Guess Who Noah’s Boat By Matt Mitter; illustrated by Ela Jarzabek

This book checks all the boxes for being a great book for preschoolers! It is never too early to start teaching little one’s Bible stories. This is an excellent introduction to the story of Noah’s ark for small hearts and minds.
The characters are sweet and engaging. The bright colors add to the attractiveness and attention grabbing quality of the book. The children love rhyming words and they retain more information when it is presented in this way. The story does an outstanding job of conveying the bare bone basics of Noah’s story.
I have yet to see a child that is not delighted with interactive books. This one accomplishes that in two ways. First at the end of the paragraph on each page the child is asked the question, “Guess Who”. After a reading it a few times, they will enjoy being able to give the answer. (I promise you they will be asking to read this book many times!) Second there is a flap with the picture/answer hidden behind it. My grandkids absolutely love flap books.
I appreciate the sturdiness and glossy finish that will enable the child to look at the book alone. It will also be easy to clean the pages. A book you will want to give young children you know. I think it would make a great baby shower gift and addition to a church nursery.
I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

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The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers By Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears have long been a classic favorite in our home, with my children, grandchildren, and even me! The wholesome stories with wonderful character lessons and the entertaining illustrations can’t be beat.
I was excited to see there was now a Christian series, but also somewhat skeptical when I learned the books were by Stan and Jan’s Berenstain’s son, Mike. How could he ever live up to his parents’ talent? What a pleasant surprise! The quality is still the same! In fact, I can’t tell that his parent’s didn’t write it. I read the book to my biggest book critic, my 9 year old granddaughter. She of course was immediately interested when she saw it was a Berenstain Bear book!
The story line involves a common problem in schools today, bullying. One group pitted against another with all the tension and arguing that follows. Brother and Sister Bear are with neither group but friends with everyone. It finally escalates to the point that even the parents got involved during a school play. Squire Grizzly, Mayor Honeypot and Preacher Brown had to step in. The preacher reminded everyone what the Bible said about peace, and the fight ended.
As it should be, the Bible was the foundation of not only Brother and Sister Bear’s conduct, but in the end everyone’s. My granddaughter immediately related to the problems the cubs faced at school and shared things she had experienced in her school. The questions at the end of the book sparked a lot of conversation about how to deal with bullying in her life God’s way. There were also 2 fun activities related to being a peacemaker. Another Berenstain classic you will want to add to your personal library!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Stolen By Katariina Rosenblatt PhD & Cecil Murphey

Sex trafficking has been around for a long time and in many countries even our own but it is growing by leaps and bounds. The number of children becoming victims has risen at a frightening rate. I wanted to read this book to know what we as a nation and families are truly up against. What I learned was surprising.
Ms. Rosenblatt very tastefully and discreetly shared her heartbreaking story of being a casualty child sex trafficking. I gained even more insight by her telling her story through her eyes as a child, their confusion, vulnerability, and innocence. Her account is one of courage and strength. She was drawn in 3 times and with the Lord’s help escaped.
This sordid business has been fueled by youth having unlimited access to the internet in emails, Facebook, private chatrooms cell phones and texting. These tools have made it easy for the traffickers to prey on our kids. I also learned that they look for certain characteristics in children they target. This means boys and girls, some as young as the age of 9, but the average age is 12 – 14 years.
She said they seek out children that are from homes of abuse, neglect, unstable marriages, and unsupervised in their activities and friends. The recruiters offer a child the love, attention, listening ear, and concern they lack and crave. After securing the child’s trust, promising them the family they always wanted, they kidnap them and force them into being sex slaves. The children are held there by force, fear, addiction to drugs and even a twisted sense of loyalty, thinking their pimps are the only ones that care about them.
This is not a mere autobiography; it goes much further. The author accepted Christ as her Savior at a Billy Graham crusade when she was 12. Just 1 year before her first involvement. Burned into her mind and heart from that night was Mr. Graham saying, “Remember this: God will never leave you or forsake you.” God was to speak this to her many times in the years to come when she did not know what to do or where to turn.
I saw a beautiful testimony of God’s love and personal involvement our lives. No matter how far we go into sin, or distant we become to the Lord, He still loves us and seeks to draw us back to Him. God never gave up on her. She shares how He rescued her and set her life on track to serve Him. She went on to go to college and obtained a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution. In addition she earned a LLM graduate law degree in intercultural human rights. The author works close with the FBI and Homeland Security to intervene and free children. In government she initiated laws to reform the labels place on trafficked youth that made them the criminals. She also established contacts with Christian groups to help children saved with physical, emotional, and many other needs to heal and live a normal life.
Every person, not just parents, that has children in their life they love and care about needs to read this book! No one can say “it won’t happen to us.” This book is a wakeup call not only to what is happening but also to the need to be very involved in our children’s lives. An excellent book!
I received this book free from Revell, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps for Presenting an Unforgettable Story By John Walsh

