Peter: Rock Star from Galilee by Sherree G. Funk

If the New Testament were a Broadway musical, Peter would be one of the stars. He lived life loud, while making his best effort to be one of the best disciples. Peter was like a modern day rock star, but his struggles were just like ours. If Jesus could shape Peter into a solid rock of a disciple, he can surely do the same for you.

From his first call to follow, Peter was acutely aware of his own sinfulness. He wanted Jesus to go away, but ended up following. What makes people push Jesus away today? What makes them decide to follow? These are the kinds of “chew on this” questions you’ll find in Week One of Peter: Rock Star from Galilee.

Music always speaks to a deep place in the heart. Let music accompany your Bible study. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee will guide you through the ups and downs of Peter’s life story with a playlist of songs and hymns paralleling each chapter.

To better understand the feelings Peter had after denying Jesus three times, listen to Josh Wilson’s “Before the Morning.” Feel the love Christ had for all people even as he died by listening to the lyrics of “Amazing Love” by Chris Tomlin. By the end of the eight week study, you will create your own playlist of at least eight songs to bring back all you learned about Peter.

This eight-week study includes:
• Interactive questions for personal study and “chew on this” questions for small group discussion
• Photographs, maps, and informative sidebars for historical and geographical context
• Hands-on mission activities and discipleship challenges to encourage teens’ growing faith

Read an Excerpt!

If the New Testament were a Broadway musical, Peter would be one of the stars. The superstar was Jesus Christ, but Peter would be a rock star. Peter attracted attention by doing outrageous things; he was a “sinful man” by his own admission. Emotional, impetuous, and edgy, Peter spiced up the stories of Jesus. He thought he could be the best disciple, but even his best intentions led to miserable failure. Then following the resurrection, after a special beach breakfast with Jesus, Peter’s career took off. He performed miracles, drew crowds, preached to thousands, got busted by the Pharisees, and broke down the Jew-Gentile barrier. And he did it all for the sake of Jesus. From a rickety fishing boat on Lake Galilee, to the grand courts of Herod’s Temple, to the villages of Joppa and Caesarea, Peter rocked the world around him.

We love Peter as much for his fears and failures as for the times he got it right. If impulsive Peter could become a rock-solid disciple, maybe there is hope for us too. Join me as we explore Peter’s bumpy road to stardom in light of his tight friendship with the God-man, Jesus.

Each week of the Bible study begins with a list of songs whose lyrics pertain to the week’s study. Listen to them if you can. Five days of guided study follow. It works best if you answer the questions on your own before gathering weekly with your small group. And each week ends with a set of discussion questions for your group. Pray that God will speak to you personally as you study.

Before you begin, take time to get to know the others in your study group. Write everyone’s name on the blank page opposite and jot down whatever short prayer each person requests.

Read the Reviews!

“Peter’s impulsiveness and failures make him an easy character for young men and women to relate to. As your students dive into this Bible study I have no doubt that they will be challenged and transformed by the lessons Sherree has assembled here.”

–Jayson Samuels, Co-Founder and Family Pastor, Northbridge Community Church, Cranberry, PA 

Watch the video trailer on Vimeo!

 

Peter: Rock Star from Galilee Tour Schedule

Monday, August 1st

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Book spotlighted at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Tuesday, August 2nd

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, August 3rd

Guest blogging at Review from Here

Thursday, August 4th

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Friday, August 5th

Book Reviewed at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Monday, August 8th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, August 9th

Book reviewed at Book Journey

Wednesday, August 10th

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, August 11th

Book spotlighted at Called to Youth Ministry

Friday, August 12th

Book spotlighted at Broowaha

Monday, August 15th

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, August 16th

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Thursday, August 18th

Book reviewed at So Many Books..So Little Time

Friday, August 19th

Book reviewed at A Mom After God’s Own Heart

Monday, August 22nd

Book reviewed at Lynn’s Corner

Tuesday, August 23rd

Interviewed at Lynn’s Corner

Wednesday, August 24th

Book reviewed at Books, Products and More!

