Lovely War

I stumbled upon this book in the library where I work. It was on the bottom shelf, but the pink cover caught my eye. I immediately checked it out to myself and put it on my desk… where it sat untouched for a few days. I realized there was no way that I would be able to read 464 pages, so I used an audible credit and bought the audio book. I am so glad I did! Jayne Entwhistle is a favorite narrator. She, along with the other narrators, knocked this book out of the park!

Hazel’s sole focus in life is to attend a music conservatory. James’ focus is to come back from WWI. Aubrey’s desire to to make a name for himself in the world of jazz. Colette has no where else to be. As these four unsuspecting mortals go through their day-to-day activities, they never suspect that the gods and goddesses have a hand in those very activities.

This story is told from the perspective of Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, and Hades. Each recounting their part in the love stories that unfold. Aphrodite, sitting in a hotel room in 1942, recounts a particular love-story she holds so dear. That love story begins in 1918.

This novel is detailed and the story so beautifully woven that I have a hard time not giving too many details away. Suffice it to say I was eager to find a student to check this book out! If you love a wonderfully written, slightly sad love story, then this book is for you!

Awesomeness:

-Hazel and Colette’s friendship is one to be admired.

-The writing style is delightful. The story is mostly told by Aphrodite but the males gods will speak throughout the novel as well. I have a whole new outlook on Hades.

-The historical notes section of the book is very detailed. For the audiobook, it was about 25 minutes and was read by the author. The research Julie did was outstanding!

Cautions:

-This is WWI and the race relations in the US are rough. There is a lot of negative attitudes and behaviors towards to African-American service men.

-This is a book set during two world wars. As you can imagine, the suffering and death rate is great. But nothing is written to an extreme or with excess graphics.

Winner Winner!!

Y’all, I WON A BOOK!!!!

I am super pumped to have won the first book in the Columba Diaries written by Jessica Glasner. You may remember I did a review over her Seabirds Trilogy last April. This next series picks up with Grace. (If you read the Seabirds Trilogy then you know Grace’s story left off on a serious cliff-hanger!) I’ll be back to tell you all about Saving Grace. But for now, I just wanted to brag!

Letter to My Child-the story of you

My goal is to write a letter to my little man every year for his birthday and then one day, when he is old enough, I’ll give them all to him. Unfortunately, I have not actually followed through with this idea… but there is still time!

In Letter to My Childthe story of you, Leanne DeLeeuw tells all children the things I want to tell my son: God made YOU! And He knew exactly what He was doing.

Leanne does such a great job of using simple language to tell children that they are special and God knows them. He created them on purpose for a purpose. Our children need to know this! I read this book aloud to little man with my husband present. When I was done, we both looked at each other and agreed that this book was really well done.

Using adorable illustrations and supporting Bible verses, this picture book is a must-have.

Blind Date with a Book

This January I started a new gig as a librarian assistant at a local junior high. The first big display I was able to do was one for Valentine’s Day. I have seen Pinterest posts about bookstores and public libraries doing Blind Date with a Book events so I decided that is what we should do too.

I had my library aides each pick a book, wrap it, and write a brief synopsis on the front.

The first morning the books were available, 8 of the 12 were checked out! I was ecstatic! I immediately begin wrapping more books.

Overall, we wrapped 39 books and all but 4 were checked out. The kids, mostly young ladies, were absolutely loving it. I had 4 girls fill out the “Rate your Date” card.

Overall, it was a blast and something that I plan to do in the future.

Creatively Teaching in the Home

If you’ve been around a bit, you know that in July 2018 I had my beautiful baby boy. As a teacher and lover of books, I started reading to him in the womb! Naturally, I continued reading to him once he was born. Sometimes I actually read aloud my books as a way to allow me to continue reading!

Now, as a sweet 2.5 year-old, he absolutely loves to read. A trip to the library is something to get excited about. (Of course, this bibliophile momma loves that!)

Lately, I have really begun to focus more on “teaching” him. We are working on our alphabet (with help from Leap Frog’s Letter Factory). While most of my “teaching” happens through reading, I want to be more purposeful with him. I began to think about our patterns and routines and discovered that we spend a lot of time in the bathroom. (Can you say potty training?!) Naturally we read more there and have many conversations. I realized that this room has become his classroom (along with the kitchen table). As such, I decided to tape some alphabet cards to his bathroom wall. This gives me a visual to work with both for him to see and to remind me to talk about the letters.

So, if you are starting to think about ways to be more purposeful in teaching your child their letters or numbers, think about an area of the house in which you spend a great deal of time and make that your classroom. You do have to be ok with your house, or at least portions of your house, looking like a pre-school classroom. To me, that’s ok! I welcome it.

