The Torchlighters Biography Series: Corrie ten Boom by Kaylena Radcliff

corrie

From the Christian History Institute comes a biography from their Heroes of the Faith line. Corrie ten Boom and her family are watchmakers in Holland. When World War II erupts, Hitler’s army takes over their country and begins rounding up their Jewish neighbors. Read the story of how one family stood strong in faith against a great evil.

Recommended for ages 8 – 12, this biography shares the life of Corrie ten Boom, her sister, Betsie, and their father who hid Jewish people from the Nazi army during World War II. They would end up arrested, some going to concentration camps, and Corrie struggled to hold onto her faith in such darkness. Her amazing story is shared in this biography that is accompanied by historical photographs, illustrations that match the artwork from the associated DVD, interesting facts about the Netherlands, a timeline and a glossary of terms.

My daughter and I watched the DVD together. In spots, I had some difficulty understanding what the characters were saying, but overall the sound quality is good. Some of the images–though animated–might be disturbing for the youngest viewers; like the scene of the Nazis banging on doors with the butts of their guns and yanking people out onto the streets. Betsie is beaten with a club by a German guard in the camp and an ill-mannered nurse informs Corrie when she comes to see her sister that she is “in there with the other dead bodies.” Female prisoners are seen being carted off in trucks to the gas chambers; but while Corrie looks upon the gas chambers, it is not made apparent to young viewers what is going on there. So there is definitely historical accuracy worked into this production.

This is a moving story that will remind readers/viewers of the power of forgiveness and how leaning on faith can bring you through adversity. I am glad to add this book and DVD to our home library. It would also make a fabulous addition to a church library.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)dvd

The Torchlighters Biography Series: Corrie ten Boom
Author: Kaylena Radcliff
Paperback: 85 pages
Publisher: Christian History Institute (May 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1563648733
ISBN-13: 978-1563648731
List price: $9.99

DVD

Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC
Language: English
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Vision Video
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2013
Run Time: 34 minutes

I received a copy of this book and DVD from the Christian History Institute. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

This post first appeared at the Christian Children’s Authors blog.

It’s a Gift! by Gabriela Keselman

giftTeaching the concepts of generosity and kindness just got easier with It’s a Gift! by Gabriela Keselman. The animals around Little Duck’s pool of water are all in a tizzy: Beaver hasn’t put on his hat, so the sun is burning his head; Squirrel has lost her nuts and has nothing to eat; Bear’s water jug tipped over and he has nothing to drink; and Mouse doesn’t have a pencil and can’t write down his poem. In a selfless act of friendship, Duck shares what he has with his friends, and they repay the favor when it’s time.

This is a lovely story that teaches children to think of others. Duck shares what he has even when it means his enjoyment is impacted. It’s an interesting concept that he shares to the point where he is left with absolutely nothing. I didn’t get why Duck couldn’t just share some of what he had or let the friend borrow something instead of giving it up entirely.

It’s still a nice story with a sweet message that is made even more meaningful by the delightful illustrations by Nora Hilb.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 3 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784929
ISBN-13: 978-8415784920

 

I received a copy of this book from the publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The Gardener’s Surprise by Carla Balzaretti

The Gardener’s Surprise  is a unique, beautiful story about one man’s passion for flowers and staying true to yourself.

Andrew is a msurpriseechanic repairing old freight trains and not making a lot of money. He and his family live in a tiny house where his love of gardening has filled that tiny home with beautiful flowers. One day, Andrew is offered a new job that pays much better and will provide him a new home and enough land to plant a large garden. It sounds wonderful, but this new job is full of surprises.

I love the idea behind this story, but I’m struggling with it too. The author has built a story that finds Andrew working at a place he’s opposed to and doing something about it. In this case, SPOILER AHEAD: instead of loading bombs on to war planes at his new job, he fills them with flower seeds to spread his collection in the countries far away that had declared war on each other. A nice concept, but I think it might lead to some unwanted questions–even from the youngest age group. No one wants war; but neither do we want war planes loaded with flower seeds if someone is in danger. I do believe, however, that the focus of staying true to your beliefs is an important one.

The pastel illustrations by Sonja Wimmer are stunning. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of her work. Combined with the lovely story, it’s an eye-catching and special book.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784600
ISBN-13: 978-8415784609

From the Family Bookshelf – July

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We’re still on vacation right now, but that means we’ve had a chance to get some reading done. Both girls signed up for the library’s summer reading program. The Lil’ Diva has already surpassed her goal. The Lil’ Princess is making her way to her goal.

