Friday, April 12, 2013

Rating: 4/5
Unglued Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst
201 pages
Barnes and Noble (9.98 paperback, 8.99 Nook)

"Turst in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

      My sister-in-law was the first person to introduce me to Lysa Terkeurst's new book, Unglued: Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions around Christmas time.  At first I wasn't sure if this book would be of any help towards me, but then realized, after reading a couple of chapters, that sometimes we all need a bite in the butt to be more who God wants us to be.  I thought I could just write a review about this devotional, but a lot of what comes out of the devotioinal is from her original book.  I found that if I wanted a quick reminder of the book, I would look through the devotional.
   For me, I decided to read the book and the devotional at the same time; kind of comparing the two as I read.

As I read a realized that you won't need the original book at all to get the most out of this book; in fact, if you just want a devotional with the same about of information, this book would be great for you. 

The summary of the book is simple: 
  • Watch what you say
  • Find out why you acted the way you did
  • Don't do it again.
This devotional is about finding yourself and opening yourself up to the struggles you are faced with and learning how to be stronger in your own skin and your walk with Christ.

I review for BookSneeze®

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hear His Voice

Rating: 5/5 stars
The Voice: New Testament
At Barnes and Noble: Hardcover ($22.98) eBook ($21.99)

"The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists.  The goal is to create the finest Bible products to help believers experience the joy and wonder of God's revelation"

Sometimes, as a Christian, it's hard to step out of the norm you are used to when reading the Bible.  I like to read my NIV Bible because it still captures the beauty of the language (sometimes making it hard to understand), but I'm able to, maybe after reading it a couple of times, to fully understand the Word of God.  I'm no expert at interpreting the Bible.  I don't know many people who say they are.  I do, however, know God works through each and every one of us, and the authors of The Voice kept the beauty of God's word, but translated in a way that any reader could understand. 

     What I enjoyed most about reading The Voice is that is took the Word of God and made it relatable to our society we live in, just like a Pastor would do during a sermon. 

Here is a snippet from Romans 12:1 from The Voice:
     "1. Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God's mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship"

Now, here is the same verse from the NIV version:
     "1.Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice-alive, holy, and pleasing to God-which is your reasonable service."

    As you can see, the meaning is still the same, but the wording is different.  On the bottom of this page, there is commentary about the first two verses in Romans 12 in The Voice which is definitely helpful in interpreting the text.

   Though this post seems a little scattered brain, the message is simple.  If you like different interpretations, either for your entertainment or for dissecting the Bible, then The Voice is something to have on the shelf!

I review for BookSneeze®

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Heaven is for Real

Rating:  5/5

 "I heard a loud voice from the throne.  The voice said, "Now God's home is with men.  He will live with them, and they will be his people.  God himself will be with them and will be their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain.  All the old ways are gone."
-Revelation 21:3-4

 Heaven is for Real  by Todd Burpo is an inspiring story about a boy, Colton, who spent some time with God in heaven.  Based on a true story, Heaven is for Real touches my heart.  I am currently reading the chapter book, which helped my family get through a rough time in our lives.  I'm excited to see a picture book come from this story because it is filled with scripture and descriptions from the time Colton was in heaven.  

I would recommend this for any Christian home wanting to give their children a true insight about what heaven will be like.  It's hard, as a child, to picture something so peaceful and perfect; however, there is a place, and through God, everything is possible.  There are always going to be people out there thinking this book is made-up, but to me, it honestly doesn't matter.  Each page and story is backed up by scripture from God's word, and his word is the truth. 

This is my, personal, review!  eBook was provided by Booksneeze


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What questions would you ask?

I found myself nodding, agreeing, and intrigued by the conversations I was having with God, Jesus, and many disciples from the Bible.  Okay, I really wasn’t talking to God himself, in the flesh, but I was building my relationship with Him through the holy spirit.  Ford does a fantastic job in making the Bile come alive.  All “conversations” are based off of scriptures from the Bible.

I tend to get distracted with devotionals; however, the chapters were shorts, to the point and enjoyable to reflect upon.

The table of contents help when wanting to read a certain subject, which allows readers to return when needed. 

A great prayer starter
A great way to set goals
A great book for daily devotional

You read it once, but I promise, you’ll need to return to it.   Women, come on, we might get an answer, but will always need to ask it at least twice to be convinced.

For non-Christians:
If you ever had questions regarding the Christian faith, or even confused in your own Christians believed, this is a great book to pick up and read.

For men:
Don’t worry, there is abook for you too!  Check it out!  If you read or have read it, let me know how it is!

I review for BookSneeze®

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chinese Moon Festival

Being a Middle School Language Arts Teacher and Librarian in a multicultural school gives me the opportunity to read books I might not have picked up for myself.    Today, I read a picture book titled Lin Yi’s Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe.  

Book Cover

If you aren’t familiar, the Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar moon.  As a full moon rises, families come together and celebrate by sharing stories, having reunions with loved ones, and eating!  In Lin Yi’s Lantern, Williams and Lacombe capture the traditions and colors of the Moon Festival.  On his search for the perfect foods and desserts, Lin Yi travels to the local market hoping to have enough money to bargain for a red rabbit lantern.   After passing through the, lucky, moon gate bridge, his hope of having enough to buy the red rabbit lantern grew stronger.  Through bargaining and determination, Lin Yi was unable to purchase a red rabbit lantern; however, to his dismay, his luck didn’t run out. 

