Saturday, January 9, 2016

Giants in the Nursery: A Book Review

About The Book:

Giants in the Nursery examines the evolution of developmentally appropriate practice in this biographical history of early childhood education.

 This book, from David Elkind, explores the theory's progression—from its beginnings in writings of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century philosophers, its experimental implementation by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century practitioners, and its scientific grounding in contemporary theory and research—and includes biographical sketches and perspectives of eleven philosophical, pedagogical, and theoretical figures—the giants—in this evolution: John Amos Comenius, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Heinrich Pestalozzi, Frederick Froebel, Rudolf Steiner, Maria Montessori, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, and Lev Semenovich Vygotsky. 

Softbound, 280 pgs.


About The Author:

David Elkind, PhD, is professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He was formerly professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education at the University of Rochester. Professor Elkind obtained his doctorate at UCLA and then spent a year as David Rapaport's research assistant at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. From 1964-65 he was a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Piaget's Institut d' Epistemologie Genetique in Geneva. His research has been in the areas of perceptual, cognitive, and social development where he has attempted to build upon the research and theory of Jean Piaget. 

Professor Elkind's bibliography now numbers over five hundred items and includes research, theoretical articles, book chapters, and twenty-two books. He has also appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning News, 20/20, Dateline, Donahue, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He's been profiled in People and Bostonmagazines, was contributing editor for Parents magazine, and co-hosted the Lifetime Television series Kids These Days. He is past president for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a member of many professional organizations, a consultant to state education departments and government agencies, and lectures extensively across the United States, Canada, and abroad. He is also the scientific adviser to Marco Polo Learning, Inc., an education app company. 


My Review:

I first read David Elkind's work back in Bible college, using The Hurried Child, for one of my psychology classes. It was a phenomanal book and I am so glad to have read it. He is a prolific writer and educator and recently had the opportunity to read his recent release, Giants in the Nursery. 

This book is the perfect one to get an overview of developmentally appropriate practice and the eleven "giants" that were part of shaping the basis of it. In this book, readers are introduced to the following "giants":

-John Amos Comenius
-John Locke
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau
-Johann Heinrich Petalozzi
-Fredrich Froebel
-Rudolf Steiner
-Maria Montessori
-Sigmund Freud
-Jean Piaget
-Lev Vygotsky
-Erik Erikson

What I absolutely loved in this book, besides the historical facts for each person, was how the theories of each relate directly to developmentally appropriate practice and also includes the common themes and roles of play from each theory. 

I really believe this would be an ideal book for anyone new in the early childhood education profession, as well as a great refresher for us veterns of the profession as well. Seriously, a wonderful book overall.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Giants in the Nursery online through Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Redleaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Loose Parts - Inspiring Play in Young Children: A Book Review

About The Book:

Loose Parts help inspire children's play

Loose parts are natural or synthetic found, bought, or upcycled materials—acorns, hardware, stones, aluminum foil, fabric scraps, for example—that children can move, manipulate, control, and change within their play. Loose parts are alluring and beautiful. They capture children's curiosity, give free reign to their imagination, and encourage creativity. With more than 550 color photographs of many kinds of loose parts in real early childhood settings, classroom stories, and a dynamic overview,Loose Parts provides inspiration and information about the ways everyday materials can support open-ended learning, enhance play, and empower children. With loose parts, the possibilities are endless. 

Age focus: 0–6. Softbound, 232 pgs. 


About The Authors:

Lisa Daly, MA, is professor of early childhood education at Folsom Lake College in Folsom, California. She has over 30 years of experience as an early childhood teacher, director, and educator. She has served on community and Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) boards, including the statewide Child Development Training Consortium advisory board. She is passionate about creative arts and has directed art programs for thousands of children at community family events and camps; and she and has presented numerous workshops for educators on art, storytelling, language and literacy, sensory experiences, and music and movement. 

Miriam Beloglovsky, MA, is a professor of early childhood education at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, and has had the pleasure of advising and guiding students for over 25 years. She is a strong advocate for children, youth, and families, and consults and supports a variety of family, children, and youth programs, including THRIVE Family Development Network and My Street of Dreams. She has served as a keynote speaker, presenter, and board member to a number of organizations and conferences.

