Friday, May 26, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 5) by Carole P. Roman & illustrated by Mateya Arkova [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  It was refreshing to see a book on ancient civilization in Africa and specifically the country of Mali. In the 1300s life in Mali was different from that of today. There was a successful  and wealthy ruler benefiting the country.

As with most cultures during the 1300s, children age 11 or 12 took on cares of the adult world. They were apprenticed, girls were given in marriage, and their childhood was ended. Sadly, this is something that remains unchanged in some cultures even today.

The girl in the book is instructed in what life would be like for her if she had lived in the Ancient Empire of Mali in Africa. Illustrated in the same hues as the landscape of the region, the pictures take on a rosy, sandstone coloration indicative of the area and touched with the vivid colors that the people of Mali like to incorporate into their clothes.

This book is instructive and interesting in that so little is know of this region and period of history in the annuls of Western Civilization. I think it quite enlightening and educational to read and would encourage the use of this small book as a starting point for further research. The end pages of the book, as with other "If You Were Me and Lived in...." books, include important personages and a wonderful glossary.

I encourage the incorporation of this volume into library collections for children and I highly encourage families of African-American heritage to get a copy for their own children's libraries.

About the book: Join Carole P. Roman as she travels back in time to visit the exciting Ancient Empire of Mali in Africa during the 1300s. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the past to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land and its rich history through the eyes of a youngster like you. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair time traveler.
Congratulations to Carole P. Roman! IF YOU WERE ME & LIVED IN THE ANCIENT MALI EMPIRE is a WINNER in the 2017 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS. Check it out - click here. Other Carole P. Roman books either won or were finalists including: Can A Princess Be A Firefighter, One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day, If You Were Me &  Lived in Germany (Winner), If You Were Me & Lived On Mars, & If You Were Me & Lived in Israel.

GIVEAWAY

3 winners chosen to receive 1 copy each
Begins May 26
Ends June 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review of my own opinions. I was not compensated. Winner's copy is provided directly to the winner by the author.

Friday, May 19, 2017

True to You by Becky Wade Contemporary Romance from Bethany House Publishers A Bradford Sisters Romance #1 [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: I do look forward to reading Becky Wade's delightful books. Usually they are very light hearted, chock-full of sweet romance, clean reads, Christian, and contemporary. Seeing the cover of True to You really caught my attention because the young lady whose image adorns the book is so lovely and has a sweetness about her gentle look. And on top of that, the dress in the picture is very, very much like one I wore in the late 1950s to one of my bridal showers.

When I began reading I realized that the lovely lady on the cover as the book's heroine, Nora Bradford, is from a "monied" family who owns a historic village and who loves books, words, times of long ago, genteel living, and multisyllabic word conversations. She is also a lady with a quirky sense of humour oft times being the brunt of the funny stuff herself.

But there is a depth to this story that takes wading into its many pages to realize. Not only is it one of discovered romance and getting-to-know you occasions, it is one of finding out that there are life situations that are not all roses and bright sunny days, happy occasions, and sweetness. It is finding your depth of understanding and digging deep into yourself to see if you're the stuff of which a quality and lasting relationship can be made.

As usual, I found Becky Wade's book enjoyable and light hearted but I also discovered that she can write about depths of humanity and pen the story with skill and expertise. I thoroughly enjoyed True to You. (Caution: if "Christian fiction" readers don't want to have hugs, kisses, and longing in their stories even though they are handled with grace and beauty, you shouldn't pursue reading the book.)

About the book: After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora's help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

From the book.......

...the past might be challenging and the future might be sure. And that's okay. The present is all we're given, anyway. When we get to the future, God will be there. He'll supply whatever we need for each day."

GIVEAWAY

Begins May 11
ENDS May 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author: Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at www.beckywade.com.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publiciuty group on behalf of Bethany House Publishing and the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy will be sent directly to the winner from Litfuse or the publisher.