Being a teacher, writer, mother, and grandmother I have been sharing stories for years. Not only to entertain but also to teach values. Young and old alike love a good story. The impact of a well told story can have a impact those listening. I was excited to read this book, because I want to do the best job possible with those whose attention I have but for a short time.
I appreciated the author showing me how to share without notes. I have a tendency, especially if the account is to teach, not just share a personal experience, to use way too many notes. I don’t want to miss a point but then I fall into the trap of relying on the notes and not letting my presentation flow. Having his 14 exercises in an outline form made to easy for me to start practicing and improving. His red flag not to memorize stories and the reasons against it showed me some things I had not thought of before.
He described Jesus as the Master storyteller, because He knew His audience and adapted the His message to them. Mr. Walsh warns us not to make the mistake of not knowing our audience. This will enable us to modify what we are sharing to different age groups and genders as the all process what they hear in different ways.
When we present a story, we usually think of the people just hearing us. The author points out that we should stimulate all 5 senses to appeal to our listeners. They don’t want to just listen to our story; they want to experience in every way and become a part of it. A list of 7 tools we need during our talks are included and explained, and these you don’t have to go out and buy!
My favorite part is the 3 chapters on telling Bible stories. This is the most important type of story we can convey. We are doing the Lord’s work and sharing His message. These times can have far reaching, eternal influence on those we talk to. This book was not only motivating but also very helpful. I am eager to implement the things I learned!
I received this book free from Moody Publishers, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

50 Things You Need to Know About Heaven By Dr. John Hart

50 Things You Need to Know About Heaven
By Dr. John Hart
Most people are curious about Heaven and what eternity will be like, especially after someone they love has gone on. The author does a wonderful job of addressing 50 questions that are usually asked about Heaven. Some of them I hadn’t even thought of.
I liked the way the table of contents had the questions listed so I could go directly to the ones that interested me most right away. It will also make it easier if you want to use the book as a reference. He not only covers what Heaven is, but misconceptions about it too. I was impressed and how well he discussed most of the subjects in just a few pages. Not only was there a lot of scriptural references to back up what he was sharing, but there were even more verses at the end each one for further study and reading. I enjoyed the interesting illustrations, some of them personal ones, that he used throughout the books.
There were only two things that I did not like about the book. One was the many Bible translations he used, 14 to be exact. For me it made answers disjointed and harder to read. I easily remedied that by using my own Bible and looking up each verse, and that definitely wasn’t a bad thing at all! Secondly I felt a few of his answers were more his speculation than Bible truth. In those incidents, the Bible references did not match up with his explanation. All in all, this book was a pleasure to read and made a wonderful Bible Study. I think it would be great to use in teaching a Sunday school class.
I received this book free from Bethany Publishers, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

While The Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal By Elizabeth Enslin

