Review: Books by Children’s Author Carole P. Roman


Books!  Books! MORE BOOKS! Books to me, especially children’s books, are to me like shoe or handbags might be to some other women.  I have been collecting children’s books for 20 years.  Mind you my oldest is only about to turn 11.  My addiction…err… collection began long before he was born.  So when the opportunity to review four books in the If You Were Me and Lived In.… series, brought to you by Carole P. Roman and I leaped at the opportunity. This isn’t my first time experience her books since I had the opportunity to review her Children’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World…. series a few years back.

I received If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1), If You Were Me and Lived in…Elizabethan England (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 3) If You Were Me and Lived in… The American West (Volume 7) and If You Were Me and Lived in… Ancient China: The Han Dynasty.


About This Series:

The If you Were Me and Lived In… series aims to teach children about some of the greatest civilizations and cultures in history.  These books speak from the point of  view of a child who may have lived during the period of time the book represents.  We learn all about the lives of typical being during that time from the clothing they wore, the foods they ate, their jobs, art, customs, celebrations and more.  These books are packed with information.  Each of them is at least 50 pages long with great color illustrations and pages jammed with text and information.


Since we are studying Shakespeare and China this year (great combo right? keeps me on my toes) we spent quite a bit of time with If You Were Me and Lived in…Elizabethan England and If You Were Me and Lived in… Ancient China: The Han Dynasty although all four books share the major characteristics I’m about to describe.

The language of these books is pretty simple and geared toward young children.  There isn’t complex vocabulary or confusing information.  Everything is laid out cleanly and plainly. Her is a short of example of some text form the Elizabethan England Book.

You might have lived in a house on cramped street in the heart of London over the bakery your parents owned.

You ancestors had changed over the last hundred years or so. Your great-grandfather was a poor farmer who was forced to leave the country and move to the city when the landlord changed from farming to sheep herding. His family was poor, and your grandfather worked as an apprentice in the bakery from the time he was eight years old…

The pictures are detailed yet clear and simple.  They clearly depict the hard life of your average family.  Interestingly the style of art differs from book to book.  The illustrations in the The American West and Elizabethan England are done with what looks like pen and ink with sharp lines and solid color.  The Ancient Greece and Ancient China: The Han Dynasty are done with more of a whimsy water color effect.  Both styles are fantastic and serve the purpose of providing visual detail well.


One very neat feature at the end of each book is the glossary.  I love how words specific to the time are well defined.  For example, I had never heard of the word trencher and in the Elizabethan England book we learned that it is the bread used as a platter.


How We Used the Books

When the books arrived my children immediately scoffed them up and read them through almost instantly.  My 8 year old read them aloud to my 6 year old who then spent an hour pouring over the pictures on her own.  During our typical school time I chose to read each one a few pages at a time and draw from them discussion that interwove with our usual studies.  They were great for inciting conversation about the life of the time period we were studying.  They are very detailed and so full of great information.  What you have in this book is all of the information from many library books condensed into just one book.  Very convenient.

We really love these books and are considering investing in the books we did not get as a part of the review.  What a great addition to any home library.


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and}
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Book Review: The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles by Mark S. Mirza from CTM Publishing Atlanta

ctm-logo1_zpsyrj4wv1nThe Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles by Mark S. Mirza from CTM Publishing Atlanta is a faith based fiction book that will challenge you in your prayer life.  In the book we are follow the stories of three separate characters who lived in significantly different times.  Epaphras lived during the first century, Alexander Rich’s story was during the 19th century, and finally Dale Riley lives in the present day.  We follow the stories of the challenges these men face during their time and how their faith impacts them.

What makes their stories interesting is that each of them is assigned a heavenly angel as guide in their faith, as well as a demon whose goal is to plant seeds that would result in a destruction of their beliefs in God.  Each character reacted to the trials of their lives in fascinating ways  and of course, as the title of the book would imply, they were all Christian men of prayer.  Their decisions and their walk had ripple effects on those around them and even those who came after them.  How all things tied together was quite surprising.