What ways are you purposefully teaching your child(ren)?

Dred Scott v. Sandford: The beginning of the end for slavery in America

When my dear friend sent me this book and asked if I wanted to review it, I had to say yes! Not only because it is historical, which is my first love, but the author is 12- year old Judson A. Smith. TWELVE YEARS OLD!

In this picture book, Judson explains just why Dred Scott v. Sandford was a pivotal case in American history. He explains just what the Supreme Court does and why this case was so important. Using simple text and visually appealing art (which he did himself), Judson walks you through Dred Scott’s life and the decision that helped to expose the evils of slavery.

Awesomeness:

-Did I mention Judson is 12?!?

-Uses primary sources to support his text.

-Great as an introduction to this case. Would also be a great tool for ELL students.

Available on Amazon.

Amora

After the loss of their twelve-year-old daughter, Amora and Leo’s marriage crumbles. Once Amora accepts Christ, Leo becomes irate enough to denounce his wife and send her to the Colosseum.

Leo’s son, Esteban, finds himself alone and lost. Both men will experience hurt and pain beyond belief as they learn to truly accept Christ’s love and forgiveness. And, learn to forgive others.

I tend to forget about this time period in Christian history. As someone who has stood in the Colosseum, I could picture the scene as Christians were sent to their deaths. This book pulls on your heart strings and helps you to remember that no sin is too great for God’s forgiveness.

If you are a fan of Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series, then you will certainly enjoy this book.

Awesomeness:

-The relationships between the character’s are pretty realistic.

-The battle scenes and gladiator training are cool.

-The history at the back really helps to inform the reader.

-The characters grow in their understanding of forgiveness.

Cautions:

This book touches on several difficult topics such as the death of a child, martyrdom, marital discord, and verbal and physical abuse. None of the issues are written in unnecessary detail and they all add to the depth and complexity of the story.

Hope is a Dangerous Place

Kelsey and Harmonie are your average teenagers. They attend school, play sports, hangout on the weekends. They enter their sophomore year of high school full of plans and expectations; they could not have imagined the adventure they would embark on all because of one little journalism assignment.

Ms. Montez is new to town and has expectations of her own. As the new English and Journalism teacher, she is excited to grow the young minds that sit in her room. She decides to have her three young journalism students investigate the history of the town.

Kelsey and Harmonie eagerly jump into their new assignment. As they begin to dig deeper and deeper into the town’s history, they find themselves in danger… multiple times. What happened to the town’s namesake? Why are people so determined to leave the past in the past? Kelsey and Harmonie will found out even if it hurts them.

Awesomeness:

-Female lead characters
-Father/daughter relationship
-A teacher’s drive to make her students feel seen
-The desire to see God move in the people of the town

Cautions:

-Some language, overall minor
-Kelsey and Harmonie are locked in the library when it is set on fire
-The sheriff is crooked
-Death by gunshot

This is book 1 in Jim Baton’s Hope Trilogy. While some very dramatic things happen to our leading ladies, at the end, the townsfolk are beginning to see the need for change.

Will You be Friends with Me?

I recently watched Dr. Katherine Phillip’s Talks@Columbia talk entitled “Why Diversity Matters“. Toward the end of her talk, she challenged her audience to the following: the next time we meet someone new, do not focus on the similarities but the differences between us. She encourages us to celebrate our diversity.

In her book, Will You be Friends with Me, Kathleen Long Bostrom hits on this very idea. It does not matter the style or texture of our hair nor our preferences in art materials. It does not matter the foods we like or the way we consume them. All of these differences are worth noting and celebrating!

Bostrom’s book encourages children to notice the differences between themselves and their friends and celebrate those differences.

The timing of this book, quite frankly, is perfect. This is a great and safe way to talk to your children about differences. It is also a wonderful way to help our children see that differences are not bad, but worth celebrating. The realistic and adorable illustrations help to show what some differences may look like. The illustrations show children participating in fun activities that your child probably does as well.

I encourage you to pick up a copy now and help the children in your life do the very thing Dr. Phillips encourages us to do: note and celebrate our differences!

For more about the author please check out kathleenlongbostrom.com

Our World

Do you ever marvel at the curiosity of a toddler? They get big-eyed at everything. My son is into saying “wow” every time he discovers something new. Our World is a way to introduce your toddler to the WOWs of the world. This beautifully illustrated geographical book is a wonderful introduction to the different plants and animals our world has to offer.

The simple text helps your child understand just what is happening. The questions asked within the description allow you to engage your child in conversation and help them think about new places.

This book is not only filled with delightful information meant to teach children about the world, but it folds out into a globe! This book is sure to incite many “wows” and “aws” from your little ones. So grab a copy and jump on in to Our World!