A Father’s Broken Heart: 8-Year-Old Gracie & The Save A Soul Prayer Team Book 1 by Paula-Rose ~ Review

A Father's Broken Heart pic

A Father’s Broken Heart: 8-Year-Old Gracie & the Save A Soul Prayer Team Book 1 by Paula-Rose

Paula Rose Michelson is an author I have read for the past couple of years. She has written books in a variety of genres including thriller-suspense, memoir, non-fiction and a series of Christian romance historical fiction. This children’s book is a new genre for her; in my opinion, she has finally come into the genre that should be her niche. She knows children and puts this knowledge and heart to pen in these books. I am looking forward to reading more in this new series.

Paula-Rose’s book about 8-year-old Gracie and the Save A Soul Prayer Team is a breath of fresh air. Most children’s books I have read in this age bracket are sweet, but a bit too fluffy. There is barely a theme, much less a purpose. Paula-Rose writes terrific stories with plenty of action that keeps children’s interest. In addition, the characters in the story learn about God’s personality and His ways without sounding like a Sunday School lesson. In this story, Gracie’s heart is touched when a friend’s family moves away. She wants to be a part of bringing the family together again.

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Some people may object that children are just not like Gracie, and they will not relate to the characters. I disagree with that. In the years past when I taught school, whether secular or Christian, there were always a few within each class that stood out as having an especially sensitive heart. In their own way, they inspired others they met, even in the classroom. Gracie has a tender heart and is always willing to do something to help others. It’s this heart that makes this story, and consequently the entire series, so wonderfully enjoyable. If I were a parent or grandparent, I would definitely buy this book for the children.

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Holiday Story Prompts for Kids (Cool Books by Dubbie Bk.3) by David and R.M. Strong ~ Review

Holiday Story prompts for kids pic

Holiday Story Prompts for Kids by David and R.M. Strong

I am glad to have found this little book of story prompts. It is mostly geared for use with children, but I was just thinking that it could also be a helpful resource for party games. It is specifically geared toward use around the holidays and to help children with prompts for story writing. So teachers, homeschoolers, group leaders and parents in particular would find this book useful.

I also have in mind how party planners may find a use with the prompts as well. Have you ever heard of Round Robin story writing? It’s a fun group activity. What happens is you can plan for a group to receive some story prompts about a topic. Then using the Round Robin plan, have each person add one sentence to a story started in the group, and going around a table. The story can be as serious or silly as you want. When everyone has a turn or two, choose a person to stand up and read the story to the group. Fun! If this is a group of children, lay down some guidelines about crudity and other common sense limitations, but for the most part, this could add lots of laughs at any type of party, including holiday get-togethers.

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What’s in the book? In the first part of the book, the authors give the reader three categories: names, actions, and places (and holidays). There are 30 of each category, so have someone call out three numbers between 1-30, such as 5-27-13. That would be 5=Santa Claus 27=enjoys 13=birthday party. So the topic to write about would be how Santa Claus enjoys a birthday party (either for himself or for someone else).

The next part of the book takes more research and work. The focus is on specific holidays around the world. The first story prompt is about New Year’s Day on January 1st. There’s quite a variety. Holi from India, Independence Day in Greece, Songkran in Thailand, World Book Day, Mid Summer, Obon in Japan, Rosh Hashanah for Israel, Unity Day in Germany, Day of the Dead in Mexico, Ramadan, birthdays around the world and vacations around the world are a few offerings for story starters.

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This mother and son writing team have other books of story prompts out as well. I know for certain there is one about animals. The book is a good idea starter. I can think of many ways to expand on this idea, create three lists of categories for more specific topics, even Christmas, for a family member or a group. The point is to have fun writing. Writing is a great way to stir up those creative juices…something sorely needed in this technical age.