Thursday, August 25th

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Friday, August 26th

Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag

Well-grounded in biblical Christianity, Sherree G. Funk is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of God’s Word with the next generation. She has earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and holds a Certificate in Christian Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. Sherree leads small groups of teens at Ingomar UMC. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee is her latest release. Her other teen Bible studies are available at www.servingonelord.com.

My Brother the Frog by Kevin McNamee

 What do you do if you want to change your brother–or sister–into a frog? In this funny and imaginative story by Kevin McNamee, young readers get to take a look at sibling rivalry in a silly way.

My Brother the Frog is McNamee’s latest release through Guardian Angel Publishing. A young boy decides to change his annoying brother into a frog, which makes everyone mad. When he tries to change him back, he finds it’s not so simple. Suddenly his brother is a very big duckling, then a chicken. They have to make it through many more animal changes before the boy learns something about his brother and about himself too.

This is just one zany story. At first I really wasn’t sure where McNamee was going with it. Then as I moved further along and saw how this annoying brother, now in animal form, is helpful to the boy, I realized the subtle message the author relayed with his silly story. Yes, siblings can be pests at times, but they also can do nice things.

Alexander Morris provided the artwork for this book. I liked how he managed to capture the brother’s face in each animal once he was changed. I loved the last illustration. I won’t tell you what it is, but it is perfect and made me laugh so hard I thought I would fall out of my chair.

I’ve enjoyed every one of McNamee’s books that I’ve read, and My Brother the Frog is no exception. He knows how to reach kids right where they are with fabulous books and unique storylines they’ll enjoy. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-10:1616331593
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616331597
  • SRP:  $10.95 (softcover)

Also available in a hardcover edition.

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide my review.

Interview with YA Author Christine E. Schulze

Joining us today is Christine Schulze, author of Bloodmaiden. Her collection of YA fantasy books, The Amielian Legacy, is comprised of series and stand-alone books which can all be read separately but which weave together to create an amazing fantasy.
Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WE book online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange.

Her latest and most exciting venture includes her publications with Old Line Publishing: Bloodmaiden and Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. She also anticipates her upcoming publication with Old Line, Lily in the Snow, as well as releasing The Chronicles of the Mira with Writers-Exchange in both paperback and electronic forms.

Christine currently lives in Belleville, Illinois.

Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Christine. It’s wonderful to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


First of all, thank you very much for having me; I am delighted to take part in this interview!

Well, that’s one thing about me: I love interviews. As well as blog posts, character interviews, in short, anything to do with my books. That is because, ever since I was a small child, I’ve loved my books, both creating them and sharing them with friends, hoping to someday share them with the world.

I also love composing music for my books, photography, singing, playing piano, playing video games (okay, well, mostly games in The Legend of Zelda series), and hanging out with friends, especially my best friend and sweetheart, Jonny.

Oh, and as all authors, I’m full of quirks. I hardly ever write a book in order from chapter one to the end, I’m allergic to milk and sugar, I love to name everything (especially Kiwi, my favorite teacher’s car), and I am a bit of a stalker when pursuing a new “character” of mine (hence my knowing what my favorite teacher’s car looks like).

When did you begin writing?

I’ve actually been writing since I was around four. The first books I created were just full of illustrations telling the story. However, my first book with both pictures and words came when I was a flower girl in a wedding and the bride requested one of my books as a wedding gift. Thus, Jonny to the Rescue was born. It would spark the inspiration for my now-published series, The Legends of Surprisers (and, interestingly enough, Jonny turned out to be the name of my soul mate).


Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write whenever I am inspired. Of course, this is rather difficult when one is still at one’s day job–and very annoying. I am actually very cranky when I have a wonderful idea until I am able to get home and jot it down.

What is this book about?