My Review:

Loose parts play in early childhood education has been around for a long time. The very first time it was named to be a concept of early childhood education was by British Architect Simon Nicholson in 1971. It was he that coined the term loose parts, describing open-ended materials that can be used and manipulated in many ways. He believed that environments offer many ways for children to interact with variables such as gravity, sounds, chemical reactions, concepts, words and people (p. 5). The possibilities are endless for children to play and explore with loose parts. 

Daly and Beloglovsky came together to write an absolutely stunning book that covers loose part play as it relates to the senses, creativity, action, and inquiry. Throughout the book are utterly beautiful photography that will inspire you to create a place of awe and inspiration for children of all ages to play, explore and learn. While many of the ideas in the book are meant for slightly older children, I have used several of the ideas for infants and toddlers, keeping in mind their strong inclination to put things in their mouth, to explore rocks, shells, scarves, and so much more! They love it. And I am so excited that Loose Parts 2: Inspire Play for Infants and Toddlers releases in May 2016 and will be so fantastic to use with the little ones in my care! The older ones have use marbles, jewel rocks, nuts and bolts, etc to create, count, sort, and more. The book has helped immensely to change my environment for the better!

This book has been an absolutely fantastic addition to my professional library and I am of the opinion that every early childhood education program needs it in theirs. I cannot wait to get my hands on 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Loose Parts:  Inspiring Play in Young Children online through Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Redleaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***


Pedagogy and Space: A Book Review

About The Book:

The intersection of design and learning is a new and burgeoning area of interest in all levels of education. Pedagogy and Space combines architectural design information with early childhood theory to enhance children's learning and educators' experience within the space. Filled with colorful, inspiring photographs of intentionally designed spaces, you will get many ideas that can be applied to your own classroom-without needing to start from scratch or spend a lot of money. Based on the groundbreaking architectural work A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, this new resource provides an overview of important design patterns in early childhood environments. Use this book to guide changes in your space that will immediately benefit your interactions with children and improve the quality of your time together! 
Softbound, 128pgs. 


About The Author:

Linda M. Zane, EdD, is associate professor of early childhood education at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. Prior to this position, she was assistant professor at Slippery Rock University and adjunct professor of early childhood education at Duquesne University. Dr. Zane was the director of an accredited early childhood program for ten years before venturing into the world of higher education. She holds an EdD in instructional leadership from Duquesne University. 

My Review:

In this day and age of the Internet, and Pinterest, it is absolutely easy to get inspiration for designing and setting up early childhood education environments. In recent years, there has been a wide range of books and ideas that will help early childhood educators create amazing spaces for children to play and learn. What many people don't realize when they see set ups in day cares and preschools is the meaning behind those set ups. There is a reason for every piece of furniture or equipment being in a space, and placed where it is. 

Recently I read a book that explores such an idea and gives amazing inspiration to all who may read it. It was a wonderful mix of academia and inspirational full color photos of spaces from all types of early childhood education programs. Not only does the book explain the importance of design and space, but it covers the following topics:

-Making Connections (General Schemas of Connection)
-Coming and Going (Entrance and Exits)
-On The Move (Circulation)
-Let the Sunshine In (LIghting and Color)
-A Place of My Own (Room Structure)
-Be Comfortable (Seating)
-Take It Outside (Outdoor Space)

It also includes ideas of how to apply the concepts learned in the book, and tool kits (easy to reproduce) to help you set up a fantastic learning environment for children of all ages!

I am absolutely blessed to have Dr. Zane's book in my professional library and my goal is take many of the concepts from the book and apply them to my family child care program in the near future!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Pedagogy and Space online throughout Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Redleaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

The Biggest Family in the World: A Book Review

About The Book:

Discover the inspirational and true story of a poor, abandoned six-year-old Kenyan boy who grows up to become successful, powerful and very rich but decides to sell all he has to rescue street children, whose condition reflects his own childhood. Saving one child turns into rescuing thousands, and each new challenge that Charles Mulli faces presents a new opportunity to trust God even more. This wonderfully illustrated book captures the essence of Africa and the joy of Mully Children's Family. The Biggest Family in the World will encourage all the children to experience how much God loves them and to look for the special plans He has for their lives.