If You Were Me and Lived On...Mars by Carole P. Roman & illustrated by Mateya Arkova [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781540869722
My thoughts:  Former educator Carole P. Roman launched a new career several years ago when she began writing the Captain No Beard stories to entertain her grandchildren. She branched out with her series of cultural books in the If You Were Me an Lived in.... (name of country). Now branching out into the world of science she ventures into what it would be like for people to travel to and establish a community on Earth's nearest planet, Mars.

Written in easy-to-understand format that can be understood by preschoolers when it is read aloud to them and later for early elementary children to read themselves. The imagined community has entire families living there. She imagines, as scientists do as well, that they can grow crops in soil comprised of a mixture of Earth soil mixed with Martian soil.  The lack of breathable air, drinkable water, and unlivable air pressure is addressed so the reader will understand why they would have to live in a structure that creates (or imports) air, water, and other life sustaining elements.

The moons of Mars, location and appearance of the Sun, their cycles and length of year and day is also part of the narrative. Truly Ms. Roman has packed quite a lot of information about our neighbor, Mars, in this little book and written in such a manner that children won't realize they are learning.

About the book: Join Carole P. Roman when she blasts off to colonize the planet Mars, in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about how life would be living on the Red Planet. Travel to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Look into the sky and watch Phobos and Deimos, Mars' two moons. Discover what you would wear, and how the seasons change. See Mars through the eyes of an adventurous youngster like you and understand what life is like in a trip of a lifetime. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair traveler.

GIVEAWAY

3 winners chosen to receive 1 copy each
Begins May 19
Ends June 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review of my own opinions. I was not compensated. Winner's copy is provided directly to the winner by the author.

The Frightening Philippi Jail (Faith that God Built Series) by Gary Bower & Illustrated by Barbara Chotiner

My thoughts:    There are three books, to date, in the "Faith that God Built" book series. I have reviewed two others and found them entertaining, enlightening, and educational with true to Scripture "telling."

The story of the Philippian Jailer can be a bit scary to young children. With Paul and Silas being locked up in a dark, frightenting jail is a bit hard on young imaginations. Gary Bower lets the reader into that Frightening Philippi Jail where bugs, slugs, an other creepy crawlies abound in the cold and dark. But he tells about it in an imagination and mind-grabbing use of rhymes with rhythm and cadence akin to the "This Is the House that Jack Built" nursery rhyme.

So tuck in your funny bone and get ready for a fun yet frightening, repetive rhyming, re-telling in text and wonderful illustrations about Paul and Silas in the Philippi Jail.

Gary Bower's fabulous use of rhyme coupled with his sense of humor and splashed across the pages with Barbara Chotiner's grandly appropriate illustrations makes the reader (obviously this time it is the 'Grandma-GG' reader) want to read the book again and again. I recommend each of the "Faith that God Built Books" for libraries and homes.
About the book: The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower uses the same whimsical style of storytelling as The House that Jack Built, using rhyme to introduce preschoolers through second graders to favorite Bible stories. Gary has a well-developed talent for creating engaging narratives that also teach biblical truths through rhyme. In The Frightening Philippi Jail, Paul and Silas praise the Lord in a difficult and unfair situation.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt (A Faith that God Built Book) by Gary Bower & illustrated by Barbara Chotiner

My thoughts: Most folks who enjoy the rollicking rhyme of the folk story in verse or rhyme "This Is the House that Jack Built" want to pass the joy of the chant, song, rhyme, repetition for which this nursery rhyme is famous. Now if you love that, you will absolutely love Gary Bower's new set of Biblical rhymes in the same style and cadence as the House that Jack Built. I previously reviewed A Patch on the Peak of Ararat (A Faith that God Built Book) and enjoyed it so very much that I looked forward to more from Mr. Bower.

And I am again so very pleased. The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt just rolls along and it builds with excitement as Moses and the Israelites cross the Red Sea and the Egyptians get swamped by the water. And as I read it I could feel the "hurry-up exit from Egypt" building with perhaps a touch of what those Israelites felt as they exited Egypt.