Bloodmaiden is both fantasy and adventure, sweet romance and horror, humor and suspense. It tells the story of a young couple, Crisilin and Chalom, who must defy all odds–and a horrible tradition–to save their dynasty of Tynan, and thus all Sulaimon. Sulaimon is divided into four dynasties ruled by dragons who are meant to protect the human races living beside them. But something has gone terribly wrong in Tynan, and only the Aria, protective strains of an ancient song created by guardian fairies, can save Tynan. If, of course, Crisilin and Chalom can find all the parts of the Aria first.

What inspired you to write it?

Bloodmaiden came about through a variety of factors. First off, I was taking my first fiction class in college, and this spurred me to focus not just on the characters and plot, but more heavily on the writing of a book. The opening chapters of Bloodmaiden are full of rich, metaphorical imagery. They are also in first person, present tense, to make the readers really feel like they are “there”.

Secondly, Jonny and I had done a photo shoot on myself in a red gown and cape; I always forget if the ideas for the book or photos came first, but doing the photo shoot really helped set the mood for Bloodmaiden. The photos can be seen on my blog and in a trailer I made for Bloodmaiden on Youtube, which also includes music to accompany the book. Yes, I went all out for this one and still envision it one day–hopefully–breaching the big screen.
A final factor included the fact that, while I had done fairies, elves, unicorns, vampires, banshees, genies, you name it, I’d never done dragons. Maybe because I’d never really liked dragon books that much. So, determined to create a book with dragons that I myself would enjoy, the four dragon dynasties were created and grafted into the book.

Who is your biggest supporter?

If I may, my biggest supporter(s) are my Mumsie and my Jonny.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

No, I am not. But I have wonderful friends, a wonderful and very critical sweetheart, and have always had the opportunity to work with and learn from wonderful editors.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

Definitely planning on procuring an agent. I’m not actively seeking right now, but hope to be able to in the next year or so. Right now, I’m working on beefing up my writing resume.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

No, because even my mistakes or hasty decisions have provided great learning experiences.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Someday, I hope for Bloodmaiden, as well as all of my books, to be available in brick-and-mortar stores. Until then, readers can find my book on websites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, as well as the publisher’s site; http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes. I always tell everyone to go to my page on Goodreads; not only do I have a blog there, but there are book reviews and I often host giveaways of my books.

I also have a blog readers should check out: http://www.thegoldenhealer.blogspot.com/.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. Readers can find several on Youtube:
1. From Old Line Publishing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAd3ieiCKGc

2. From Apex Reviews

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzg-VSD-x30

3. Author-made (includes original music and artwork)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8s8HGXFPb4

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Honestly, probably this and other blog tours. A great way to get good reviews and publicity. My giveaways have also been great to garner interest from brand-new readers.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never give up! Whether you wish to share your work with the world like myself or just with family and friends, always be learning and perfecting your craft. God has given you a gift, so use it well.

What is up next for you?

Well, several exciting things actually. First off, a new YA fantasy release from Old Line Publishing, an anthology called Lily in the Snow and Other Elemental Tales, due out in October. Also, from Writers-Exchange, The Chronicles of the Mira, another YA Christian fantasy anthology due out sometime this year. In the meantime, I’m working on both a children’s book and a YA book for Book By You, a publisher specializing in personalized books. This is an exciting new venture for me, one that will get me closer to my ultimate goal of building up a professional writing resume to present to a literary agent, hopefully in the near future.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Christine. We wish you continued success.

Stilts, the Stork by Dixie Phillips

What do you think would happen if a silly stork thought golf balls were eggs? If you read Stilts, the Stork by Dixie Phillips, you’ll find out. In this rhyming tale, Stilts, the Stork flies over New York and past Peru to discover a bunch of people bouncing up and down and zipping around in carts. She is soon thrilled when she finds an orphaned egg. She’s eager to call her brother and tell him all about it. She builds her nest and gets ready to become a mama. But every day she keeps finding more eggs to rescue and she’s sure she’s going to have quite a brood.