Rating: 4/5

     I lost attention while reading; however, the colorful illustrations and pages rich with culture immersed me completely, obtaining my attention. 

Teachers & Parents:
      This book is a great introduction to the Chinese Moon Festival.  The back of the book has The Legend of the Moon Fairy, as told by Uncle Hui (character in the story), how to make a Chinese lantern (which I made successfully), and some information about the market life in China. 

      It is filled with learning opportunities any age would enjoy!  Although I teach middle school students, I am able to see the joy in students faces when I use picture books to teach a subject.  No matter the age, picture books can be used to teach various topics. 

If I were to use this book on an instructional level, I would:  

1.   Dive into the history of the Chinese Moon Festival.  Using some of the information on the back to enhance any information I could find on the internet. 
2.  After students understood the importance of the Moon Festival to the Chinese culture, I would then have them make a lantern (really easy).
3.  Read Lin Yi’s: A Moon Festival Tale.
4.  Discuss book.
5.  Make moon pies (  Or, bring in some to share with the class.
6.  Possibly show a video of a Chinese Moon Festival celebration while eating the moon pies.

If you have any other ideas, please comment below!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What if a Stone Could Change the World?

Stone Soup

Retold and illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Age Range: 4 to 8
Scholastic, Inc. 2003 (32 pp, $17.99, hardcover)

Rating 5/5

image from
Generosity is powerful.

Three monks wonder along hazy mountains of China.  “What makes one happy?” each of them wonder.  On their journey to discover the answer to the question, Hok, Lok, and Siew encounter anxious villagers.  The villagers have been through troubled times and are wary when it comes to strangers.  The three monks cleverly allure them to make soup from stones.  But, will the villagers find happiness through stones and a brave, curious, little girl? 

Stone Soup is another classic in my eyes.   Stone Soup is listed for children ages 4 to 8.  Again, I do not believe it is necessary to put an age limit to beautiful books with deeper meanings.  Muth takes his own view on the original Stone Soup and creates a beautifully written and illustrated rendition through his love of Zen Buddhism and Eastern culture.  The deeper meaning, being that generosity makes people rich, is reflected throughout the entire story through dialogue and illustrations.  The part I like most about this book is that one little girl starts the giving and makes a difference.  Through the actions of one little girl, the villagers then see how giving can create a feeling of happiness and love for the whole village.

I recommend this book to teachers and parents who want to teach their students or children how generosity can make a difference.  Anyone can make a difference, start with this book!

  1.   In a classroom, teachers can create a classroom jar.  In this jar, student’s can place something important about themselves.  This then, can project a class as a whole.  
  2.  In a classroom, teachers can create a classroom jar.  In this jar, students create a word or phrase that reflects the classroom environment they would want.  Questions:  Do you want respect from other classmates?  Should you feel safe in our classroom?  How should we act in a classroom? 
  3.  In a classroom, teachers can create a classroom jar.  In this jar, students put a word or phrase that describes them.

* These ideas would help create a better classroom environment.  When students create something, like their own expectations, they feel more obligated to follow rules and expectations.

1.       At home, families can create a jar with different goals of that month.  Each family member can create a goal a month that will help their family.  Examples:  Talk out problems instead of arguing, play nice with my brother or sister, complete all chores, make bed, clean dishes, dust, finish homework before watching TV, etc…

* I realize these ideas stray from the original meaning of the book.  However, they all reflect a group of people coming together making a better place and environment to live in.*

Monday, February 21, 2011

From a Child's Heart to a Mother's Soul

The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn
Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak
Age Range: 4 to 8
Tanglewood Press IN, 2006 (32 pp, $12.95, paperback)

Rating 5/5

image from

Audrey Penn’s simple, but powerful text would touch anyone’s heart.  A young raccoon, who is having doubts about the first day of school, decides he would much rather stay home with his mother.  Unfortunately, staying home is usually not an option and Mrs. Raccoon shares a “wonderful secret” to help him feel safe while at school.  A simple kiss on a hand and a touch on a cheek is all that takes for this young Raccoon, Chester, to take a leap into his first journey alone.

Although this book is listed for children ages 4 to 8, I believe any person who has a child within themselves would appreciate the warm feeling you get after reading The Kissing Hand.  The illustrations are simple.  To some, that might affect how a child reacts to a book however, the purpose of the book and the illustrations match flawlessly.  The simplest action, like kissing a hand, can have the everlasting feeling of comfort and love.  Through this secret and heartwarming reassurance, Penn captures the doubt in a child’s mind and the heartache of mothers letting go for the first time.

I highly recommend this book to parents who want to reassure their children, and even themselves, the love that will always be with them even away from home.  The Kissing Hand would be an excellent classic to add to a library in any home or classroom.

Reviewed by Breanna Constable

Some activities, for primary grades, would be to:
1.  Read the book.
2.  Have each child trace their hand, and color (or paint) their hand according to their personality.
3.  Have each child cut out a heart and paste it in the middle.
4.  On the back of their drawn, colored, cut out hand, have each child write what the hand means to them and why they are giving the hand to that specific loved one.  I suggest giving the option of making 1 or 2.

*I believe, through this activity, you learn a lot about the kids and even their families.  Who are they making their card for?  What colors are they using?  Are they drawing pictures?  What does this hand mean to them?* If anyone has any other ideas, I would love to learn from you.