About The Author:


Paul H. Boge had the privilege of teaching at Mully Children's Family in Ndalani, Kenya, where he saw the impact the love of God is having through MCF in the lives of rescued children. Passionate about children and the people of Africa, Paul is the author of six books, includingFather to the Fatherless: The Charles Mulli Story and Hope for the Hopeless: The Charles Mulli Mission. He is a filmmaker and works as an engineer in a family practice in Winnipeg. When he isn't writing, he loves to tell stories to his nieces and nephews.
www.paulboge.com

Following a 25-year career in advertising design, a career change to working in the office of singer/songwriter Steve Bell resulted in a reawakening of Faye Hall's love of painting. Her family already grown, Hall experienced widowhood and a new marriage to Darrell Hall. Faye's lifelong faith in God is evident in her prolific repertoire of realistic and abstract portraits that are charged with energy, passion and colour. Faye continues to be artistically influenced particularly by the music and poetry of Steve Bell and Malcolm Guite.
www.fayehall.com

My Review:

When you come across a book that is absolutely stunning in it's illustrations but also in the story that is written, when it tugs at your heart from the very first pages, and is based on real life experiences, you know that it is a book that will change your thinking and life. And when you personally know the author, that makes a book even more special!

And that is exactly the type of book that The Biggest Family in the World is! And it's the first children's book from author Paul H. Boge. I thoroughly loved reading the Charles Mulli story for myself, but even more importantly, was the opinion of my children. They are nine and seven and here are a few of their thoughts:

"The colors are so bright" (my seven year old)

"It was easy to read, and I can even read it to other children"(my nine year old)

"I love reading and learning about children in other countries" (both the girls)

"Let's find out more about the area where these children live and Mr. Mulli lives" (both the girls and we did some research and they drew their own versions of the the illustrations in the book)

Overall this is an amazing children's book and would be an excellent addition to any family personal library, as well as a wonderful book that promotes multiculturalism in a child care facility. It is a great example of how God works in the lives of His people!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Biggest Family In The World online through Castle Quay Books

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the author and Castle Quay Books, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Let's All Play - A Group Learning (Un)Curriculum: A Book Review

About The Book:

Let's All Play is the newest release from FCC favorite authors Jeff Johnson and Denita Dinger

Young children learn best when they are allowed to lead their own play. The 40 all-new adventures in this book support children's social learning and skill development through open-ended group play. These play experiences help children engage with each other and the world around them, and they stimulate and support children's group interactions and conversations—all of which leads to rich learning. This book also encourages you to reflect on the value of children's play and your practices and policies through deep thinking activities. 

Let's All Play builds on the early learning principles presented in Jeff A. Johnson and Denita Dinger's first book together, Let Them Play, and the open-ended learning adventures in their second book, Let's Play.

Age focus: 2–6. Softbound, 184 pgs.


About The Authors:

Jeff A. Johnson spent twenty-five years as a child care provider in center- and home-based programs. He now works full time as an author, keynote speaker, podcaster, toymaker, and early learning advocate. He is the author or coauthor of eight Redleaf Press books. 

Web site: www.explorationsearlylearning.com
Blog: www.jeffajohnson.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ExplorationsEarlyLearning


Denita Dinger has been a child care provider for more than fifteen years and operates a family child care program. For the last five years, she has been a frequent keynote speaker at early childhood conferences, focusing on the topics of hands-on learning, learning through play, and transitioning early learning programs from a teacher-controlled environment to one that is child-led and play-based.

My Review:

I have been an early childhood educator for over 17 years and Jeff Johnson has been a huge influence in my work with children over the last four years. I cannot believe I did not know of his work prior to that! However, since learning of his work with young children , I have learned so from his work, videos, toys, and particularly, his books. I have the pleasure of owning almost all of Johnson's book, and I will definitely be purchasing the others down the road (I have to pace myself with all the amazing early childhood education books out there!). 