Since our arrival, the Lil’ Diva has read Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick. The Lil’ Princess brought Half Upon a Time by James Riley with her from home, but she’s been tied up reading the recently released Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell. We bought it this week at Downtown Books in Manteo.

Dad has actually gotten some reading in too. He’s still slowly reading Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King. He’s also reading The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

As for me, I’ve been trying to catch up on my massive TBR pile. Before we left, I had read Four Corners or A Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple by Cary Smith and Breath of Spring by Charlotte Hubbard. Since we got here, I’ve managed to read A Nation Under Judgment by Richard Capriola and Corrie ten Boom by Kaylena Radcliff, part of the Torchlighters Series. I’m in the middle of Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey by Valerie Estelle Frankel.

That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Hope you’re enjoying your week.

Happy Fourth of July!

We can now say we’ve been at the Outer Banks during a hurricane. Hurricane Arthur blew through here last night. It was windy, rainy, and loud. Didn’t lose power; just the front porch screen. Actually, I hear the weather at home has been wicked too. Hope you’re enjoying some sunshine and warmth.

Here’s wishing our readers a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!

At the Beach

corrie

We’re taking a two week break to rest and relax on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I brought some books with me, as is my usual practice. Only one of them ended up being for the youth market.

Corrie ten Boom and her family are watchmakers in Haarlem, Holland, where they give what little they have to spread God’s love and help others. But everything changes when World War II erupts and Hitler’s army takes over their country. As the Nazis round up Corrie’s Jewish neighbors and send them to deadly concentration camps, she knows that something must be done to stop them. But what can one small family do in the face of such great evil?

Read the amazing true story of Corrie ten Boom, a Torchlighter® hero of the faith, and discover how her obedience to God saved lives and continues to inspire others today.

Paperback: 85 pages
Publisher: Christian History Institute (May 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1563648733
ISBN-13: 978-1563648731

My hope is to blog a few times while we’re away, so don’t go far.

First Chapter Review: The Stolen Herd by K. Madill (Win $25 Amazon GC)

1st Chapter Review TC&TBC

K. Madill is touring with Pump Up Your Book this month with her young adult fantasy novel, The Stolen Herd. Read to the end to see how you can enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]

BLURB: Mandamus is only a foal when his herd is captured by the terrible Rakhana Army. Rescued and raised in secrecy, he knows nothing of his heritage until a dreadful incident in the woods brings him to the attention of the Forest council – and everyone else. Sent away for his own protection, he is determined to seek help on behalf of the many animals who have gone missing from the forest, including his own family.

With the help of a troubled man and a stout-hearted bat, can Mandamus save his fellow creatures before it’s too late?

COVER: I’m not usually a fan of dark covers, but this one is stunning. The black of the horse, the white glint of his eyes, and the purples and pinks of the sky make for a fabulous piece of art that attracts readers.

FIRST CHAPTER: As the Rakhana Army closes in on the herd, Gideon takes their foal and dashes him to Daleth and Mareva to raise in secrecy.

KEEP READING: Filled with flowing descriptions and a multitude of characters, this opening chapter sets the scene for what will become of Mandamus after his herd is captured by the Rakhana Army. A butterfly, a bat, a herd of horses, a ruthless human army, and a special foal with white eyes who may be the stuff of legends make for an interesting cast. The strength of the world building is easy to see early on.  The hint of magic and the elegant writing in this first chapter definitely encourage me to follow along with the rest of Mandamus’ story.

 

Title:  The Stolen Herd

Author: K. Madill

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Paperback: 181 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace (February 20, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1482640023

ISBN-13: 978-1482640021

Kindle:B00GBQ9V8O

Purchase at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00GBQ9V8O

 

I received a copy of this book from the author. I have been paid a fee to promote this book with a book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

A chronic “head in the cloudser” K. Madill lives in a rickety house on a well treed street in British Columbia, Canada.  When she’s not hanging out with her best equine friend in the woods she can be found trying to stay upright on her roller skates or mediating the affairs of her various furred and feathered friends that rule the aforementioned rickety house. 