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Ho-Ho-Nooo (TJ and the Time Stumblers Bk 4) by Bill Myers ~ Review

Ho Ho Nooo pic

Ho Ho Nooo: TJ and the Time Stumblers Bk 4 by bill Myers

Middle grade readers will love this book. It should appeal to both boys and girls because it is a basic adventure book. The purpose of the book’s message is to explore the true meaning of Christmas without getting overly “religious.” The main character, TJ, takes on several jobs to try to earn money to give her dad for Christmas. Things get out of hand, of course, while she tries to compete with her sister who is planning on purchasing a large screen TV. To “help” TJ understand what really counts for Christmas, bumbling time travelers on a school assignment from the future visit TJ and stay hidden in her bedroom. She’s the only one who can see and hear them, but doesn’t pay much attention to their warnings. There are plenty of laughs to go around–good clean non-crude humor.

Herby and Tuna are traveling from the future to invisibly observe their target historical figure for a school assignment. Since their arrival, everything seems to go wrong for them, including equipment malfunctions; but they do manage to tag along with TJ to school and work for awhile. Their “help” is doubtful but funny.

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Besides the goofy humor in this short book, there are family dynamics to explore (TJ’s mom died of cancer recently) and social dynamics to learn from. This book, like the many others written by this author is not just a fluff piece. There are valuable lessons taught within the humorous events, just enough to prompt young readers to think. Parents will love this. Books like this were something I searched for when my children were the age this book is written for (between ages 7 and 11).

If you are looking for a hilarious, fast-paced adventure for your children to read, this is one I highly recommend. While it is the fourth book in a series, each one can be read independently.

 

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Haunted Waters (Red Rock Mysteries #1) by Jerry Jenkins and Chris Fabry ~ Review ~

Haunted Waters (Red Rock Mysteries #1) by Jerry Jenkins and Chris Fabry

Haunted Waters

Adventure, excitement and danger seemed to follow Ashley and Bryce Timberline wherever they go. First, their dad died in a mysterious accident. Then they moved to Colorado with their mom and baby brother so they could start their lives over. It was in Colorado that their mom met and fell in love with Sam (Bryce and Ashley call him The Cowboy), who has a daughter age 16. Ashley and her twin are 13. Their baby brother is only four.

Being in a blended family was tough for a teen. So one weekend, Sam suggested a cabin in the mountains adventure with just the four of them–the twins, Dylan and Sam–while their mom stayed home to finish a book she was writing. They had skiing, sledding and tubing to look forward to, satellite hook-up in the cabin and their own pinball machine. To top that off, they were going to view a large gold nugget on display nearby and a replica of a mine shaft where gold was found. That’s when all the adventures began.

Haunted Waters is told in the first person with chapters alternating between Bryce’s point of view and Ashley’s point of view. Their adventure includes thieves, suspicious people who follow them, break-ins, and eventually high speed chases and a life threatening accident. But in the conclusion, the reader is left in suspense when the twins discover a secret about their step-dad.

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This book is perfect for middle grade readers. Ashley and Bryce face relevant situations that other pre-teens and teens would understand, such as bullies at school, and enjoy great laughs at the witty exchange between the twins.

I especially liked how the book’s high interest level but lower reading level makes it appealing to a wide age range. This is a book and series I would want my own children to read. The adventures are fun, the language and attitudes of the characters are clean, while the young people and adults are not perfect or unrealistically “too good to be true.” Since Ashley, Bryce and their mom are Christians, they live their faith out through their daily lives rather than preach about it. They may falter from time to time, but they learn and grow through their experiences.

I am reading and reviewing this book for the Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. summer reading program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee ~ A Review

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

[The publication date for this book is January 28, 2014]

Ophelia and the Marv Boy

I can close my eyes and visualize the classroom where I used to teach, filled with 9- to-11-year-old children so quiet you could hear the old wall clock ticking as I read from the book about the enchanted land where it was always winter but never Christmas. The story was full of magic, talking beasts, frightening life-like statues, an evil Queen, and rescuers from a far away land. Character traits like courage, bravery and persistence were tested in battle and time was always running out with still so much left to accomplish.