Recently, Redleaf Press sent me a copy of the new book from Jeff Johnson and Denita Dinger, Let's All Play: A Group Learning (Un)Curriculum and I am loving it!

First off, the book is LOADED with awesome, easy to implement activities that use mostly household items, that will keep children learning and having fun for hours. Second, it has some awesome activities for the teacher to do so they can evaluate how they understand the importance of play in a child's life and how to grow in their teaching methods. I actually loved these sections, as well as the Terminology section that referenced words the authors referred to in the book. When I looked at the Suggested Reading list at the end of the book, I was pleasantly surprised that I already own several of the books listed and its a great list for me to reference later. Finally, the introduction was full of valuable information, particularly important for those who are new to the child interest, play-based style of early childhood education. 

I am not an educator that uses worksheets, does cookie cutter crafts, or weekly themes (unless it builds on a child's interest) and I love that I can learn from the authors who have similar philosophies. I count it a privilege to add Johnson and Dinger to my list of favorite teachers, along side of Dan Hodgins, Lisa Murphy, Bev Bos, Peter Gray and so many others. 

As the book states social skill development is one of the most important skills children can use and this book is a fantastic resource for helping children learn and gain the skills the they need to grow into competent members of society. It doesn't matter one bit if a child can speak three languages, write in cursive, and count to 100 by grade one but doesn't know how to take turns, be pleasant to others and have a reciprocal conversation. Human to human interaction is what this book is all about and I loved it!

Every early childhood educator, and even parents, need this book in their hands to help our children be children and forget about early academics!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Let's All Play: A Group (Un)Curriculum online via Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Redleaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood: A Book Review

About The Book:

North American educators were first introduced to the idea of pedagogical documentation through work of the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Canadian and U.S. educators have responded with an eager desire to try the process within their own practices. Nevertheless, producing documentation that is thoughtful, meaningful, and aesthetically pleasing is a challenge. Pedagogical Documentation—filled with examples from the author as well as new and seasoned educators from across North America-will guide you through the process. Pedagogical documentation is an examination of the learning taking place in children and supports reflective practice and decision-making in teachers. Pedagogical documentation is a powerful tool for communicating a child's learning to families. 

Age focus: 3–8. Softbound, 144 pgs. 


About The Author:

Susan Stacey is an early childhood consultant and teacher educator with more than thirty years of experience in the field. Most of her experience has been in lab schools, where she has collaborated with children, teachers, and student teachers and conducted research. She presents widely on emergent curriculum, inquiry-based learning, and pedagogical documentation.

Visit Susan's website at www.suestacey.ca


My Review:

I am very honored that I have this amazing book in my collection of early childhood education resources. It is probably one that I have referenced a ton in the last few months. In the Province I live, we are slowly releasing a curriculum framework that is based on emergent curriculum and the philosophy of Reggio Emilia child care. One of the features of these two philosophies is documentation. So I was very excited to be able to read Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood by Susan Stacey as a way to prepare for the new changes coming my way.

The book outlines the importance of documentation in the ECE classroom and how to do it effectively. The book is very well written and includes fantastic photography that correlates to the information given by the author. I am still processing so much of what I have read but I know over the next few months I will be making a ton of changes in how I do documentation, observations and recording of the children and their activities in my family child care program.This is a valuable resource that all ECE programs should have in their program libraries.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood online through Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of RedLeaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Early Learning Theories Made Visible: A Book Review

About The Book:

Go beyond reading about early learning theories and see what they look like in action in modern programs and teacher practices. With classroom vignettes and colorful photographs, this book makes the works of Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky, Abraham Maslow, John Dewey, Howard Gardner, and Louise Derman-Sparks visible, accessible, and easier to understand. Each theory is defined—through engaging stories and rich visuals—in relation to cognitive, social-emotional, and physical developmental domains. Use this book to build a stronger comprehension of the foundations of early learning theories and become more reflective and intentional in your work with young children. 

Softbound, 220 pgs.


