Monday, August 24, 2009

the Creation story for children by Helen and David Haidle

There is a book written for children by Helen and David Haidle called the Creation story for children. This is a wonderful hardcover book that tells the story of Creation using Scripture from the King James Bible. The Scripture used comes from Genesis 1-2 and Psalms 139, focusing on God's creation.

On each page there is a Scripture given including reference verse along with writing that relates the Scripture back to the child's life in connection with the Creation story. This is a engaging way to really immerse a child in the true history of how the world was created, by our God. Mixed in with the story are questions that the child can be encouraged to answer so that it leads to better understanding of Scripture and what occurs in our lives. Children need more ideas to grab onto to retain new information and this book really offers a helping hand in the educational arena.

Beautifully illustrated, each page has it's own related picture that goes along with the Scripture and story told. This book does show Adam and Eve in the Garden alongside dinosaurs and woolly mammoths, and if you believe in the literal 6 day Creation this isn't a problem. My children enjoy learning that Adam and Eve walked among the dinosaurs as stated in Scripture. At the end of the book there is a section on God's "amazing creatures" like octopus, hummingbird, hedgehogs, velociraptors among others with information on the animals from a non-evolution viewpoint.

The very end of the book concludes with Psalm 139 telling children how they are made in a child friendly way and again beautifully illustrated. There are beautiful pictures of children enjoying life and some are shown in nature enjoying God's Creation. The most beautiful picture though is that of the baby in it's mother's womb for Psalm 139:13,15 - there is something that words cannot describe seeing an in utero baby - but it is done in a way a child will enjoy (no shock value, in other words).

With child friendly and engaging illustrations this will be a wonderful addition to any families personal library, it would also be a welcome addition to a church or school's library. This book would make a wonderful baby shower or new baby gift or even just for use in an educational way for schools, home school, or Sunday schools. This book will be treasured and enjoyed for many years to come. The Creation story for children is published by Master Books a division of New Leaf Publishing.

D is For Dinosaur: A Rhyme Book and More by Ken and Mally Ham

Are you looking for something to teach your children about Creation and Dinosaur but coming up short handed with all the evolution based 'stuff' out in the market today? In today's evolutionary and humanistic society our children are bombarded by non Biblical world views. I have a wonderful resource for parents and others who want to deliver Biblical truths about Creation and dinosaurs.
Master Books a division of New Leaf Publishing has published a wonderful resource written by Ken and Mally Ham titled D is For Dinosaur. The book is a three one resource for teaching young children (although my 7 year old also enjoyed it) more about Creation from a Biblical Creationist standpoint. The book is a three in one book that includes a wonderfully written ABC rhyme book, a coloring book, and a devotional/teaching book that can be used by Sunday Schools, Home School, Christian School or just by a parent who wants to add to their at home teaching after school hours.
The book measures 11 X 8 1/2 inches and is hard covered with 124 pages and there are beautifully illustrated pictures. The pictures are drawn with keeping the children's interest in mind while they listen to the story and learn the alphabet and Creation story as the story is read. Full of educational value this book will be treasured for years to come and even be passed down through the generations, creating a godly generation. The second part of the book is the coloring book which has images from the story that the children can color themselves. The story is retold along side the coloring pages. The third section, included beside the coloring pages (devotional/teaching guide) has notes to the parents or teachers (or in my case both) which gives ideas for deepening the educational use of the book. Student exercises are also included that can provide additional hands-on learning for the entire family. I think any Christian family regardless of denomination could use this book, especially those who believe in the young earth and Biblical Creation.

Religions of the Stars by Richard Abanes

I am usually not one to read stuff about celebrities but since Religions of the Stars by Richard Abanes had information about the different religions that are gaining a foot in Hollywood and movies today, I wanted to give it a chance. I received this book through the blogger review program through Bethany House Publishing. This book was a very informative and fast read, which I was happy with, educational and fast - what more could a busy mom want when reading a book?

From the Bethany House website: "You've probably heard that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist and Madonna follows the teachings of the Kabbalah. And you know that Oprah Winfrey is very spiritual. But what does it all mean? And more important, how does it affect you?

  • Why is Scientology such a controversial religion?
  • What does the Kabbalah teach?
  • Which faiths are embraced by Richard Gere, Marie Osmond, Ashton Kutcher, and many other celebrities?
  • How does Christianity line up with the popular religions of Hollywood?

Inside this book you'll find the answers to these questions and more. You'll also discover how today's Hollywood spirituality affects the movies and television programs you see, as well as how your children might be influenced by the way these religions are portrayed in the media. Richard Abanes--former Broadway performer and television/film actor--blends his knowledge of the entertainment industry and his expertise in the area of world religions and pop culture in this intriguing examination of the religious beliefs embraced by various Hollywood stars."