While this book is definitely a work of fiction it does give a person, especially a Christian, a lot to consider about the subject of prayer.  All three main characters are praying men (hence the title Pray-ers) and a lot of attention is given to explaining how and what they prayed.  Usually this centered on scripture from the Bible.  Praying the scriptures isn’t a new concept to me.  Many a Bible teacher has preached or written their own books or devotionals on just this topic.  Each time I come across this concept I find myself reflecting on how much I pray with scripture.  Sincerely it isn’t a habit for me though I’d like it to be.

This book challenged me beyond that though.  It left me questioning every aspect of my prayer life.  When I pray do I pray for others or just myself?  Am I praying with faith in God’s will?  Do I believe god is already working in the situation?  All great questions for reflection no matter who you are or what your prayer life is like.


While I had intended to share this book with my oldest son who is just about to turn 11 I think I may reconsider.  We are fortunate as homeschoolers to be able to keep the innocence of childhood longer than many of his traditionally schooled friends.  While I certainly don’t keep him shielded from the challenges of this fallen world there are some topics that we just haven’t covered yet.  Toward the end of the book there is some reference to things like abortion and rape.  We’ve only just begun to dabble in conversation about these topics (rape in particular).  I think he may just be more prepared for those things in a book of fiction in a few more years.

Overall I really liked this book.  I suggest that if you find it a bit of a slow start to stick with it.  At first it was a bit of challenge to see how the three characters in three different eras had anything to do with one another.  It’s a great book for young adults and teens! And it certainly had me reflecting on my prayer life.  I really recommend this book.  I hope you enjoy it!

You can read more about The Pray-ers/Book 1 Troubles by clicking here.  You can also find out more about it on Facebook and Twitter.

The Pray-ers / Book 1 Troubles

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Review: Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster


High quality and educational apps can be a bit of a chore to discover in the sea of apps that make up the app stores on our mobile devices.  There are gems out there and I’m excited to share one of them with you.  Our family has been enjoying a fantastic app called Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster. This app comes from the same people who created Orphs of the Woodlands which I reviewed last year. Everything that Star Toaster creates is designed to develop a love of reading in our children.   Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree exceeds all of the expectations I had after our fantastic experience with them last year. This time the program comes as an iOS app and is compatible with all apple devices.

Orphs Map_zpsvytirgyqThis app contains a 122 page fully illustrated chapter book for your children to enjoy complete with 75 lessons on a variety of subjects.  The story follows the adventures of Abba, flying squirrel who has found himself in the position of carrying for orphaned animals (known as orphs) in his tree house.  As your children read the book the help him take care of the orphs trhough over 130 “jobs” where the children are tested on their skills.  This game incorporates lots of learning and reading in a way that makes it so enjoyable for your children that they aren’t even aware of it.

The first part of the program is the reading adventure.  The text is presented in such a way that important words are highlighted.  When a student touches them they learn new definitions for the words as well as their synonyms.  Hundreds of words throughout the text are presented in this way.  What a goldmine for our kiddos.

Work list Orph_zpsd6qojfnuAs the reading progresses the reader (your child) is required to help the orphs.  They complete jobs and visit the orph settlement.  As the story progresses it is up to the reader to rescue as many of the orphs as they can.  Added to the reading adventure is all of the academic learning that is impeded throughout. There are hundreds of lessons here on everything from math, to science, to vocabulary, thinking skills, life skills, art and more.  Positive character traits and leadership skills are also instilled as the character moves through the story line and makes important decisions.
I wish you could see how excited my boys were to be able to play this game.  They remembered it well from last year and were waiting all year for the release of another game/book.  Both of my boys have excellent well above average reading skills and therefore they were able to move through the app very quickly.  I would say that the average 8-10 year old would find the reading to be just about at the right level and they should be challenged but not to the point of struggling.

Orphs Job training_zpssaytevoj Orphs questions_zpsuecjeleq









What my boys had to say!

  • Ezra(8) has to say… “I loved it because you are basically the main character of the story and you actually get to interact with the game and story.  The story is really awesome! It is really exciting to save the orphs!”
  • Noah(10) I really like the story line and how it takes words and turns them into links into educational videos. The game is really fun because its exciting to save orphs and its fun to see how quickly you can earn items for the game. “

Orphs goals_zpsr28nclouThe app is quite user friendly.  You can create different user names for each of your children so they can all play and progress through the program separately yet still use the same devices.  There is a parent area when you can view your children’s progress and reports on what they have accomplished.