About The Authors:

Miriam Beloglovsky, MA, is a professor of early childhood education at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, and has had the pleasure of advising and guiding students for over 25 years. She is a strong advocate for children, youth, and families, and consults and supports a variety of family, children, and youth programs, including THRIVE Family Development Network and My Street of Dreams. She has served as a keynote speaker, presenter, and board member to a number of organizations and conferences.

Lisa Daly, MA, is professor of early childhood education at Folsom Lake College in Folsom, California. She has over 30 years of experience as an early childhood teacher, director, and educator. She has served on community and Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) boards, including the statewide Child Development Training Consortium advisory board. She is passionate about creative arts and has directed art programs for thousands of children at community family events and camps; and she and has presented numerous workshops for educators on art, storytelling, language and literacy, sensory experiences, and music and movement. 

My Review:

Learning about child development and developmental psychology has been an interest of mine for many years, and was part of my training to become an early childhood educator. While I loved learning theories and idea from the greats like Erikson, Vygotsky, Freud, Piaget, etc., the one thing that often frustrated me was how was I to take that intensive information and figure out how to translate it to the work I did on a daily basis. Of course, I have eventually figured it out but I so wish I would have had a book like Early Learning Theories Made Visible back when I first began my career.

The book covers theories from Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky, Abraham Maslow, John Dewey, Howard Gardner and Louise Derman-Sparks. First the authors give a basic run down of each theorist and their work. Then, in a very well organized and written manner, the authors lay out the theories in relation to these areas:

1. Social-Emotional Development
2. Beyond ABCs and 1,2,3s
3. Beyond Gross-Motor and Fine-Motor Skills

Within these sections, the authors give amazing, stunning photography, and examples of how to incorporate these theories within our early childhood education programs through sections call Take Action: The Envirionment and Take Action: Your Role as a Teacher. These sections have provided me with valuable information that I have been able to very easily adapt and add to my family child care program. I am very glad to have it in my personal library and must say it is a book I hope all early childhood education programs should have as well.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Early Learning Theories Made Visible online through Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of RedLeaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

The Comfort of Little Things: A Book Review

About The Book:

Educators are among the most loving and nurturing people on earth. Yet those same caring adults are too often very hard on themselves. The Comfort of Little Thingsprovides strategies and tips on how to give yourself a second chance. Drawing on the growing body of brain research along with personal experience and stories from educators, Holly Elissa Bruno fills her book with ideas that will help you see the world with the wonder of a child. You can learn to open yourself to the moment, to look at yourself anew, and to let go of negativity. As she writes, "Second chances come from letting go of what holds us back. These second chances take more work. The work is always rewarded. Fear not." 

Softbound , 144pgs.


About The Author:

Holly Elissa Bruno, MA, JD, is an author, attorney, professor, acclaimed keynote speaker, and host of an online radio program. She is an alumna of Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management, teaches leadership courses for The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership and Wheelock College, and is a frequent contributor to Child Care Information Exchange and the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Young Children publication. Previously, Holly Elissa served as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Maine and Assistant Dean at the University of Maine School of Law. Holly Elissa's books include What You Need to Lead an Early Childhood Program: Emotional Intelligence in Practice, Managing Legal Risks in Early Childhood Programs, and Learning from the Bumps in the Road: Insights from Early Childhood Leaders

My Review:

I have been an early childhood educator for over 17 years. I absolutely love children and have a passion for teaching. However, there are many times I question myself and my skills to do a great job with kids. Some of this is my personality and some of it due to criticism from others. This last year I was able to read a book that literally gave me permission to let go of this doubt and remember that I am where I am because of the gift I give children. The Comfort of Little Things is exactly that. A book that shows the reader that we, as the adult, must give ourselves second chances and let go of negativity and move forward, much like what we teach the children in our lives to do! It is a book about self care that every early childhood educator should read.

Here are some quotes from the book:

“To take that second chance, we need to notice where we are and be open to the possibility of growing.” 

“To survive the daily bumps and bruises that come with living our lives, we all need a gentle and loving home both within and outside of ourselves.” 

“Life’s too short to do anything but enjoy it daily.”

“Educators are spiritual beings—we are on earth to make a difference.” 

“Each of us each day, each moment, has a choice: give ourselves and others a second chance or turn away.” 


