Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I have said it before - LOVE Aldo Zelnick!! This screams "boys" and I cheer whole-heartedly when I see a wonderful series that boys will enjoy!!! If you've missed it before - the Aldo Zelnick series is a comic novel series based on the alphabet. It is geared to our kids ages 7-13 and it is just the right size for our readers that may be daunted by larger chapter books. It follows the adventures of 10 year old, Aldo Zelnick, and this particular installment, Cahoots, focuses on the family summer vacation spent visiting relatives on a small farm in Minnesota. Yep, Aldo still hates physical activity but loves bacon - he hasn't changed a bit!! I love how new vocabulary is introduced in these books - they sneak it right in and kids just read it and never know they are learning excellent vocabulary words at the same time!! You will laugh out loud - I guarantee it - the books are THAT funny. AND it is reminiscent of the Wimpy Kid series format so I really can not say it enough - this will be a hit with those readers. Watch in the fall for the next title, Dumbstruck!

*I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Magdalena - Through Her Eyes

When I was sent this DVD, Magdalena - Through Her Eyes, I will admit, I was skeptical. The whole idea was marvelous, but how in the world would they splice together parts of the Jesus Film with recently-done footage to make this new movie?? Well, I was pleasantly surprised - they did it and it is really seamlessly done! I love how the movie is interwoven with the Jesus Film - what a great idea. I thought the movie was also a wonderful movie to watch with your girlfriends, which is also the point! Women do struggle with knowing they are loved by God - I think that is a common theme amongst women all over the world. This movie does a fabulous job of showing women how valuable they are in God's eyes and how their worth is based on what He did for them on the cross. Mary Magdalene tells her story first-hand - it is moving and it really makes you feel like you were there with Mary as she joined with His band of disciples as they followed Jesus in His earthly ministry. I think women all over will enjoy this and feel it resonate within them. To learn more about this project - visit Magdalena Today.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on m blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is My Kid Stupid??

Nzingha West's book, Is My Kid Stupid?? Avoiding an Educational Disaster was a timely read for me. We are trudging through IEP's and wondering what our rights are as parents of a child with different educational needs. I appreciated West's information from the educational and legal end of advocating for our kids. She has a lot of experience - you can tell that from her book - and she fills you with many things to think about and options that you might consider navigating through the special ed/IEP/504 Plans arenas. I appreciate her honesty and frankness - she tells it like it is and lets you know when you may be in over your head!

It is an easy read - short and to the point. I found it valuable and the resources listed in the back are also a great place to start on this special ed highway!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Horse Specials

In honor of Marguerite Henry's birthday - there are two Horse Unit Studies that are marked down!! Go check them out!!

Horses - 4 week study - 25% off this week
Handsome Horses - 1 week study - 25% off this week

Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

Virginia Hamilton - Author Extraordinaire!

Virginia Hamilton is truly one of the best!! Her work has been popular for years and continues to touch young readers and adults alike. When I was asked to showcase her work - I was honored. She is truly one of "the greats"!!

To celebrate her life and National Library Week - here are some great offerings!

VIDEO: A Library’s Shaping of Virginia Hamilton
This brand new video in honor of National Library Week features Hamilton’s husband, poet Arnold Adoff, in their Yellow Springs Community Library reflecting on the tremendous impact the public library had on Virginia as a child, which ultimately lead to her powerful brand of storytelling that helped define the lives of generations of African Americans. You can find this video, as well as more information on Hamilton and her ebooks, at

ARTICLE: “Sentinels in Long Still Rows
Originally published in the American Libraries 1999 June/July issue, Hamilton recalls getting her inspiration from a children’s librarian bearing books of many sizes and hues. A library stack rover at an early age, she eagerly anticipated the arrival of her town’s “Story Lady” at her school, and acknowledges the importance of libraries in contributing to the process of “never letting us forget who we are, for their worth stands by the knowledge they keep and save for us.”

I also have EXCITING news!! Just because you are reading my blog - you can win an ebook copy of Hamilton's book, M.C. Higgins the Great! (This will be a free review copy via NetGalley.) If you would like to win this ebook copy - just leave a comment below - I'd love to hear if you've read any of Virginia Hamilton's books and what you thought!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sweet Moon Baby