The glossy cover sort of makes the reader feel as if they have stepped into the glitz that is considered Hollywood and Richard Abanes being a former actor knows all about that. Mr. Abanes really did some great researching in writing this book. The information is well documented but yet put forth in a Christian way, in a way that lets you know the information is true and opens the reader to the Truth. Richard Abanes discusses Oprah's New Age religion, Scientology, Buddhism, Kabbalah and several others, pointing out what they believe and weighing it against God's True Word.

Presented in an easy, conversational manner makes this book enjoyable to read without burdening the reader with too much unnecessary information. Many Scriptures are given so that the reader can look up the verses on their own and make their own decisions about what Mr. Abanes writes about the religions discussed. Again, he does not judge or condemn any actors or actresses for their beliefs, he simply wants them and his readers to be educated about what those working in the entertainment business believes. He wants Christians to read this book and reach out to those in love and Truth and do what we've been commanded to do - reach the world with the Gospel of Christ.

Finding an Unseen God by Alicia Britt Chole

Finding an Unseen God by Alicia Britt Chole has a subtitle of Reflections of a Former Atheist so it might actually turn off a Christian from reading it but don't let the subtitle dissuade you - this book has something to offer even the most mature Christian. From Bethany House Publishing site:
" "I sincerely believed that there was no God," she says. "As a young Atheist, I simply considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy tales."

Then one day, without warning, Alicia's Atheistic worldview was shattered.

Creatively written, Finding an Unseen God opens a window into Alicia's surprising spiritual journey. With warmth, intellect, and compassion, Alicia invites us to carefully consider what we believe and do not believe, while she paints a vivid portrait of a God who relentlessly pursues even those who deny him."

The cover is actually what grabbed my attention at first and drew me to actually read the book. The fact that it's an unusual cover, made to look like a word search puzzle, intrigued me. Imagine my surprise when I opened the book and saw an actual word search puzzle that the reader can complete, with answers at the back of the book. The chapters are numbered in an interesting way as well, sort of like a cross word puzzle. This book is also a quick read, a bonus for me, I read it completely in one day. The book comes in at 176 pages and that includes the appendix and notes.

I enjoyed this book, the fact that the author admits to being an Atheist and then giving her life to Christ is a wonderful testimony to God's pursuing even the most resistant person. Alicia also gives ways to lovingly respond to an Atheist when discussing our beliefs with theirs, yes, she points Atheist's do have a belief system. Finding really helped me to understand an Atheist's frame of mind in why they deny an existence of God, also she made it clear that a Pagan is not the same thing as an Atheist. I recommend this for any Christian who enjoys reading awesome testimonies of the Lord's work or wants to know about how to respond to Atheists in a Christian manner.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Knight by Steven James

The Knight is the third in the Patrick Bowers Thriller series written by Steven James and published by Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group. I hadn't heard of Steven James before and must say it's disappointing that I haven't had the pleasure of reading his books before.
The Knight is a thriller and one that will keep you up at night, reading. If you like thrillers without all the cussing and lewd actions of the characters this is the book for you. There are detailed descriptions of the crime scenes that FBI agent Patrick Bowers investigates. As the criminal is tracked the reader can feel the thrill of the chase and the climaxing of the story.
We are drawn into Patrick's life as he struggles with raising his stepdaughter, Tess as well as having a dangerous career and having to protect her. I could feel his struggle as he tried to decided whether to continue with his job or staying home with Tess as she finds something out that makes her reevaluate everything she thought she knew to be true. The reader feels the anguish that Tess goes through and I got the feeling of wanting to reach through the book to comfort this girl.
It's been awhile since I have read this type of book in the thriller genre, but I am glad that I took advantage of participating in this tour because this book was well written with well developed characters. I even felt as if I knew the criminals in this book - but beware of the surprising and twisting end - and could somehow figure out how they 'ticked'. If you like thriller's and are looking for a Christian alternative to the usual cursing and lewd filled secular thriller's this will definitely fit the bill!

Available August 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Secret Keeper:The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh

I have been curious about Secret Keeper Girl since hearing about the group on the radio and I was given a copy of Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh who also started the above, Secret Keeper Girl group. It's all about teaching girls, starting at age 8, about Godly modesty and purity in an age appropriate manner.

