-the-top-excited!! (Yes, all copies were provided as review copies from DK.) So imagine all these goodies in one box!! These are great titles and I want to make sure you do not miss them!!

Nature Explorer - this is PACKED with wonderful ideas for nature: rocks, birds, insects, weather - you name it!! There are experiments and activities in here that will provide HOURS of fun and learning. (Ages 8-14)

I'm a Scientist - Kitchen - Another great experiment book all based on things you can do in the kitchen, to teach science - LOVE it!! Geared to ages 4-7 so our young set can experiment as well. Who wouldn't want to build with uncooked spaghetti noodles and giant marshmallows!?!?!?

Who's In Charge? - This is an interesting look at politics - from ancient Greece to modern governments - this book covers it all. It is full of great pictures that DK is known for, and fun factoids throughout the book. Geared to ages 7-12 but I know even older readers will enjoy this one!

The Little Brainwaves Investigate...ANIMALS - This is what I TRULY love about DK. Amazing up-close photography and tons of great asides that make learning fun! This one will NOT disappoint!! Geared to ages 5-10 - great information in here on a variety of animals - young and old alike!!

The Big Idea Science Book - I would say this is the GURU book of Science - to say it is comprehensive would be an understatement!! WOW - a HUGE book of science all linked to a website that has 200 specially created digital links that give readers hands-on, interactive learning. (Ages 8-17 - and older, I say!!)

Lastly, two books in the same One Million Things Series - Space and Human Body - both amazing visual guides that again, will NOT disappoint learners, young and old alike. The pictures, alone, are worth looking through the book, but the information given is presented in such a great format - kids will WANT to pick these up! (Ages 8-17)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's On Your Nightstand?

I love these monthly posts that 5 Minutes for Books does - What's on Your Nightstand? - is a time to list what we "have on our nightstand" - or, in other words, our current or upcoming reading!! So here is my list:

* Linger - Wolves of Mercy Falls book 2 - I did, surprisingly, enjoy book one so now am starting book 2!!

* A Praying Life - I just LOVE this book - so much so that I am reading just a chapter a night to savor it and let it really work on me!! Great, challenging read.

* Bringing Up Girls - my next "nightly" read. I so enjoyed his title on boys that I am excited to get started on this one as well!

* 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed - this is another book that has SO much in it, that I am savoring it slowly. It is powerful and has just the words I need to hear right now.

* Lucky Girl - next fiction book on my nightstand - Can't wait to start this one - I have heard amazing things about it!

* Sacred Influence - I have only read 4 chapters in this one and find it to be another book that I honestly can't wait to read. Thomas' words are "right on" and challenging to me. I know this sounds like a mantra - but another that I am savoring slowly to get the most out of it!

Join us this month - I'd love to know "What's on Your Nightstand" as well!!

Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher by Amy Husband is a title I was sent by Source Books to review on my blog. I opened the package and started reading and laughed right out loud! This is SUPERB!! How many kids are apprehensive about the first day of school?? How many kids would LOVE to write their teacher a letter and explain why they will not be there the first day of school?? It just cracked me up - we've all thought of it - but Husband brought it to life with her fun illustrations and witty humor. This one will keep you laughing - yes, one I am DEFINITELY showing to all my reluctant readers as well!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Amazing Math Projects You Can Build Yourself

Nomad Press has a wonderful educational resource department. Their books focus on different parts of history, science, math and link them all to hands-on projects - such a great idea and so fun for the classroom! I was sent a copy of Amazing Math Projects You Can Build Yourself by Laszlo C. Bardos to review on the blog. I was just so impressed - it is easy for the younger reader to explore on his/her own and yet has experiments and ideas that will intrigue even the older learner. This ought to tell you something - Math is NOT my thing - never has been and I daresay, never will!! BUT, after reading through this fun book - I am tempted to try some of these - just to broaden my horizons and delve into the math arena!! What a great resource and MANY more that are available on their website as well!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somay Gowda had a theme that touched right where I am as an adoptive mom. This story was told from a birthmom's perspective, an adoptive mom's perspective, AND an adoptive daughter's perspective. The stories run together and form one complete life journey. It provided great culture and insights on India, as well as many insights into adoption. It was well-written and kept me going all the way to the end - I highly recommend it - whether you've adopted or not - there is something in this one for everyone.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Word After Word After Word

Patricia MacLachlan has done it again! That is about all I would have to say and then close my post, but I'll continue just so that you TRULY make time to read it!! Word After Word After Word is in one word, DELIGHTFUL!! This story is not just for our young readers - this is one that you can read to teens AND adults - it focuses on writing and writing skills - so if that is your audience - you've got a whole writing curriculum right here! Told from the perspective of a group of 4th Graders - you get the inside scoop when Ms. Mirabel, a famous author, comes to share her thoughts on writing. Just don't miss this one - it is truly for ALL ages and so worth the quick read!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beatrice and Virgil

I just finished this book, but, although I thoroughly enjoy Martel's writing, I was not as excited about this novel as I was Life of Pi. SO, I asked my husband to give his viewpoint, as he was "over the top" on this one!! He highly recommends it and thinks it would be a great book talk book as well. Here is what he says:
If you liked Life of Pi I would argue that most would like Yann Martel's new
book Beatrice and Virgil. I have always found Martel's work to be compelling, thought provoking and engaging. Maybe its my analytical, philosophical mind but Yann is able to observe the world and describe it in a way that is just "off" enough to really get you thinking. In the opening pages of his book there is a dialogue between Beatrice and Virgil. They discuss a pear. How would you describe a pear to someone who has
never seen or eaten a pear? It is this "slowing down" and observation of the "common" in life that makes me like him so much.

The topic of the book was also presented in a way that caught my attention as well. I am not one who often reads literature about the Holocaust. While the events that transpired are horrendous and the human suffering was unimaginable I find the stories to have a common theme. Nazi occupation and aggression followed by racism and hatred which leads to incarceration, suffering and death. I have seen and read about the atrocities that were done and the same image of grey, dark, emaciated
bodies fill my mind.

Beatrice and Virgil led me down a path of looking at the Holocaust with new eyes. To see it from a perspective and angle that sharpened and focused the tragedy in a different way.

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