No, the story being read was not Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy because that was about thirty years ago. It was a magical tale full of adventure and action, suspense, good vs. evil, a girl and a boy, just like this book by Karen Foxlee. The essential elements that create an exciting fantasy/fairytale never grow old, they just update. Ophelia’s evil Queen wears stiletto heels and carries a cell phone. The story I’m recommending to you today teases the reader’s brain, tests the metal of a newfound friendship and the strength of a very old one, and allows the heroine to ride off into the sunset with a better opinion of her abilities and a broader horizon before her. It is a story that allows an ordinary boy to possess extraordinary bravery, have faith in a frienemey, perform his good deed and return home. It’s the perfect read for the middle school age young person.

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Just like the timeless tale I read to my class, this modern story has no need to use crude language to rivet the reader’s attention. I rate this spell-binding book (pun intended) PG because this author writes terrific suspenseful moments.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley, on behalf of Random House Children’s. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Reviewing Some Children’s Books by V. R. Duin – Part 3

smile!An author friend has a series of books about a goofy and wacky character, the Goopy Ghost. Goopy is not a scary ghost. In fact, he’s not a typical ghost at all. His birth home was a pumpkin. Goopy has a big ole heart and loves helping out. Check out this lovable guy!

1. The Goopy Ghost of Halloween by V.R. Duin

Goopy Ghost at Halloween

What is a consequence? Well, unfortunately many of us think it’s a punishment or something that happens as a result of wrong done. But that’s not necessarily true all the time. Consequences are simply the results of an action taken. Sometimes there are good consequences, and sometimes there are bad consequences. But there are also natural/neutral consequences. Children need to know that ALL actions have consequences and that it is natural. Thinking about consequences teaches us to think ahead.

In this story, the Goopy Ghost is himself a natural consequence. The children are preparing their pumpkin to be a Jack O’Lantern. The design is drawn on the orange globe. The top is carved, and out comes the goop. Hmmmm…where should they put it? Out it goes into a stinky, smelly garbage can. The Goopy Ghost is born!

A little bit later the goopy ghost is aware he has to find his home, but where? Creeping around inside the children’s house, he finally finds his home–but changed. It glows! In search of another home, Goopy starts to wreak havoc. What did the children find the next morning?

I love these fun, light-hearted stories of our friend the Goopy Ghost. He’s not the scariest, nor the spookiest of ghosts, but he is certainly one of the silliest. The consequences of reading his stories? Most likely, more smiles!

2. The Goopy Ghost at St. Patrick’s Day by V. R. Duin

Goopy Ghost of St. Patricks Day

Limericks are a poetry form that seems to be designed for fun and children. Children love to be read to and they especially love repetition and rhythm in literature. Limericks are easy to learn and to teach. In this book, there are several stanzas in limerick form that can serve as perfect templates. The basic rule of thumb is that the easier the words fall off the tongue, the closer you are to the correct form and rhythm set in the templates. Why not try celebrating St. Patrick’s Day playing around with words in meter and rhyme after reading this book to your children/grandchildren?

There’s a lot to love about the Goopy Ghost series. The author has chosen well in her choice of artists for these books. The pictures are in bright cheerful water color paints. Children who are visual learners will find their eyes drawn to the pages repeatedly. The simple scenes depict believable adorable characters and Goopy especially as the least scariest ghost you’ve ever known. Kudos to artist Bonnie
Lemaire.

Goopy Ghost is kind-hearted, fun-loving and generous. In his stories, he often places other peoples’ needs before his own, and he is creative in his problem solving skills. In this story, Goopy seeks out a leprechaun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. He is looking for fun, but finds a problem to solve instead. His plan to resolve the dilemma has lasting positive consequences even as he selflessly gives up a reward to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. Fun finds him in the end. Children need these type of character traits emulated continually. They need to be shown the rewards in being kind, generous and selfless. With so much negative surrounding them, they need all the positive role models you can give them.