Stilts, the Stork is a delightful story that will make kids laugh; though I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t set to rhyme. The confines of creating musical prose can be tough to work with. It’s the same great storytelling I’ve come to expect from Phillips, but there were moments when the words didn’t flow smoothly as I read it aloud.

K.C. Snider does a fine job capturing the antics of Stilts and the lovely golf course background. My favorite page is when Stilts is getting ready to build her nest and is dancing a jig.

It’s nice to read a book that is created just for fun. Stilts, the Stork  definitely fits the bill. Families who enjoy golfing will get a kick out of this one.

Rating:  :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-10:1616331437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616331436
  • SRP:  $10.95

 

 

 

 

 

Horrid Henry Wakes the Dead by Francesca Simon

Horrid Henry is back with a bunch of new and funny adventures in Horrid Henry Wakes the Dead by Francesca Simon.

In this collection of four hilarious stories, Horrible Henry fights over the remote with his annoying little brother, Perfect Peter. Henry is up against Moody Margaret for School Council President. Just imagine all the things Horrid Henry can do if he’s elected. When Grandma brings Henry and Peter presents, you know they have to get into a fight over the best one. Everyone is excited about the school talent show; especially when they learn that a famous TV presenter will be selecting the winner  and he or she will get a chance to appear on a TV show. Henry enlists the help of his brother Peter with unexpected results.

As much as I loved Horrid Henry Rocks, this book is ten times better. What a great way to get reluctant readers to crack open a book. These stories are all out there with the zany characters that Simon has created. Moody Margaret is at her moodiest. Anxious Andrew is at his most anxious. And Horrid Henry is truly horrid as he tries to outwit parents, teachers, and peers alike.

Tony Ross does a superb job with the artwork in Horrid Henry Wakes the Dead. From the moaning TV to Henry dreaming of being a hawk who swoops in and scoops up Mrs. Oddbod in his beak for a tasty snack, these illustrations are just as outrageous as the stories themselves.

I think I’m going to need to clear off a shelf in my house for a Horrid Henry collection.  I want them all!

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Paperback:112 pages
  • Publisher:Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
  • ISBN-10:1402259344
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402259340
  • SRP: $4.99

Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner

Many of us are sitting back and enjoying the summer fun. For some kids and parents, however, the nervous first day of school is arriving sooner rather than later. I suggest they consider picking up a copy of Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner.

Sea monster Ernest is afraid of fitting in when he’s so much larger and different from everyone else. Luckily there is so much for him to learn and do at school. Can he hope to even find a friend?

Sea Monster’s First Day is a wonderful, delightful story that will help young children cope with starting school. As a teacher, Messner recognizes that it’s hard to make new friends, especially if you feel you’re a bit different from the others and it seems like everyone already belongs. This book also helps youngsters realize that as they learn together, things are made easier, and perhaps there is one special friend or group of friends they will be drawn to. Sea Monster’s First Day truly encourages kids to be excited about that first day and all the school days to come.

The artwork by Andy Rash is so great. I visited his website and glanced at some of the other books he’s written and illustrated. Agent A to Agent Z caught my eye. I’ll have to get my hands on that one. Rash’s work in Sea Monster’s First Day is superb. He captured the whimsical nature of Messner’s story to perfection.

I highly recommend Sea Monster’s First Day for any child experiencing first day of school jitters.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Chronicle Books
  • ISBN-10:0811875644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811875646
  • SRP: $16.99

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide this review.

 

A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart

A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart is a gentle and important reminder to young people that fish make our world a beautiful place and we need to make sure we don’t do anything to harm them.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico, we can find a variety of aquatic friends: hammerhead sharks, lined seahorses, smalltooth sawfishes, and spotted trunkfishes to name a few. Stewart brings young readers through a story of how human action, and sometimes inaction, can create issues for our friends living in the water. With tons of facts and stunning illustrations provided by Higgins Bond, your child can learn ways to help protect these important creatures.

