Crystal The Christmas Angel by Theresa Oliver

Crystal the Christmas Angel

Every angel in Heaven is preparing for a big event…except Crystal. They won’t allow her to help because she is too little. But God doesn’t think so. Crystal soon finds herself playing an important role in delivering God’s greatest gift to the world.

Crystal The Christmas Angel by Theresa Oliver is a sweet story centered around the birth of Jesus. It shows how one little angel can make a difference; just like one child can make a difference–even when the adults around her can’t see it. The illustrations by Deanna McRae are beautiful. With its larger size (8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches) and the artist’s smart use of color, the book is sure to capture the eyes of young people.

Where I believe the book may have some challenges is in the story length, the typographical errors, and its straying away from the documented story of the first Christmas.

While there is no stated age for this book, the standard picture book age is three to eight years old. A sixty-six page picture book, therefore, doesn’t make it ideal for bedtime reading. The book attempts to cover nearly every aspect of the Christmas story instead of focusing on one part of it or condensing the rest of the events to get to the important conclusion.

There are many instances of a missing “w” in the word “was” and at one point the word “stat” is used instead of “star.” When writing for early readers, accuracy is important.

Some adult readers may have issues with the liberties the author takes with the Christmas story. Since I write faith-based fiction for children where fictional characters are integrated into Biblical events, I feel this is something I can truly speak to. I will also attempt to do so without giving away the plot. Crystal’s role in bringing God’s gift to Earth is significant. Her role changes–for lack of a better word–the traditional story we share with our children about the First Christmas. My personal belief is that the author could have shared the same inspiring message with young readers without affecting the integrity of the Biblical story. Stubby’s Destiny by Dixie Phillips shared a similar message (even the tiniest, lowliest of us can make a difference) with readers surrounding the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday; and she did so without altering any of the Biblical facts surrounding the event.

That said, the way in which Crystal The Christmas Angel  is written could also engage persons outside of the Christian faith to read it. The message is an important reminder for all of us who sometimes discount a child’s abilities and it will inspire young people to keep trying. It’s definitely a lovely story and worth taking a look at.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 66 pages
Publisher: Write More Publications; first edition (December 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692600531
ISBN-13: 978-0692600535

I received a copy of this book from the author though Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

For More Information

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Colonial Comics Edited by Jason Rodriguez

comics

Colonial Comics is a graphic novel collection of true stories about the colonial period in New England.These illustrated stories focus on tales you cannot find in history books. Includes stories about free thinkers, Pequots, Jewish settlers, female business owners and dedicated school teachers, whales and livestock, slavery and frontiers, and many other aspects of colonial life.

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 4 and up
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (October 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938486307
ISBN-13: 978-1938486302

Purchase here!

Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine

Powder-Monkey

Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine is a heartrending, powerful story of survival and perseverance.

Tommy is taken by the press gang and forced into servitude for the Royal Navy. It is a tough life for a farm boy, but he learns to survive by being willing to do the jobs many of the other boys do not like to do.

This is a book for middle grade readers that shares a part of British history that is about as attractive as the years the United States was divided by slavery. It’s not a light story for youngsters to enjoy. Instead, it’s a story to teach children about the difficulties in our past and what they can learn from them.

Tommy’s story is brought to life by McDine’s captivating story and the stunning illustrations of K.C. Snider–one of my favorite artists. The emotions Snider captures in this book are so realistic you can’t help but be touched by them; especially the two at the end of the book. This author and artist should collaborate often.

Powder Monkey would make a great addition to any school or home library.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; large type edition edition (May 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616333855
ISBN-13: 978-1616333850

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Kindle Bargain: Rivka’s Way by Teri Kanefield

rivka

Rivka has never been beyond the walls of Prague’s Jewish quarter. One day she ventures outside . . and nothing will ever be the same.

File Size: 923 KB
Print Length: 154 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Armon Books (October 20, 2011)
Publication Date: October 20, 2011
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B005XR5NES

Purchase here for only 99 cents!

Teri writes novels, short stories, essays, stories for children, nonfiction for both children and adults, and lots of legal briefs.

Her stories and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Scope Magazine, The Iowa Review, Cricket Magazine, and The American Literary Review.

Teri’s law practice is limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes that when the rights of society’s most vulnerable members are denied, everybody’s rights are imperiled. She also believes that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies.

She lives in California near the beach.

Visit Teri online at http://terikanefield.com

My Laura Ingalls Wilder Adventure

little house

 

Perhaps you didn’t know exactly how nerdy I am, but once I tell you what I am doing you will know for sure. I leave Tuesday for a Laura Ingalls Wilder adventure. I am flying to Wisconsin, where I will meet an Ingalls relative and a Wilder relative. We, along with three other Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie (television show) fans, will be spending the following eight days visiting some Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and attending a 40th Anniversary Little House on the Prairie Cast Reunion taking place in Walnut Grove, Minnesota over the weekend.

Told you. Total nerd.

This will be the only time I do something like this. My girls aren’t into my whole obsession, so I knew if I planned this it would have to be just me and my friends. I’m not bringing much technology, so I won’t be blogging or posting pictures online until we get back. I’ll be sharing my adventures when we return at my Laura Ingalls Wilder blog: http://lauralittlehouseontheprairie.blogspot.com/

Guest Blogger: Michaela MacColl, Author of Always Emily (Giveaway)

Always Emily_FC

Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.