I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Comfort of Little Things online through Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of RedLeaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Road To Becoming: A Book Review

About The Book:

Wake up each new day and say yes. 

There is a moment in all of our lives when leaning into the unknown becomes our only viable pathway forward. This is the moment you must ask, "Do I believe the Storyteller knows better than anyone else my part in the story?" If the answer is yes, pack your bags and get ready to follow God into the unknown.

In this vulnerable, laugh-out-loud book, Jenny Simmons shares her own journey through seasons of change and lostness, dead ends and detours, and finally into the terrifying, unknown, God-designed future. The road to becoming is not easy, but it is here you'll begin to discover that new life--life abundant--is 
always, ever among us. Dancing on the horizon.


You can read an excerpt of this book here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Jenny Simmons is a dynamic storyteller and lover of people who sees God's redemptive hand at work in the world around her. She is a sought-after musician and speaker who has garnered a devoted following on her blog (www.jennysimmons.com). As the lead singer of the band Addison Road, Jenny traveled the country performing alongside her husband, Ryan, for over a decade. Jenny and Ryan live in Nashville, Tennessee, with their daughter.

My Review:

A cozy quilt, cup of coffee and a good book. This is my favorite type of "me-time". And when I have this me time with a book that allows me to feel like the author and I are sitting together having coffee that is my absolute favorite book! That is exactly the type of book The Road to Becoming turned out to be. 

Jenny Simmons was incredibly vulnerable, honest, raw and I loved how each word written drew me into the book and kept my attention. It was through her experiences that I was encouraged in my own journey to what God wants for me. This is a book that all Christian women should read. Really, it will change you for the better. God has given Simmons a wonderful gift for writing and reaching people for His good through the writing she does. 

There is joy even in the tough seasons of life and Jenny Simmons is prove of that, and we also are prove of that.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Road to Becoming at your favorite Christian book retailer from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Forgiven: A Book Review

About The Book:

After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on?

On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. It was a trauma that none should ever have to face.

But the biggest headlines came when her Amish neighbors did the unimaginable, reaching out to the family of the shooter with comfort and forgiveness. Today Terri lives in harmony with the Amish and has built lasting relationships beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From the grace that the Amish showed Terri's family from day one, to the visits and ongoing care Terri has given to the victims and their families, no one could have foreseen the love and friendship that have been forged from the fires of tragedy.


You can read an excerpt of Forgiven here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Terri Roberts travels the United States and the world speaking about the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting, forgiveness, and hope. She has been interviewed by CBS News, the Associated Press, and Reuters. Terri is a mother of four sons and a grandmother of eleven, including two step-grandchildren. She and her husband, Chuck, live just south of Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Learn more at JoyThroughAdversity.com.

My Review:

The death of a child is something I pray and hope I will never have to endure. I have known too many people who have lost children and I have walked with them on their journey through the grief. All of these families have lost children due to illness, stillbirth or suicide. When any child dies, it is horrible but when a child is murdered I would venture to guess the level of grief would be different. But what if the murderer was your child? How does a parent deal with that type of grief in response to their 

In the last 15 years school shootings and mass shootings have been all over media and each year we are shocked by another situation. One of the mass shootings I remember clearly as the events unfolded was the Amish School shooting on October 2, 2006. I watched a community come together, as most do after these events, and publicly declare forgiveness for the shooter. 

A couple of years ago I read Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, which proved the power of forgiveness after the shooting. It was the point of view of victim's families. 

This time, I read Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, A Mother's Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace. Wow, this book was one of the most heart-wrenching books I have ever read. Not just this year, but ever. It was incredibly power to read Terri Roberts' account of the shooting and the journey to forgiveness of both her son's actions and of herself. The guilt she felt is likely such that all of us would. But it was the fact that she chose to forgive and move to that place of healing that can only come from forgiveness. We must forgive to be forgiven is the prime theme of this book, and I am so glad to have been able to see a small glimpse into the journey that Terri and her husband have walked since October 2, 2006. I love that because of her hope in Jesus Christ, she was able to embrace forgiveness and heal. It is a real, heart-wrenching and raw account and I feel everyone should read this book.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Forgiven at your favorite Christian book retailer from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Boy Born Dead: A Book Review

About The Book:

In 1953, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a baby boy was born--dead. The attending physician set his little body aside and tended to his mother for eighteen minutes. Now, more than sixty years later, that boy leads an internationally known ministry that encourages hundreds of thousands every year.The Boy Born Dead traces the roots of this harrowing, humorous, and heartfelt story.

