Running On Red Dog Road and Other Perils Of An Appalachian Childhood By Drema Hall Berkheimer

I have always been drawn to anything about life in the Appalachians. The people and their stories inspire and fascinate me. I wish this book had been longer, it was incredible.
Looking at the past through the eyes of children is remarkable. You are able to see the untarnished truth told with innocence and honestly. Adults live the moment but children savor it. They capture details grown-ups miss because they have lost that magic and wonder of the ordinary. I love the way the author has captured her family history from her childhood memories.
It was 1940, in West Virginia, and Drema was only 5 months old when her father died. She and her two siblings are raised by their grandparents while her mother seeks work in New York City. World War II is in its beginnings. Drema’s recollections go back to when she was 8 years old. Her nostalgic, personal writing makes the reader feel like they have stepped into her childhood home to visit.
Her grandfather, a Pentecostal preacher, and grandmother stole my heart. No matter how difficult the times, they faced it with their strong faith and a positive outlook. I was reminded how adults soften the seriousness and pain in life for young children, giving them a sense of security. Their wisdom and sense of humor made me want to remember all their sage words. So many beautiful life lessons were shown.
Drema and her sister’s escapades kept me laughing and thoroughly enjoying all the down-to-earth fun of her childhood. Her perception of people and events were delightful and brutally honest! She took me back to the simpler times, when money and possessions were scarce, but family, love and the joy of life were center stage. I hope Ms. Berkheimer will write more books about her family and include old snapshots. A phenomenal book!
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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Busy, Busy! By Eileen Spinelli

I love board books for toddlers! Their sturdy pages and washable surface make it a great introduction for little ones to enter the world of reading. The book is their own to explore and enjoy without any restrictions. I appreciated that this book has 20 pages instead of the average of only 12 most offer. That’s more to see and enjoy!
Each page has a colorful illustration of a different animal smiling as they do their job. This also helps a child see the “work” each animal does that is unique to its species. This adds learning to the fun!
We live in a day and age of constant busyness. Children, with no concept of responsibility, have difficulty understanding why adults have so much to do. Ms. Spinelli’s book shows children that everyone has lots to do, even the animals. Yet no matter how full the schedule the child is still important and there is always time for them.
A very sweet book with a very important message: Children are always important!
I received this book free from Worthy Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Room for Hope By Kim Vogel Sawyer

This one of those rare books with such a unique story line, that you don’t want it to end, you want to keep the book to read it again, and you want to share it with others! I have always enjoyed Ms. Sawyer’s books, but this I rate this one at the very top!
It is 1936, the Great Depression, but Neva Shilling feels beyond blessed, two beautiful children and an incredible man, Warren Shilling. Her love for him knows no bounds. Her family wants for nothing, thanks her hardworking husband. In fact they live in luxury. She hates the fact he is gone every other month purchasing stock for their store she runs in his absence. His homecomings are an occasion for a great celebration.
She is preparing for just such a time when she hears a wagon. Rushing out to greet her husband, she is surprised to see it is a deputy with a large wagon. Jesse Caudle sadly informs her “brother”; Warren Shilling and his wife are dead. They died of food poisoning and before he passed, he asked that certain items and furniture be delivered to her. There is more. In the back of the wagon are 3 frightened children of the deceased couple sent to live with their “aunt” Neva.
Shocked, she directs him as to where the store the items and takes the children inside. In the midst of such shattering agony and betrayal she immediately begins to take care of the children. She doesn’t share the situation with the deputy, or her children, or anyone for that matter. She bears the burden alone with the Lord has her Guide. Trusting Him to provide for her as a widow with now, 5 little ones to feed and clothe. What is she to do? Give the children up? They are innocent victims and growing up in an orphanage herself, she knows that is no life for a child. Yet she has no desire to expose her husband or bring a lifetime of rejection and shame on her children or these pathetic orphans.
Her problems continue to multiply as her son begins to rebel, a rival store owner pressures her to sell to him; she is rejected by even her church when the truth is revealed about the children, and a serious emergency threatens to break her.
Neva and her predicament wrapped tight around my heart. She shows forth love, forgiveness, mercy, and astounding faith in God. Neva continues to display concern and care for others in need. Her desire to do what was right in the Lord’s eyes, regardless of the sacrifice and consequences to herself is painful to read but uplifting to my spirit. This is a one of a kind book!
I received this book free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.