K. Madill’s website: kmadill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraiMadill1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643483-the-stolen-herd

 

Pump Up Your Book and K. Madill are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:

    • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
    • Raffle runs from 12:00 AM EST on June 2 through 12:00 AM EST on June 28, 2014.
    • Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
    • Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
    • Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.
    • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Stolen Herd Banner

Book of Dreams by Sylvie Michaud

Book of Dreams coverAn adorable bedtime story awaits you and your child in Book of Dreams, part of the Ringtail Family series by Sylvie Michaud.

Baby Raccoon asks his mama and papa why every cloud is a different shape. Responding that clouds are pictures in the sky to help us dream, Mama and Papa share with Baby the different things they dream about when they see certain types of clouds. This lulls Baby right to sleep and into dreamland.

Short, sweet, and charming are all words to describe this lovely picture book. Slowly flowing prose and pastel colored illustrations help your little one settle down for the night and fill her head with beautiful visions for a peaceful night. I love the way Michaud’s descriptions paint pictures for little ones that are complemented by the lovely artwork. Probably more description than usually found in a picture book, but it works well here. This is definitely a book I’ll be saving for my future grandchildren.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Crafty Canuck Inc. (March 28, 2012)
Language: English ISBN-10: 0978295587
ISBN-13: 978-0978295585

File Size: 3020 KB
Print Length: 21 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Crafty Canuck Inc. (March 13, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00BTPBX0Q
Purchase at:
Amazon soft cover: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family/dp/0978295587

Amazon digital: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family-ebook/dp/B00BTPBX0Q

B&N soft cover: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/book-of-dreams-the-ringtail-family-sylvie-michaud/1110202903

 

I purchased a copy of this book for my Kindle. The publisher paid me to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, which have not been compensated in any way. Book of Dreams banner

Interview with Darlene Laney, Author of The God Squad: Mission Him-Possible, the Distorted Mirror

darleneDarlene Laney is a wife, mother and grandmother residing in Fresno, California with her husband Carlos Laney.  She holds a Master’s degree in Education-Counseling and is a Board Certified Christian Counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors as well as a licensed Evangelist.  She is the developer and facilitator of Color Me Beautiful, an etiquette and social skills development program for tween and teen girls.  When Darlene isn’t facilitating her program, she enjoys reading, drawing, writing and spending time with her three grandchildren.   

You can learn more about the author and her books at: http://www.darlenelaney.com and http://www.godspecialforces.com      

Thank you for joining us today, Darlene. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m a passionate person.  I don’t believe in doing anything half-heartedly.  When I’m in, I’m in all the way.  That’s how I have been with my writing.  I don’t approach it casually; it is something I do every day regardless of how I’m feeling.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I guess I had to be eight or nine.  My favorite thing to do was writing about the “Rat Family.”  I could spend hours making up stories about them and I even put illustrations with the writings.  I stopped writing stories when I got in my teens but I kept a diary and later journals.  I gave up writing for a time when I was told by a writing instructor that I could not write. However, I kept writing my journals and made several attempts at starting a romance novel.  It wasn’t my best work but I kept on writing because I enjoy putting stories down on paper.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

After I finished the God’s Special Forces (GSF) Manual.  I had been working with girls teaching etiquette and social skills and wanted to come up with a way to make learning about self-esteem, body image, peer pressure and the like easier to understand.  I had been working on the God Squad for some time and decided to create a story about them that centered on challenges faced by tweens and teens today.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

It’s harder but a lot more fun!  Tweens and teens are full of surprises.  You can’t just put them in a box and come up with a standard response.  No, there can be a hundred different ways for them to respond to a particular situation. So when I’m developing the story, I will write an interaction or reaction over and over until it just sounds right.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?god squad

Developing the characters and making them believable. I want my characters to be memorable and someone the girls reading my books can identify with and hopefully want to emulate.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Six ordinary girls ranging in ages from 12 – 15 years attending Carver Preparatory going about their ordinary lives.  Then they get the call…Calling all girls! Calling all girls!! And things become anything but ordinary.  Transformed, empowered, and dressed for battle, they become the God Squad on a Mission Him-Possible.  Their mission is to befriend and help a fellow student overly concerned with being accepted by the popular group and willing to do just about anything to belong.

What inspired you to write it?