Few American epics of tragedy, intrigue, friendship, and faith will entertain and challenge the soul like the narrative inspired by the real-life events of David Ring--a boy literally born dead who survives but not without sobering consequences. Living with the harsh realities of cerebral palsy, Ring faces impossible odds yet stumbles into an improbable life of inspiration and influence in the small, unassuming town of Liberty, Missouri, in the 1960s.

As a teenage boy, Ring finds himself tragically orphaned and being shuffled about to various homes. Along this journey, he faces secret, unspeakable atrocities that eventually plunge him into the depths of depression and attempted suicide. But amid the harsh troubles of life, he encounters another boy his age named David, the son of a local pastor. Their unlikely friendship begins on the rocks, but eventually develops into something extraordinary and unique that alters the trajectory of both of their lives--and the whole town of Liberty--forever.


Where we see tragedy, God sees possibility . . 


You can read an excerpt of The Boy Born Dead here, in PDF format



About The Authors:

David Ring has been an internationally known speaker since 1973, sharing his story with over 100,000 people each year at churches, conventions, schools, and corporate events. He is frequently featured on national television outlets, such as TBN's Praise the Lord, The Old-Time Gospel Hour with Dr. Jerry Falwell, and Focus on the Family. He and his wife, Karen, live in Nashville, Tennessee. They have four children and three grandchildren.

John Driver is an educator-turned-pastor and ministry leader who created Ignition 7, a global initiative of videos, books, apps, and resources crafted to equip people to be sustained in their faith. He is the author or coauthor of more than a dozen books, including Reggie: You Can't Change Your Past, But You Can Change Your Future (with Reggie Dabbs) and the upcoming Diary of a Jackwagon (with comedian Tim Hawkins). He lives with his wife and daughter, Laura and Sadie, in Tennessee.

David Wideman has been a pastor at Christ Journey Church in Coral Gables, Florida, since 1983. As executive pastor for campus operations, he oversees the finances, facilities, and staffing for a multi-campus church reaching thousands on physical campuses and online. He and his wife, Jenna, have two adult children and live in Miami, Florida.

My Review:

What an absolutely amazing story of overcoming challenges and changing the world for God's glory! 

Before reading The Boy Born Dead, I had not heard of David Ring or his journey, so I was very interested in reading this book. I am so glad to have read it. 

The Boy Born Dead was an absolutely remarkable story of David and how he overcame death, and many other difficulties in his life, so that God could use him in an amazing way with an amazing ministry. He went through more than most of us could ever fathom and yet his hope stood the ground and by God's grace he is where he is today. 

This book and David's life and ministry are truly inspirational and anyone who picks up The Boy Born Dead will be changed forever after reading it. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Boy Born Dead at your favorite Christian book retailer from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

The Imposter: A Book Review

About The Book:

A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again . .

Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. 

What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She's been deceived once before, and she isn't planning on experiencing it again. 

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a tale of love, uncertainty, and trusting God to write your story


You can read an excerpt of The Imposter here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels includeAnna's Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

My Review:

Suzanne Woods Fisher has once again done a remarkable way to introducing the lifestyle of the Amish to the world. She has written a delightful read that covers a number of themes like overcoming hardships, leaning on God in difficulties and coming together as a community. The characters are delightful and I love how their stories were interwove so nicely. The biggest thrill was meeting new characters as well as old favorites from some of Ms. Fisher's novels.  Katrina's journey was challenging, without giving any spoilers, but I absolutely loved seeing her growth. The book was nicely written, had a fantastic pace and I overall, thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I cannot wait to see what is next for the Bishop family when book 2, The Quieting, releases in Spring 2016.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Imposter at your favorite Christian book retailer from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***