What’s Up with That Title? by Michaela MacColl

This week my new book Always Emily comes out. It’s the next novel in my series of literary mysteries – this one is about the Bronte sisters.  Charlotte Bronte (who would write Jane Eyre) is 18 and her sister Emily (of Wuthering Heights fame) is 17. The sisters get involved in a mystery on their very own moors – a mystery that threatens their peace of mind, their brother and father and even their lives.

If my story is about two sisters, what’s up with that title? Always Emily? I’ve had lots of  people ask me (especially my husband who gets this book mixed up with my last one about Emily Dickinson).  The truth is this book was originally written in alternating chapters, first Charlotte then Emily. These sisters, despite having an identical upbringing, were completely different from one another.

Charlotte was the eldest sister and she assumed responsibility for the family. She’s the one with the plan – to keep the family solvent, to find employment and to get the sisters published.  Emily, on the other hand, had zero ambitions other than to wander the moors and write her wild, uninhibited poetry and stories. Naturally Charlotte wrote about the repressed and moral Jane Eyre, while Emily penned a gothic melodrama of illicit love and revenge.

Jane Eyrewuthering heights

 

Ultimately I found the alternating narration way too confining. It didn’t seem fair to the reader to leave Charlotte locked in a trunk about to suffocate and then shift to Emily doing the most mundane of chores.  So I switched to a third person, but let each sister own their own chapters.  It worked so much better but I had to answer that pressing question, who is the main character?

bronte

I’m the eldest in my family and I’m the one who likes to plan – so my preference was Charlotte of course. But Emily was so much more fun! And if there’s to be a romance (and in these literary mysteries there is always a hint of some love in the air) Emily seems the more likely candidate. So Emily won out by a hair – Charlotte has adventures, but Emily is the main player.

Charlotte quite reasonably resents her sister’s lack of responsibilities. And how aggravating that Emily is the sister that attracts the masculine attention that Charlotte craved. More than once Charlotte mutters, “Emily, it’s always Emily.”

My editor and I liked this as a title because it sounds so romantic – but really it’s the lament of the plainer, older, duller sister. It’s always Emily!

Thanks for reading. I’d love to have you visit at www.michaelamaccoll.com , or follow me on Twitter at @MichaelaMacColl or check out Author Michaela MacColl on Facebook.

 

Read an excerpt at http://www.scribd.com/doc/198642656/Always-Emily

CCSS-Aligned Discussion/Teacher’s Guide at http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/AlwaysEmily_DiscussionGuide_FINAL.pdf

Win a signed copy of Always Emily!

Leave a comment, including your email address, for a chance to win an autographed copy of Always Emily by Michaela MacColl!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Giveaway ends 11:59 PM EST on May 1, 2014.
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to claim the prize.
  • Prize will be shipped directly to the winner by the author or her representative.
  • This blog is not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.
  • Void where prohibited.

 

On My Kindle

alchemy

The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

bone field

In this sequel to Belle of the Glades, the holiday season brings mystery and adventure for Belle and her Indian friend, Summer. At the Bone Field, they find clues of a Bigfoot, but Belle’s uncle dismisses the signs. Belle and Summer set out to befriend the mysterious stranger with food gifts, but he has reason to stay hidden. Is he a real Bigfoot? How does Belle solve the mystery?

games

Eleanor Parkhurst is determined to get in the way of Nathaniel Naverly seducing her sweet cousin Rose. Nate has a history of treating girls badly and Ellie suspects his intentions are far from honorable. Getting Nate to switch his attention to her seemed like a good plan, but Ellie didn’t foresee that she might have to protect her own heart from his schemes as well. The game is proving a challenge. Midnight meetings, fighting or kissing, it’s all part of the fun of flirting. Set in an English boarding school, Ellie and her American new best friend, Flora, discover that boys are more complicated than classes, and you have to play the game well or you might just get played!

guinevere
She is a mere child of twelve. But in these medieval days, this is the age when childish things must be put away and greater responsibilities accepted–all in preparation for a betrothal of marriage.

For young Lady Guinevere, on the advent of her thirteenth Birth Day, the whole idea is quite unbearable. After all, what could be better than spending her youth playing with her best friend Cedwyn, roaming the grounds around the castle looking for mythical creatures or hunting rabbits?

However, the wizard Merlyn–her teacher and friend–knows that destiny has a way of catching up with a person. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that will lead Guinevere to her destiny whether she is ready for it or not.

down under

When a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured into writing to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance as they deal with their everyday problems. Back and forth the letters go: Josh shares his daily problems, and Grandma Rose shares past memories that astonish her grandson and his friend Kelly.

The Xbox gathers dust, as the two friends find themselves bike riding and bird watching – and actually reading. Googling the weird and wonderful Aussie critters that come to Rose’s garden becomes a fun hobby. Soon, Andy and Gradma Rose shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.

** Glossary of Australian and words included.

billy

Young Billy loves the game of baseball. He can’t wait to play and hang around with his team mates. But Billy’s team mates don’t take to him right away and Billy struggles hitting.