A Place for Fish is just one book in Stewart’s A Place For series. For more information on these books, please visit http://www.melissa-stewart.com/

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Peachtree Publishers
  • ISBN-10:1561455628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561455621
  • SRP:  $16.95

This book was unsolicited, so I don’t know its origins. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler

 

Pig Kahuna is a great summer read!

Brothers Fergus and Dink love hanging out at the beach. The water rolls in and leaves behind wonderful treasures. One day, it leaves behind the greatest treasure of all: Dave the surfboard. But when Dink realizes Dave misses the ocean, Fergus will have to overcome his fear of the water to save his prized possession.

This is such a fun book. You have two little pig brothers–one afraid of water–who hang at the beach to collect neat things. It reminds me of what our girls do when we visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina each year. Fergus and Dink pick up their special treasures until they come to the best treasure ever. They find new uses for their loyal companion and all is well until Dink tosses Dave back into the ocean and Fergus has brave the “lurking, murky ickiness factor of the water.” Sattler’s style is simple, but effective.

With fun and colorful illustrations, kids will have a blast with this one.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10:159990635X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599906355
  • SRP: $14.99

I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide my review.

Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann

So engaging it could be fiction, Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story by Janet Halfmann should be in American classrooms everywhere.

The story of Robert Smalls begins in 1939 with his birth into slavery in Charleston, South Carolina. A favored servant, Smalls has a decent life for a slave, but he witnesses firsthand the cruelty of this Peculiar Institution. As he grows from child into man, Smalls falls in love and longs for freedom for him and his family. Seven Miles to Freedom shares how he leads a plot to steal a Confederate steamboat and pilots it into Union held territory.

What a fascinating story! My Civil War collection is the most extensive in my home library. I have numerous non-fiction titles about a variety of topics on the War between the States. I will proudly add Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann to my collection.

Having enjoyed Halfmann’s Good Night, Little Sea Otter and Fur and Feathers, I knew the writing would be superb; but it can be difficult to make history interesting for young readers. Halfmann makes it look easy. It’s a true historical action adventure on the Atlantic. I wasn’t sure how I would like the impressionistic artwork for this book, but in the end I decided that Duane Smith’s creations were the perfect complement to the story. His style allows the reader to imagine this being any African-American slave’s story. Granted it is Smalls’s story, but the fact remains there were many brave African-Americans who helped the Union win the Civil War.

It’s no wonder that Seven Miles to Freedom has won so many honors and awards.  If you want to teach your children history in an engaging manner, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this one.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Lee & Low Books
  • ISBN-10:9781600602320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600602320
  • SRP:  $17.95

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide this review.

Mr. Topper, the Pot-bellied Pig by Liam Maher

Mr. Topper, the Pot-bellied Pig  is a delightful story of a potbellied pig searching for a new home.

Mr. Topper has no one to care for him. He lives on his own and it doesn’t seem to bother him much until one very cold winter. He decides to search for a new home and someone to pet and pamper him. But he is turned away time and again. Finally he discovers the home of a lowly woodcutter. He pretends he is lucky so that the woodcutter will take him in. Soon they both discover how lucky Mr. Topper is.

This is a fun book. You have a talking pig, a billionaire, a billionairess, a woodcutter, and the tooth fairy rolled into one fantastic and silly fairy tale. Kids will find a talking pig to be a blast, especially as he’s trying to weasel his way into a new home by claiming to be lucky. Hailing to Ireland, the land of Maher’s birth, many of the wonderful illustrations provided by Vanda Lavar include four-leaf clovers. Like his other book, Golden Daffodils, magic and fairies play a role in this one.

One tiny nitpick is the number of errors in the book. This is unusual for a GAP title, which is why it caught my eye. In addition to the title being different on the cover than it is on the inside, potbellied is spelled with a hyphen on the cover and without it inside the book, and there are other misspellings within the story. When it comes to children’s books, I feel it is of great importance that errors be kept to a minimum.

That aside, it’s a wonderful story and I truly enjoyed it.

Rating:  :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-10:1616330570
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616330576
  • SRP:  $9.95

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide my review.