But this is intended as a children's picture book with story in rhyme. That is just what it is. And this retelling of God's faithful protection of Moses and the Israelites as they left Egypt is presented on a level for the child that portrays excitement, adventure, and awe. The illustrations are bold and beautifully done. The text is full of words that will capture the child's attention - fun words and yet they don't detract from the truth of this Bible story (short excerpts below)
feet that were frantic and fleet
Israelites thrown in a fit, panicking, scampering, lickety-split  
an eye-popping sight 
water heaped high on the left and the right
This series is true to Scripture with reference to the whole story in Exodus 12-14 plus a petinent Bible verse. I recommend this series as fun ways to learn about Bible stories.

About the book: The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower uses the same whimsical style of storytelling as The House that Jack Built, using rhyme to introduce preschoolers through second graders to favorite Bible stories. Gary has a well-developed talent for creating engaging narratives that also teach biblical truth through rhyme.

The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt takes readers along as Moses leads God’s people out of slavery in Egypt and toward the Promised Land.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Pub. to facilitate a review. These are my own opinions and I was not compensated.

My Lift-the-Flap Bible Stories By Thomas Nelson

My thoughts:  The world of "board books" for young children is evolving into a more substantial story book that encompasses a broader age spectrum. Obviously board books will hold up better in the hands of the young child and obviously lifting-the-flag is a means of engaging and capturing a young child's attention. And this My Lift-the-Flap Bible Stories is just that - a board book with a variety of flaps for the child to peek under.

The book also has more story or text than the typical board book. This is great because young children can and should be taught to sit for longer readings at an early age. So this book encompasses that broader spectrum of ages - the young listener and the later young reader. The Bible stories span the entire Bible with key stories for the child. The flaps reveal another part of the story - kind of a before and after scenario. And under the title of each story is the Scriptural reference so you can actually read the entire story straight from the Bible. Great for family devotions when an older child or an adult reads the Biblical text while the young child lifts the appropriate flaps.

I highly recommend this for homes with children.

About the book:  With more than 30 lift the flaps that move the story along and charming artwork, My Lift-the-Flap Bible Stories will delight little ones as they learn favorite Bible stories.

Young families looking for a way to engage their little ones with the Bible will love My Lift-the-Flap Bible Stories. Unique from other lift-the-flap books, each flap reveals the next part of the Bible story to keep the story moving. Search for Jonah falling into the belly of the whale, watch Jesus perform miracles, and welcome an angel waiting in the tomb by lifting the flaps to see the story revealed. Sweet art and easy-to-understand retellings of favorite Bible stories will delight parents and little ones alike. Teach your little ones about the stories of the Bible in fun, delightful ways through the My Lift-the-Flap Bible Stories!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Review Program on behalf of Tommy Nelson a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women's Suffrage by Claire Rudolf Murphy & illustrated by Stacey Schuett

My thoughts:  The author has taken a real girl and a real family who interacted with Susan B Anthony and were involved in the campaign for women to receive the privilege to vote - women's suffrage. The story revolves around an event in California.

Today when girls and women are allowed to vote, work at careers of their own choosing, and participate in activities once frown upon or forbidden, it is hard to imagine an America where women could not be active and could not vote. It has not been that long since women's lives were so vastly different.


While Marching with Aunt Susan is the fictionalization of an actual family interacting with Susan B. Anthony and their involvement in the suffrage campaign, it brings out the history of the time and the need for societal changes. And while eventually the country did pass laws allowing women to vote and making it unlawful for children to work long hours and not attend school, women were still "kept in their place" by much of society. The author has done a good job of presenting this period of history in a format that will appeal to young elementary age students. This book would be a good addition to school libraries.


About the book:  All Bessie wants is to go hiking with her father and brothers. But it s 1896 and girls don t get to hike. They can t vote either, which Bessie discovers when Susan B. Anthony comes to town to help lead the campaign for women s suffrage. Inspired by the great woman, Bessie becomes involved in the movement and discovers that hiking is only one of the many things that women and girls aren't allowed to do. But small efforts can result in small changes and maybe even big ones.


DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.