This film is the story of the first black student to attend an all white seminary during the civil unrest of the 1960’s. It is based on a true story. Sorry, but I just couldn’t connect with this film. I soon fell asleep. There was a lot of dialogue at the beginning and I missed something because I just couldn’t get involved in the story. This may be an excellent movie to watch when you aren’t in the mood for fun and entertainment and a lighthearted evening.
Having a home economics background causes me to be drawn to books about the economics of the home. This books gives some very good suggestions for taming that grocery bill. Now, some of the ideas were things I could do and some would be things I just could not imagine. For instance, freezing milk so you don’t have to go shopping so often is not my cup of tea. I really think it changes milk for the worse. On the other hand, the pancake recipe is wonderful. Give that a whirl. It is entertaining to read how frugal you can be when you want to or have to. There are places that can be trimmed and yet our lifestyle is not changed for the worse.
Fish by Gregory Mone
I can’t think of a pirate adventure book that I have ever read, so this would be a first. I loved the story and it was kid friendly despite the fact the pirates aren’t very law abiding citizens! The main character is called Fish because he is such a good swimmer. He comes from a very poor family in Ireland and ends up getting a job in the city to help his family out. The job as a messenger eventually leads him to meeting pirates who take him on their ship. He discovers that his ship captain is really on a treasure seeking mission and Fish has some abilities which can help him. Yes, there is fighting and mayhem. Fish decides to learn how to non-fight so he doesn’t have to hurt anyone. He rescues a boy who is forced to walk the plank and he is loyal to his word. There is no swearing in the book although the pirates are very creative in their name calling. A sense of humor and fantasy are the upper notes of this book. I could see this book being a wonderful Disney animated musical movie. Enjoy the adventure!
Radiance by Alyson Noel
This books starts with the main character, 12- year old Riley Bloom, dying in a car crash and discovering she is in the after life. She is given the task of becoming a soul catcher and going back to earth when the after life powers realize that Riley just wants to go back to earth. A soul catcher is like an after life ghost buster. She is given the task of persuading a young ghost in the castle to give up the haunting and leave the earth for his after life.
I don’t usually like after life stories because they paint a picture of the after life that is so empty compared to my belief in a heaven and eternal life. So, that being said, this book moved rather quickly into another genre which is a ghost story. This book is part of a new series and the next book is called Shimmer featuring spunky and sassy Riley. This series is a spin off of another series calledThe Immortals. This book would be a cautionary read for some kids who would be frightened by ghosts or disturbed by after life stories.
The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone
This book is historical fiction during World War II and the setting is a seaside home in Maine. Felicity is from England but is left with her uncle, grandmother, and aunt when her parents tell her they are not able to care for her because of their jobs. The household is full of quirky characters but Felicity is curious and tries to uncover some answers. There is a mysterious person who won’t come out of his room, coded letters coming from her parents which her uncle receives and tells who nothing about them and lots of other secrets. Felicity is 12 years old and starting to grow up. She has her first crush, begins to give up some of her childish things like her teddy bear, and learns the truth about her family.
This is a gentle story and shows a girl growing up and leaving her childhood innocence and facing her life as a teenager. The romance is very slight and appropriate for upper elementary. The historical notes are really fascinating about the secret codes which are in the book.
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
Wendy Mass has written another great book. The Candymakers reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factorycombined with a Food Network candy making competition and the spy girl from I‘d Tell You I love But Then I’d Have to Kill You. The story starts with four children winning the chance to be in a competition to make the next greatest candy. The book is divided up into four parts at the beginning where we read the story from each person’s perspective. There is a great mystery, some spying, and some growing up going on in this book. Be aware that you will need to have to candy nearby as you read about chocolate, taffy, and other goodies. Excellent read for younger readers who are reading advanced reading levels. Great read aloud as well.
I just love the book Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin. I was excited to see how she crafted her early chapter book about chickens and a detective dog. I have to admit that I just couldn’t get attached to the story. The writing was clever yet I wondered if young students would understand the humor. There is a lot of dialog and snappy sentences. This book may the kind of book that works best as a read aloud.
Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia turns 17 and attends her matching ceremony where she will be introduced to her ideal mate. The setting is in the future in a utopian world where everything is planned so that life is long, healthy, and free from problems. The “Officials” give people few if any choices and that includes your future mate. Cassia is matched with her best childhood friend and is pleased with her selection. Another face appears on her selection screen for a moment and suddenly Ky begins to cross her path. She begins to fall in love with him and then begins to question the society she lives in where everything is determined for you. This book is the first of a planned trilogy and you will find that the conclusion leaves you waiting to read book two.
This book is written for young adults and would be appropriate for middle school students as well. Girls will be drawn to this book as the cover is very feminine and the main character is a girl who is thinking of her future marriage and mate. The love interest is mild and a few kissing scenes are in the book.
4 out of 4 stars
The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews
This is a nonfiction picture book for lower elementary children. It’s the story of how four men caused each other to help change the world through the ability to produce more food. It starts with Norman Borlaug, from Iowa, who created super seeds which grow more food for the world. He was hired to do this by Henry Wallace, Vice President of the United States. George Washington Carver was the man who taught Henry Wallace about plants as a young boy. Moses Carter rescued George as a little boy from kidnappers. Later, he adopted him. These four men show us how our actions can affect others and cause a big change in the world.
I loved the illustrations and the wonderful message of how our small actions may be part of something big. I did have some trouble keeping the story straight in my mind. I wonder if starting with Moses Carter and going forward would have helped me instead of going backwards in history. This book would be a great way for kids to practice comprehension skills as they learn to take information and process it so they understand it. I wish there was more information about Norman Borlaug and his seeds. Sounds like some good future research to extend the book. I recommend this book. Thomas Nelson has provided me with an advanced reading copy of this book.
Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers – Christian Fiction – Mothers and Daughters – Family
This is the best book I have read in a long time. It starts around the 1900’s and tells the story of a young woman, Marta,who lives in Switzerland and who has an abusive father and a loving mother. Her mother encourages her to leave and find her own life. Eventually she goes to Canada and starts her own boarding house. She meets her husband in her boarding house and they continue to make a life as farmers in Canada and then in California. She raises four children during this time. Her daughter Hildemara continues the story in the second half of the book where you read about the struggles that mother and daughter face in their relationship. Francine Rivers wrote this book loosely based on her own mother and grandmother. I found the history, the relationships, and the story line very compelling. The sequel is coming out Fall of 2010 and I am anxious to read the conclusion. Highly recommend!
A Bigger Life by Annette Smith – Christian Fiction – Marriage – Divorce – Cancer
This is another book I couldn’t put down. The story is told from the male point of view. Joel is a young father who tells the story of his broken marriage how he came to this place. He struggles parenting as a single father, and longs for a marriage that is restored and whole. The story is about forgiveness, love, family, and compassion. Thumbs up.
A Crooked Path by Annette Smith – Christian Fiction – Mexican Immigrant – Ranching – Texas
This book is set in Texas but starts out in Mexico with a young boy who faces the problem of his father leaving his mother and brothers and sisters. He struggles at an early age to provide for them. Eventually he sneaks into Texas in order to secure a better job to help his family. He always puts them first and continues to send them most of his income. Later at about the age fo 39, he has overcome the extreme poverty that he has known as a child but continues to work hard. He faces prejudice and judgement as an Mexican American in many instances. The story takes us to a job where he is working for a opinionated and cranky rancher who is ill and who needs him to eventually care for his personal needs. The father and son relationship is soon evident as they become closer. An unusual romance is also part of the plot. A very good read and I think men would enjoy this story as well as women.
Sometimes Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner – Christian Fiction – Widower – Family
This is not a romance but a life experience journey where Ben Buckley learns about caring for his neglected family and realizes that God is important in his life and can create change. Ben’s wife is murdered and he draws apart from his young family. He creates a profitable business and hides in his work and planned and orderly days. A young woman that he hires for his store becomes the change agent as he looks at her life and finds hope and spiritual renewal for himself. Turner’s books are quiet and reflective but somehow tell a story of life. Very good.
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy – Ireland – Heart Clinic – Romance
Set in Ireland, this book revolves around a new Heart Clinic but many stories are told about love and life of the staff, clients, and others who are connected. Other characters from her other books come back in the storyline as well. This book makes me want to go back and find more of Binchy’s books.