This is one of those products that I just want to shout about.  It’s just that great!  The story, the character learning, the academic learning, the reading, how well it all integrates together.  It is just super high quality.  And so worth it at only $1.99.

You can’t go wrong with this program!

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
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Review: The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins

ShilohRunPress_Logo_zpsmhfyvo4rCan anyone ever have enough great clean fiction for their children to read? I will never pass up the chance to review a great children’s novel.  My most recent read is The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins from Shiloh Run Press

I have two boys that read like nobody’s business.  The devour books at a rate that is nearly impossible to keep up with.  Keeping them in high quality books that nurture their spirits is no easy task.   The Glass Castle fits the bill.  

The Book

The Glass Castle by Trisha White and Jerry Jenkins_zpsiqfvktgjThis book came to me hardbound.  The front cover illustration is beautiful.  It is 256 pages (41 short chapters) long. It is great for late elementary or early middle school aged boys or girls.

My original intent was to do this as a read aloud but my boys got a hold of the book before I realized it and that was it. Ezra (8) who is a very advanced and FAST reader finished this book in just a couple of hours in one evening.  Pokey mommy took a while, 3 days!  (Because, you know there are no distractions in my life).  Each one of us, including myself, couldn’t put it down.  We really had to carry through until the end to see just what was going to happen.

The story begins when an ordinary walk in the woods for 13 year old Avery and her 3 year old brother Henry takes a dramatic and dangerous turn.  They are kidnapped and separated. Before she knows it Avery has been shipped off to the king’s castle where she finds a whole community of other kidnapped 13 year old children.

Avery is fiery and determined young woman who isn’t content with being held captive.  She refuses to rest until the mysteries of their captivity and the secrets of the castle are revealed.  As the story unfolds she learns that the king himself is ill and is desperate need of an heir to his throne.  His first wife and child died 13 years before, or so the king believes.  Angelina, sister to his first wife is determined to take the queen’s throne and provide her own heir.  She fears though the real heir is still alive somewhere. Without the king’s knowledge she orders all 13 year old orphans to be captured and potentially killed.

The secret’s are plentiful in this castle. From the king’s first wife, the Forbidden City, underground tunnels, the first queen’s jewels. Avery’s determination to find answers just may mean the difference between freedom and captivity, life or death, for all of the children and their brother’s sisters.

What my son had to say!

Ezra, age 8 definitely enjoyed the book.  He told me particularly liked Avery as she had a great sense of adventure.  He thought the author did a great job describing the castle.  It was easy to imagine yourself deep within the walls.  With all of the secrets the story really kept him engaged.  He has plenty of his own guesses about those mysteries but unfortunately he will have to wait for the next book in the series before many of them are answered.  Waiting is just so hard!

My Own Thoughts

This book is full of adventure and excitement. The opening scenes of the kidnapping are gripping and bit scary but my son wasn’t phased.  There are some great themes throughout.  I loved how Avery is very family orientated.  She’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her father and brother safe.  She is also very loyal to her friends in the castle.  Though she is a rule breaker she is always striving to do the right thing.

The story does have a bit of romance weaved throughout.  Avery and Tuck certainly have eyes for each other.  They lock eyes, the blush, they send each other secret notes.  All quite clean.  Avery does seem to have the adoration of most of the boys in the book and in typical style this does earn her a few enemies amongst the boys.

Christian ideas are also introduced as a part of the story.  Avery finds a Bible whose words bring her comfort.  The children create their own chapel and find a time of worship which at times Avery struggles with as life is so difficult.


This was a great read we both enjoyed.  My 10 year old is now super excited about getting his eyes on the book for himself.  We are certainly looking forward to the sequel Ruby Moon to become available in the fall.


The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}

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Review: Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln from YWAM Publishing

YWAM Publishing_zpswsszfqxbIt has been three years since my family was introduced to books from YWAM Publishing.  Since then these biographies of Christian Heroes and Heroes of History haven been a mainstay of our homeschooling lives.  We are almost always reading one of their books as a read aloud.  (My boys could totally read the books on their own probably in just a couple of afternoons.  Except then I’d miss out on such great books.  So we choose to read them aloud!) I stock up on these books big time every spring at our local homeschooling convention.  These are books that challenge and encourage our Christian faith, teach about God’s work in our world, and their newest history books give us a great deal of information about fantastic characters from our past.  This time we were given the Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln from YWAM Publishing  along with the Digital Unit Study for review.