The book is published by Moody Publishers and here is what I found at their website about this book. "With Victoria's Secret now targeting 18-24 year-olds with the PINK line, and Abercrombie & Fitch successfully selling clothing through a catalog available only to those 18 and over, the need for a clear voice on modesty has never been greater.
In this reformatted edition of Dannah Gresh's bestselling book on modesty, teen and twenty-something young women are given actual pictures and examples of modern clothing-a modesty fashion show, of sorts. Dannah's approach to explaining the critical nature of modesty is both cool and relevant. The photos will also show the girls how to take the "Truth or Bare Fashion Tests." In essence, this will provide concrete, "how-to" modest dressing skills. "

I liked the tiny size of the book, it's about the size of a slightly over sized greeting card and the fact that there are only 96 pages makes it a quick and engaging read. This book is not one for the 8 year old group and I probably wouldn't let my daughter read it when she's 12 either, it is geared for the older teen girls. My overall impression of the book was it was well written and well done. It is not from a dresses-only point of view, which is okay and even the "Truth or Bare Test" is good for families that allow pants or are dresses only.

I will issue a word of caution this book did contain images of a naked statue titled The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers and you can see a breast. According to Dannah Gresh the statue is modest even in her nakedness, because she tries to cover her most private parts and her downward gaze. While I don't see eye to eye on everything with the author, it's a good book that has a lot that girls can learn from today - especially in the times that we live in where girls are supposed to be wearing writing across their bottoms, skin tight shirts and exposing undergarments. The test has some great ideas for making sure your clothing would be acceptable to God. These are tests that even I do with my own and my children's clothing before I read this book. One test is raising your arms to make sure that your belly isn't exposed, bending over to make sure your underwear are covered, how to tell if your shirt is too low among others.

Overall, this book is one that more girls need to read before going to school or church, being modestly dressed - Dannah Gresh though makes sure also to emphasize that being modest isn't only about clothing, it's also an attitude. This would be something good for a teen group at a church to have on hand or even do a study on it, or just for a mom and daughter to do together.

Who Made the World? by Kathleen Long Bostrom

I received Who Made the World by Kathleen Long Bostrom through Tyndale's Blog Network and am very glad to have had the opportunity to review another book in the Little Blessings series. The books are illustrated by Elena Kucharik and published by Tyndale House.

These small, 5 3/4 X 7 1/4, hardcover books are a great addition to any Christian's home. Helping little ones ages 3 to 6 get answers that sometimes even adults have trouble answering, whether the trouble is that we don't actually know the answer or we're unsure as to how we need to word it for a child, this book helps. At 80 pages it's a quick read or it can be made into a mini Bible study using the Bible references at the back of the book and going, as age allows, into more depth about what the book teaches.

The illustrations and wonderfully done and engaging to children of any age. My children were constantly pointing out something new about a picture that I had missed. The illustrations shows children being active in the world around them and enjoying God's creations of animals, space and plants. The children are happy in the books and I noticed when reading this to a grumpy or tired child their disposition changed for the better - a more Godly attitude.

I do recommend this book for any family that wants to keep instilling Biblical truths in their children, as we are told to do through out the entire day. These books would be ideal for any Christian, regardless of denomination, just to simply answer children's questions. Church libraries, private school libraries would even benefit from these books, they would also make a wonderful Christmas, Easter, birthday or baby dedication gift as there is a illustrated "presented to" area in the front of the book.

Please visit Tyndale House Publishing for more information about purchasing this cute little book for a child in your life.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sometimes A Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner

Sometimes a Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner and published by Bethany House Publishers was another first me in regards to authors. I was very glad that I had the chance to review this book through Bethany House because it gave me a lot to think about and also clearly had God trying to shine through all the characters at some point.
The following is taken from the Bethany House Publishers website: "Ben Buckley has never gotten over the loss of his wife. More bewildering than the mystery surrounding her death is the radical change that occurred in her shortly beforehand--a "conversion," she had called it. Baffled, angry, and still feeling guilty for the way he'd withdrawn from her during those final weeks, Ben now lives behind the protective walls of severed relationships and rigid routines.
An unlikely young woman knocks on the door of his narrow world. Her simple honesty and childlike faith are incomprehensible to him, but in spite of his misgivings Ben finds himself on a journey he never would have begun on his own."
The one female lead character, we find out was home schooled - which for me, instantly made the book more in touch with my life. I could easily relate to the characters because they were well established and not some flat, one dimensional character. All the characters were well developed which lent even more credibility to the book and the author's work. When reading a book I like to 'know' the characters, even if I don't always agree with them. Ben Buckley's character, while the other characters were sometimes annoyed at his useless information, I liked it as I am also one who likes to gather what some consider 'useless' information. I felt pulled into the character's lives, such as one of Ben's daughters and wanting to yell at her to forgive her father, wanting to tell another one to give up her amateur crime detective work, and cheering on the young home school graduate.
When I first started reading the book it was a little hard to get into because the story takes awhile to pick up but I am glad that I stayed with it because the rest of the book well made up for the slow start. I enjoyed how the author weaved in people of God at just the right time as well as seeing some of the characters hearts soften - even if they don't yet recognize it's God working in them. It was a great way to incorporate a great book and then a reader can see and recognize how God is present in their lives right now - it could be something as small as providing a nice park ranger and tire guy when you have a flat with three of your children with you - but He is there with you and is always working some of His great Works. Regardless of the circumstances though, good or bad, this book definitely makes me want to keep my eyes open for even more of Him and praise Him for it when I recognize it. So grab this book and get reading, I can almost guarantee you'll like it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Is the Bible? by Kathleen Long Bostrom