Other cultures fascinate me, especially their family traditions, structures, and day to day life. I have often wondered what it would be like to be transplanted into the society of another country totally unlike mine. I was able to experience this through Ms. Enslin’s very interesting biography. Even more of a bonus to me, it was through the eyes of a woman.
Elizabeth loved anthropology and her burning desire was to live in Africa and do research among the women there. When she fell in love with Pramod Parajuli at Stanford University, she never dreamed she would find herself in Nepal living with his family. It is one thing to go and study people in a foreign country, but it is quite another to become an intimate part of them as a family member. I learned so much about the Hindu faith and culture. She was a brave and adaptable woman, both emotionally and physically.
While his family lovingly accepted her, their strict Hindu practices kept her at arm’s length in some areas of their lives. She is not pure enough to help with meals or even remove a pot from the stove that is boiling over. If she did the meal would have to be thrown out and remade. Yet in other areas she must follow the guidelines as a daughter-in-law and family member consistent with their society.
Upon arriving she knew little of the language. She also had to deal with very crude living conditions, no indoor plumbing, appliances, heating or air-conditioning, monsoons. Add to this experience being pregnant!
She and Pramod decided to move into the loft in the barn over the livestock for more privacy. Their only access was a narrow ladder. Their room had the added company of scorpions, spiders, not to mention the aroma of the buffalo below. It was here she went into labor. Complications necessitated she be taken by a hospital several miles away. In unsanitary conditions with limited medical help she gave birth to a small baby boy.
After that she was thrown into raising a child in this Brahman civilization. This gave yet another personal viewpoint, I have rarely seen written about. She adjusted beautifully. I personally would have been terrified in every way. I cannot begin to explain the many facets of life in Nepal that Ms. Enslin’s book thoroughly reveals.
I learned not only about the family and the Hindu faith, but also about political conditions past and present, the life of the women, responsibilities, hardships, their viewpoints on life, recreation, and more. You really do want to read this book!
I received this book free from FBS Associates, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Breathing Room By Leeana Tankersley

Too often I have approached life’s crises and frustrations like a Sumo wrestler. I am going to overcome whatever I face and continue to juggle all the plates of responsibility in my life. Of course it never worked that way and I resorted to accusing myself of being a substandard Christian, wife, mother, pastor’s wife. In reality, my view was not . . . well reality! I was doing it in my own strength and leaving Christ out! Without Him I can do nothing!
This book helped me look back in the past, in the present and the future, take a deep full breath, and exhale. It shed light on the fact that I am sometimes my own worst enemy. The devil doesn’t have to do a thing because I will take the stick of guilt and failure and beat myself! Add to that the extra challenges we face and life can literally squeeze the breath out of us . . if we let it. By not stepping back and letting go, we not only devastate ourselves but we also drag all that baggage into the next day, and the next until we are so overwhelmed we feel like we are suffocating.
I appreciate Ms. Tankersley’s being so open, transparent, and vulnerable in sharing her story. Not that I want anyone to have problems but hearing that someone else struggles makes me feel not as alone. In old movies when the woman got hysterical, someone would slap her across the face to get her attention. I guess you could say her book was a good slap in the face. It made me step back, yes breath, and really look at what I have done. Best of all she helped me turn everything back to God. To realize the love and help He is waiting to give me. He is my strength and solution. Sometimes we are so caught up in our “moments” that we need someone to remind us of the Truth. The scripture than came to mind, that sums up the authors message is 2 Chronicles 20:17. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, . . fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
I received this book free from Revell Publishing, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Prescription for Life By Richard Furman M.D.,FACS

This isn’t just another book about being healthy, nor is it written by an author that has the “do as I say, not as I do” mind set. Neither is it a book with the latest fads. It is just a basic down to earth guide for improving your health. Dr. Furman made this same journey to better health for himself. After he got himself on track he began to look at his patients conditions and how they could improve their health. Possibly even escape facing the problems of many common illnesses and disorders that plague our modern day society.
I liked the book because first of all, it was easy to read. Not a lot of medical mumbo jumbo that sent me to the Google search engine for the meanings. Secondly I liked the fact that it was all easy to implement. I didn’t have to go out and buy special foods or nutrition powders to achieve my goal. None of the advice was complicated or overly detailed like a lot of books. When you are already struggling with changing your lifestyle, an exhaustive program turns you off and makes you feel you can never accomplish it. Dr. Furman’s book gives you a “can-do” attitude!
We are all living longer but not always better. The emphasis today is on forever being youthful, in appearance and in body. The problem is the main focus is health for youth, not health for a better quality of life. Yes our days are numbered by the Lord, but our productivity and well-being in our later years can be enhanced by taking care of ourselves now. So many times I have heard people with a debilitating disease due to bad habits or elderly people that can no longer be active say, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself!”
It is never too soon or too late to begin taking care of yourself. It is in our control and choice to be proactive in our health. I personally do not want to be a burden to my children financially or physically. It will take commitment and time but the results are transforming, not just for a short time but the rest of your life! A refreshing book on living healthier!
I received this book free from Revell Publishing which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.