We chose the Abraham Lincoln biography as we figured it’d be a great supplement to our American History and Civil War studies.  In fact we received the book just after a trip to Washington D.C. where we got to view the Lincoln Memorial.

Abraham Lincoln_zpsqmzgytziLike all of the YWAM Publishing books, the story of the life of Abraham Lincoln is told in a fascinating way that makes all of the children beg for just… “One More Chapter Please!” Though these are technically geared for children ages 10 and up even my five year old adores these books.

We begin in Abraham Lincoln’s early childhood years where we learn great details about how and where Abraham Lincoln grew up, the tragedies and difficult life he faced, and the events that lead him to become the man that he was.  We learn exactly how this seemingly uneducated man made his way to the presidency during some of the most tumultuous days in our country’s history.  The book is completely historically accurate with so much fact buried in such a compelling story.  Your forget you are reading a historical biography.

The Digital Unit Study adds so much to the experience of reading the story. It helps you dig a little deeper and think a little more about so many details of the story.

The study guide provides resources for teaching:


  • Reading Comprehension
  • Creative Writing
  • Essay Writing
  • History and Geography
  • Quotes for Memorization

This Digital Unit Study can so much to a study of the Civil war.  It gives you ideas for building a log cabin, investigating flags and money from Abraham Lincoln’s time period, you’ll be looking at photographs too.  Such a great way to make some of the history come alive.

Our family focused mostly on the Reading Comprehension and Geography activities.  We discussed many of the quotes that are offered.  We also dug through whatever sights we could find on the internet to find the pictures I described above.  We haven’t quite finished the last 2 or 3 chapters of the book however when we do I’ll be asking the boys to choose either an essay or a creative writing assignment to finish up our study. Ezra is looking forward to creating a map of Lincoln’s journey’s.  Activities like that are right up his alley. Noah plans to write and illustrate a children’s book about Lincoln’s life.

Please if you haven’t checked out YWAM Publishing books and Digital Unit Studies you just must take the time!  These books are a treasure.  In fact, I’m headed to that homeschool convention this weekend.  Guess which booth I’m hitting first!

To find out more about YWAM Publishing:

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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Review: Sixth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press


Memoria Press Logo_zpsbhggzaly

If there is anything in our homeschool that I am big on, and my children adore, is reading wonderful literature. We were recently given the opportunity to review the Sixth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the experience.

Memoria Press is a family run company.  The focus on providing high quality classical christian eductaional materials for homeschools and traditional schools.


Sixth Grade Literature Guide Set was created to help you and your students study Robin Hood, The Door in the Wall, King Arthur, and Adam of the Road, all books set in the Middle Ages. You will receive a workbook for students and a teachers manual for each of these books.

For this review each of my boys chose one book to read.  Noah chose King Arthur and Ezra chose Robin Hood.  I downloaded these books from Amazon for them to read on their own on their Kindles.  I assigned one chapter per day.  They would read their chapter and then fill out the answers to the questions in the workbook pages.

About the Guides

All of the guides are colorful softcover books and are laid out essentially the same.  The student workbooks are laid out by chapter.

  • You’ll begin with a section called ‘Reading Notes.’  I loved this section as it sort of sets the stage or gives you background information that will help the child in their reading.  It covers the names and places you’ll find in the chapter.
  • Next you’ll find vocabulary words to define.  I had my children look up any words they didn’t know in the dictionary.
  • After that you’ll have comprehension questions to answer as well.
  • An interesting thing I’ve never seen before is a section on quotations.  Here the children have to recall who said the quoted part and why the said it. This proved to be a bigger challenge than I imagined it would be!
  • Finally there are questions for discussion as well.  Also included is an enrichment section with ideas to bring the learning further such as acting out a scene or drawing pictures.

The Teacher’s Guide not only walks you through the answers to the student questions but there are also quizzes for the books, a midterm and final exam as well as all of the answers to these.