What Is the Bible? by Kathleen Long Bostrom is a series in the Little Blessings
line of books published by Tyndale House Publishers. The book is illustrated by Elena Kucharik, who is known for her artistry work of the Care Bears.

Here is what the Tyndale House Publishers site says about the book: "Little Blessings question books help young children understand basic truths about the Christian life. Perfect for ages 3-6, What Is the Bible asks and answers questions about the Bible, such as: Who wrote the Bible, who is the Bible about, how do you read the Bible? Parents can use this book as a fun tool to answer questions their little ones may have about God’s Word."

This is a beautiful, hardcover book that any child would love to be read from. There is a very cute presented to page to begin the book, perfect for a baby dedication, new baby, baby shower, or any number of events in a young child's life. The illustrations appear to be water colored and get and keep a child's attention. With young children and animals as the focus of the illustrations it makes it more applicable to a child's life as they can see other children, like them, enjoying learning about the Bible.

At the end of the story the Scripture references are given for each answer given in the book. I could not see anything unBiblical or Scriptural about the book and all three of my children enjoyed the book and the colorful illustrations. What Is the Bible? is a great way to answer children's questions in a way that children will understand and relate too. I would recommend this book to any parent who wants to help their child learn more about the Bible on their level.

King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? by James R. White

The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? by James R. White goes into detail about the different translations of the Bible and the historical facts behind the King James Only and the modern translations such as NASB, NIV and ESV. This book is answering those who believe that using the KJV is the only Bible to use and any other person who uses another translation is heretical.

James R. White is the author of several other books including The God Who Justifies and The Forgotten Trinity. He is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, he is an accomplished debater and elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.

As a person who enjoys her KJV Bible, I know that my way isn't the only way - Christ is, so that is why I choose to receive this book from Bethany House Publishers through their blogger review program. This was a very heavy read, one that took some time to digest as one reads it's pages. Full of historical documents and history of the Bible from the beginning of it's being found one must read through the book keeping in mind the different texts that eventually made up the Bible that we know today, whether it's the NIV, KJV or any other translation. It was hard for me to keep track of which texts were which as I continued to read, which slowed my reading down considerably.

I thought this book has a lot of merit though and the reader can tell hours of research went into writing this book, which adds credibility to the work. Mr. White goes through a lot of trouble to explain how the different translations were written along with the history behind each. He also gives side by side examples of the Scripture of both the KJV and another version. That made it easy to see what the differences were that Mr. White was explaining in each chapter. I do recommend this book for those who are KJV only proponents, pastors of churches or just the regular lay person who wants to know more about the historical and Scriptural background of our Holy Bible.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser

Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser didn't appear to be much of a book when I first started it but I was pleasantly surprised. Bethany House has again published another great book by another accomplished author. Having never read Mrs. Musser's books before I know I will be returning for more of her books when I get a chance.

We begin being introduced to Lissa Randall who has had a lot of tragedy in her life, while she excelled in academics a tragic accident that took her mother's life sets her back. She needs to drive again but even after eighteen months she finds she can't do it until she gets referred to Ev Mcallister's driving school. The story is set in Tennessee amongst Lookout Mountain with a full cast of characters.

At first the full range of characters scared me, I am not one who likes a lot of characters in the books I read. So I was worried I would forget who was who when I really got involved in the story and have to begin flipping back and forth to remember who they were. Fortunately, Elizabeth Musser made it easy to remember what each character's role was in the book - no forgetting or flipping back and forth. All the characters well well rounded and well developed, something I appreciate, I don't care for flat, undeveloped characters. Mrs. Musser did a wonderful job in really making the characters have life and making the reader feel like they know them.

The book moves well and there are a few surprises along the way, which are weaved into the story at appropriate times. A story of forgiveness and love even while the character may not feel loved or forgiven. There is talk of suicide so if that is a sensitive subject for a reader I would want to warn you about that, but even if it is a subject that is near to your heart (I know it is too mine) it is a wonderful book. It almost felt as if Elizabeth Musser knows me, knows my heart, especially towards the end of the book. This is simply a great book with a lot of potential and I recommend you curl up with it and savor it until the end.