My granddaughters and all the girls that have been a part of the God’s Special Forces program.  I’ve watched these girls be transformed by the Word, empowered by the Holy Spirit and learn to walk in the knowledge of who they are in Christ, God’s workmanship—his masterpiece—go on to be the confident and capable young women God intended them to be.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and my website: http://www.darlenelaney.com

What is up next for you?

The next episode of the God Squad in Mission Him-Possible.

Do you have anything else to add?

I hope everyone reading this interview will buy a copy of my book; but I especially hope that if you know of a girl that has a negative self image or is being challenged by the pressure put on her by her peers, I hope you will get them a copy of this book.  It’s an easy and enjoyable read!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Darlene. We wish you much success.

Thank you!

Interview with Stephanie Ward, Author of Wally, The Warm-Weather Penguin

Steph ProfileStephanie M. Ward is the author of the children’s book, Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin. Stephanie has been writing in various forms over the last 20 years. Most notably she spent over 15 years in PR and Marketing at Amazon and Fujitsu writing everything from press releases to white papers, executive bios to product blurbs. Stephanie’s wanderlust finally got the best of her and she spent a year traveling across all seven continents. It was then that she decided to focus on writing stories for children about amazing places around the world. Stephanie currently lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and young son.

Author Website & Blog –  http://www.stephaniemward.com

Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/wallythewarmweatherpenguin

Twitter – http://twitter.com/stephmward

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Spokane, Washington on the west coast of the U.S. but left for college in California and have been living in various places around the world ever since.

When did you begin writing?

As a child I loved to read and write and in school I excelled in English classes. Not surprisingly, my professional work involved a lot of writing. Then in a break between marketing jobs, I started writing for an online travel magazine and contributed to the book Tana’s Habitat: The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Affording Your First Places. I started writing children’s stories on a year-long honeymoon traveling around the world and that’s when I decided that some day I wanted to be a writer. “Some day” came two years ago when I left the corporate world to focus on publishing Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin.

What is this book about?

Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is the story of Wally, an Emperor Penguin from Antarctica, who is always cold and dreams of life on a tropical island. When Wally learns about the Galapagos Islands, he sets sail immediately and discovers an amazing world of tap-dancing crabs, racing hundred-year-old tortoises and diving birds with bright blue feet.

What inspired you to write it?WallyCover

Visiting Antarctica and being amidst Emperor Penguins in the icy conditions made me wonder why they didn’t just pack up and go somewhere warmer. A couple of months later, I was in the Galapagos Island and saw a colony of Galapagos Penguins and there was the story: What if an Emperor Penguin learned that he could live on a warm, tropical island?

The Galapagos Islands is an amazing place with so many unique plants and animals. In publishing Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, I wanted to give back to the place that inspired the story. To that end, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is donated to the Galapagos Conservancy (galapagos.org) to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

We took a fairly unique approach to publishing Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin and issued an ebook edition first. The full-color illustrations are arranged in a fixed format and optimized to be read on a tablet or computer, so each spread is perfectly laid out on any device. Once we learned how to create this layout, it was smooth sailing.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is available on Amazon websites worldwide.

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1q0qzoc

Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/1t50d2w

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1iYsY9o

Amazon.com.au: http://bit.ly/wallypenguin

Amazon.de: http://amzn.to/1lPKKjS

Amazon.es: http://amzn.to/1iYtkNf

Amazon.fr: http://amzn.to/1lPL8i8

Amazon.in: http://bit.ly/wallypenguinINDIA

Amazon.it: http://amzn.to/1lPLk0Z

Amazon.co.jp: http://amzn.to/1jVLiFy

Amazon.com.br: http://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00JN79R0K

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

Yes. I created a “teaser trailer” before Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin was published. It’s available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apbBIngs4Wk.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write your story. If your story can’t be defined in a specific genre or written in the traditional format, there are many options for authors to get a book into readers hands. I have met some talented indie authors whose wonderful children’s books are longer than the 1000 word maximum that an agent will accept for review. And I recently read a fantastic novella that is the perfect length, but in traditional publishing may have been expanded or reduced to a short story or looked over completely due to the number of pages. It’s a whole new world in publishing today, so don’t worry that your idea doesn’t “fit”, just write your story!

What is up next for you?

Currently, I’m working on a picture book version of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin for older children. I hope to have this edition out by the end of 2014.

Beyond that, there are so many interesting (and warm) places that Wally wants to visit! I’ll be writing Wally’s next adventure in the coming months.