You can tell that this author, Karen Henry Clark, has been through the adoption journey herself. Sweet Moon Baby is a wonderful adoption story. Clark bases this story on her journey to adopt her daughter. It takes the process of an adoption from China, and puts it in a fairytale or folk tale form. I think it is a wonderful way to approach talking to little ones about adoption - I would gear it for ages 3-5. You can certainly read it to older children - and I would encourage it - but older ones are going to necessitate more answers, I am sure, so be prepared as a parent. In the story, when the parents in China decide that they can not care for their little one, they place her in a basket and pray the moon will watch over her. It is told innocently, but I can see it creating those tough questions in our older children! However, it is a tender way to approach a topic that can be hard to discuss with our children - I thank Clark for coming up with such a wonderful tool for adoptive parents, or any parent for that matter. Patrice Barton, the illustrator, is fabulous! Her illustrations are tender and dreamy and lend that "fairytale" feel. They are perfect for this peaceful tale.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Lake of Dreams

Kim Edwards' latest novel, The Lake of Dreams, was very timely, I thought! It is set in Japan, for the first part of the novel and they were going through earthquakes - as I sat and watched the entire country of Japan overturned by an earthquake. SO I thought that part was interesting, but otherwise it just did not grab me like Memory Keeper's Daughter did. I was totally caught up in Memory Keeper's, but this one just did not keep me as interested.

I do think though that if geneology and family history interests you - you might truly enjoy this one. The story is interesting as it follows Lucy Jarrett and her family with her return from Japan to start uncovering her past. It takes her on a road that she could never imagine - and ultimately teaches her a lot about herself in the process. Although it may not have intrigued me as much, I'd love to know what you think if you read it! I am open to being swayed!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Beside Still Waters

I have read a lot of deeper reading lately and so Tricia Goyer's Beside Still Waters was a nice reprieve for me. I do enjoy stories about the Amish community - and this one was especially intriguing to me. It is the story of Marianna - she is 18 and ready to be engaged and baptized, when her family decides to move west. Along with their move, comes a new life Marianna didn't expect - and one which intrigues her. She begins to question many of the beliefs she was surrounded with in the Amish community and sees a life outside of many of those beliefs. Goyer is a great writer that evokes many emotions for me when I read her work. She paints a realistic picture that is believable and creates empathy with her readers. I would recommend this story - it is a good challenge for all of us - to really SEE and understand why we believe.

About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit for more info.

To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers.

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life:

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

If you would like to read what others have to say about Tricia's book - go HERE.

*I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

I Will Praise You

Rebecca St. James is back!!! And she is STRONG!! I am just loving her new worship album - I Will Praise You. It is upbeat and features many new worship songs - this is one that my girls are begging me to play over and over right now. The songs are catchy and encourage me to smile all day long! LOVE IT!! If you have not heard her album - the first since 2005 - then I encourage you to go get it! It is a strong album that challenges me spiritually and also makes me glad to be a Believer - we have SO much to be grateful for in our Savior!

AND HERE'S THE BEST PART!!! I have a copy to give away to you - one of my readers!! All you have to do to receive an entry is:

Leave a comment below.
Post about this giveaway on your blog. (Send me the link)
Tweet about this giveaway! (Leave the link in your comment.)
For each item that you do above - leave a separate comment!!

I will announce a winner on Tuesday, April 12!! (U.S. addresses only please)

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, April 01, 2011

Bringing Up Girls

So I've been given three boys - I've read Dr. James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys and I'm ready to tackle the world!! Then I receive a wonderful gift of two beautiful girls and desperately NEED Dr. Dobson to write a book for rearing daughters - and thankfully he heard my petition. Because Bringing Up Girls is just what I needed to read! As usual, Dr. Dobson addresses the issues with clarity and Godly wisdom. He uncovers topics such as:
  • Are girls really fundamentally different from boys? If so, should they be treated differently?
  • Whoever said that girls are “sugar and spice and everything nice” never met my teenager. What can I do?
  • My adolescent daughter seems to be on an emotional roller coaster. One minute she’s giddy with excitement; the next she’s moody and withdrawn. Is this normal?
  • As a mom, I so badly want to be “best friends” with my daughter. Why isn’t it working out the way I dreamed?
  • How does a dad’s role in his daughter’s life influence her character and decisions—including her eventual choice of a husband?
  • How can grandparents contribute to raising a healthy granddaughter?
  • What’s the best way to educate girls?
  • How are girls affected when their parents divorce?
  • What should we be doing to shape the next generation of women?
I highly recommend Dobson and his work - it is thorough and gives parents a solid, Biblical base to build on when making decisions and rearing their children. There are vast differences physically and physiologically between boys and girls and Dobson shows how this is true and how we can use that as we parent our children. The books read quickly and are written in such a way that you are encouraged to see what he will say next. I appreciate the insight and the challenge he provides us as parents.

*I was provided a copy for review purposes by Tyndale Publishers.

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