3. The Goopy Ghost at Thanksgiving by V.R. Duin

Goopy Ghost of Thanksgiving

“Thanks is not bound in any way.
It isn’t tied to a certain day.
It isn’t tied to just one place.
Thanks has its very own grace.”

Just as Ma and Pa Brown prepare for their Thanksgiving celebration by picking out a couple of pumpkins for their pies, it begins to rain. Goopy is outside and getting wet when Pa Brown invites him inside their home to dry. The rain turns from sprinkles
to torrential rain and now the Browns are worried about their animals. Grateful Goopy helps bring the animals in to safety. All is going well when suddenly the house is lifted up and carried off in a flood.

When matters are finally righted, including a new spot for their home high up a hill where the flood waters won’t intrude, they celebrate. I can just imagine how much gratitude they felt after the flood was over. This book gives us an opportunity to remind our children that bad things happen to good people. Even when children are very young, they can be taught what to do in emergencies, how to look for the
good in every circumstance, and how to develop an attitude of gratitude and helpfulness. This is a good book to start a discussion with your children.

4. The Goopy Ghost at Christmas by V. R. Duin

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tRSrMfAnHdw

Goopy at Christmas

The goopy ghost is born of pie,
A luscious way to start!
Good humored and so full of fun,
He demonstrates his heart.

Our friend the ghost is so surprised,
To find a tree inside;
He thinks the baubles on its limbs,
are “Food for me!” he sighed.

Content is he and explores some more;
And decorates a hall,
With candy canes, and ribbons bright,
And here and there a ball.

When Santa arrives, he hitches a ride
Deep within Santa’s pack.
He awakes up North and meets some elves,
To help–if he has the knack.

But making toys is not his niche,
So he decorates instead.
He brightens the halls with toys ‘n dolls,
And all things green and red.

When our goopy friend returns to his home,
A year’s time has passed;
“As happy as a lark” to help some more,
Putting cheer in our hearts to last.

I know of children who will love this book,
And read it again and again;
They will love the colors and the cheerful tone,
And the message to help a friend.

My hat is off to V. R. Duin,
For such a gleeful read;
Let’s look for ways to teach our kids,
to do a kindly deed.

5. The Goopy Ghost at Valentine’s Day by V. R. Duin

Goopy at Valentine's Day

“That friends and family
Matter the most
Is equally true
For a little ghost.”

The crux of this story about Goopy Ghost can be summed up neatly in the above couplet. Friendship and family. One thing about most holidays is their ability to either amplify our abundance of relationships with family and friends, or point out our lack of them. For those who do not have many family and/or friends, holidays can be supremely lonely. This is the case with the Goopy Ghost. Valentine’s Day was nearing and Goopy had no one with whom to share it.

As a former teacher and homeschool mom, I realize that friendship is something we need to teach our children about as early as possible. We are their nurturers and friendship does not come easily to everyone. This book could serve as a great launch in a discussion about loneliness, how to get friends and be a friend, and how friendship comes with its ups and downs. Goopy does not sit around feeling sorry for himself; he turns to people he knows and asks for help. With his helper, he goes and and does something positive. He makes a friend.

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New Blog Series — 12 Week Kids Bible Study and Giveaway!

TITLE: New Blog Series – 12 Week Kids Bible Study {Giveaway!}
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Join us over the next 12 weeks (starting August 29th) as we share Bible study topics, discussion questions,
suggested reading, and activities that you can do with your kiddos!
The writers at CSAHM are so excited to share with you the wonderful “Deep Blue Kids Bible” and Bible Studies that will encourage you to include regular Bible Study
time with your children that isn’t overwhelming and is a A LOT of FUN!

Today we are celebrating by hosting a giveaway launch!

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the prize – which is a $200 USD Amazon Gift Card!

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Be sure to subscribe below to our update list where you will receive weekly updates about our 12 Week
Kids Bible Study and you will also receive a FREE PDF version of each week’s Bible Study!

Giveaway {$200 Amazon Gift Card!}

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