Saturday, August 29, 2015

Overraded: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?

Overraded: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?   *****
by Eugene Cho

Overview: A real, honest approach to how we should serve Jesus and love justice and not just "do good things to look good."
 Themes: Christian ministry, justice issues, church planting, spiritual growth, self-examination, sacrificial service
Positive elements: Good food for thought...this is a book to read slowly and pray through.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed reading about Pastor Cho and his family's journey through sacrificial giving. I felt like I knew him and went through the highs and lows of  his ministry and seeking to follow Jesus. This was a very encouraging book also. He challenges us to follow in his example of laying aside our wealth and comfort to help the least of these around us and around the world. And he does a great job of making it clear that ultimately what matters isn't just "doing good" but following after Jesus. We each need to pray that Jesus will show us how we can lay down our lives for others....and that he will give us the ability to obey.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince    *****
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Richard Howard

I heard about this classic story and was excited to read it to my girls. However, I was disappointed to find that the story was a bit boring for them. In the story, a pilot crashes in the desert and meets a boy from another planet. The two talk and form a friendship. I did enjoy some of the deeper meaning behind the story but my girls, aged 9 and younger, didn't get the full meaning.

The story was originally written in French in 1943 and since then translated a few times. I read the newest translation from 2000. I later read some reviews that said a lot of the poetry was lost in the most recent translation. So, maybe when the girls are a bit older, we will try reading it again in the original English translation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An American Army of Two *****
by Janet Greeson   

An American Army of Two is a great story about two sisters who help keep  the British away during the American Revolution . They always spot the British  ships from a lighthouse. The two sisters practice playing a drum and fife. They play the drum and fife because those are the instruments that sounded like the ink anotAmerican army. (The American Army was only a couple farmers in the r astory.) Isn't amazing how instruments and music are like swords that can fight a huge army?! 

I loved the story! I think other kids should read it.

By Summer Staples, age 9     

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You...Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together

You Read to Me,  I'll Read to You...Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together *****
By Mary Ann Hoberman

We stumbled across this book at the library. It is a collection fairy tales written for two people to read back and forth, like a short play. The stories are creative, funny and written in rhyme. My nine year old and seven year old have been reading them together and performing the stories as plays. They almost have a few stories memorized. There favorite story is Cinderella with one part for Cinderella and the other part the step-sisters. Because the stories rhyme, they are easy to memorize. Such a fun book!

It looks like there are a few other books in this series that we are going to check out, too! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Two Girls in Sister Dresses

Two Girls in Sister Dresses
by Jean Van Leeuwen

Overview: Two Girls in Sister Dresses is a sweet story of two sisters. The two sisters fight a lot in the first part, but the ending is sweet. The story reminds me of me and my sisters, especialy when they talk in bed at the end of the story. 

By Summer Staples, age 9

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Honey for a Child's Heart

Honey for a Child's Heart
by Gladys Hunt

Someone recommended this wonderful book to me recently. This resource is full of great books to read, and they are organized by age and topic. For example, they have a chapter on books for new readers. I've loved that chapter because sometimes it is hard to find interesting books that my first grader can read. There are chapters on themes including fantasy, historical, holiday, animal lover, etc. They also divide up books by age: 4-8, 9-12, 12-14. 

Many of the books I review on this blog come from recommendations from this book. I highly recommend it!

The White Mountains

The White Mountains  *****
by John Christopher

Overview: The world has been taken over by huge, metal tripods. They control the humans by implanting metal "caps" on their heads. A few humans have resisted. This is the story of three middle school aged boys who try to escape the tripods before they are "capped."
Themes: friendship, freedom, adventure
Positive elements: The story does a great exploring what it means to be a friend and how hard a threesome of friends can be. The boys also realize what a prize freedom is. Freedom is greater than a comfortable life with easy living.
Negative elements: The story has a lot of holes surrounding the tripods. We never understand the tripods, and they do things it seems they shouldn't. The story read like it was too hastily put together and not thought out. However, the author says in his Preface (at the beginning of the book) that the tripods are supposed to be mysterious.   
Conclusion: I loved how the three boys interacted throughout the story. The author did such a great job capturing what it would have been like to be on such an adventure. The story was quickly paced and kept me wanting to read. However, I gave the book three stars because the ending was so disappointing. He just ended the book at the peak of the suspense. It felt like he got tired of writing, but the book wasn't even very long! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Road to Reality

The Road to Reality *****
by K.P. Yohannan

Overview: A challenge to the church in America to look at our lives and assess if we are truly following Jesus or if we are living a wealthy, American version of Christianity where we chase comfort more than knowing and serving Jesus.

This is a book that you have to read slowly and with much prayer. Yohannan is asking us to prayerfully consider how we are living and compare it to how Jesus lived. And he is encouraging the church in America to use our resources not to make our lives more comfortable but to help fund the spread the gospel to the places where Jesus is unknown. 

I like how practical the book is. For example, Yohannan talks about small ways to simplify your life and give more to world missions. I also enjoyed how positive the book is. Even though the state of Christians in America is appalling in so many ways, he is able to stay positive. I feel like his message is not to guilt people into living differently but to challenge them to pray and let God do the convicting and change people's hearts.

This book isn't easy to read because it is so convicting, but it is a book we all should read.

50 People Every Christian Should Know

50 People Every Christian Should Know
by Warren W. Wiersbe

Overview: This book is a collection of short biographies of Christians throughout history.

I have been searching for good biographies of Christians to read to my girls. I love how these are short, usually four or five pages, and well-written. There are enough details to get whet the appetite if you find someone whom you'd like to research more. I have read about some people I never knew anything about. It is mostly men in the collection, but there are a few women that the girls have enjoyed learning about. I hope to slowly make our way through the whole book.


Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances
by Rachel Anne Ridge

Overview: A family in Texas finds an abandoned donkey on their property. They adopt this seemingly worthless donkey and discover he actually has a lot to offer. 

Each chapter of the book tells a story about Flash, the donkey, and ends with some take away nugget of truth. The author is sharing all the things that God taught her during a hard season of life through this donkey. The book is so funny and so encouraging. I enjoyed reading a chapter a day and letting the different truths shared sink in. This was an overall well-written,creative and wonderful book!