What We Really Liked About These Guides

We’ve been reading great literature together for years in our homeschool.  I do ask them lots of questions and I even pause to discuss vocabulary words and such.  This is the first time that we were more systematic about this.  I wasn’t sure if this would frustrate my boys.  I thought they’d get aggravated with the stopping and starting but in fact they did not.  They seemed to savor slowing down and checking their understanding more thoroughly.  These guides helped them pay attention to details they hadn’t before.

The enrichment sections was a lot of fun for them.  They are quite used to taking the books they read and turning them into big playful projects not unlike some of the suggestions that were written in these guides.  However, the suggestions sped up their creativity!  In fact they jumped ahead to the enrichment section before reading their chapters to get an idea of the fun they have later on.


If you want to take your literature studies to a new level then you really have to get yourself these study guides.  They are excellent.

Stay in touch with Memoria Press on social media:

Twitter (@MemoriaPress)
Instagram (@memoriapress)


Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

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Review: Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz

Zondervan Logo_zpsaxmkrrcj Our family was recently given the opportunity to review a pretty unique Bible that I’m sure will be very appealing to many young children.  It is called the Faith Builders Bible  from Zonderkidz.  

In case you aren’t familiar with Zonderkidz, is an extension of Zondervan publishing.  Zondervan is responsible for many popular Christian books and Bible study guides.  Zonderkidz is their dedicated children’s (1)

Faith Builders Bible _zpsn4fmywa3

The Faith Builders Bible is an NIRV, New International Reader’s Version, of the Bible.  The NIRV Bible is based on the very popular NIV Bible.  The publishers have taken the NIV and changed some of the text into shorter words or sentences which make it easier to read, especially for children.  This Bible draws upon the love of building with bricks (or Legos) that is common among young children. From the Bible cover to 24 pages double sided picture pages sprinkled throughout, lovers of brick building will have a feast for their eyes.

The book itself has a sturdy hard cover that should hold up to wear pretty well.  The cover prominently features the brick building theme and gives a sample of some of what will be found inside the pages.  I measured it to be 8.5 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide, and about an inch thick.

Within the first few pages of the book you’ll find “Building With The Books Of The Bible” where they have a picture a tower of Lego blocks, with each book of the Bible listed on a block. I thought this was a clever way to visually show all the books of the Bible.  I can see a family creating their own towers in a similar fashion to help with memorization.

Throughout the Bible you’ll find beautifully done photographs of brick creations depicting the most well known scenes from the Bible.  The photographs are fantastic.  They are printed on a thicker paper than the rest of the pages of the Bible making them pretty durable.  Care and detail went into the creation of these scenes as well as to the printing of the photographs within the pages of this Bible.  Some of these scenes include Noah building his ark, men building the Tower of Babel, Moses with the 10 Commandments, Solomon Builds God’s Temple, the Nativity, Jesus Walks and the Cross, and lots more.TMH_0539

On these pages you’ll also find  a “Building Block Verse” which is something like a memory verse that relates to that story.

Faith Builders Bible 02_samptxt_zpsltlv6yre Faith Builders Bible 03_samptxt_zps6uee1la1

The rest of the Bible is actually pretty standard as far as Bibles go.  In actuality I was a bit surprised by that.  All of the pages that do not contain brick pictures are printed on the standard thin and delicate paper that you find in just about any Bible.  The font is standard sized for most Bibles and younger children may find that more difficult to read.  I had hoped for something a bit more fun, whimsical, or child centered for the entire Bible in addition to the pages that contain the photographs of the brick creations.



How Our Family Used this Bible

Bible study is a regular part of the day around here.  The boys and I start our homeschool day by reading scripture and using a Bible dictionary to look up keywords in the passages for the day.  At night my husband will do something more of a devotional with them aimed at character development.  In addition to our usual Bible study we used this Bible as sort of “key highlights of the Bible” refresher.  We enjoyed flipping to a photograph, discussing what we saw in the brick creation that was on display, and reading through the memory verse.  My Ezra has  knack for memorizing and as usual quickly memorized every verse.  He seems have something a photographic memory.  He was able to more easily recall the Building Block Verse since it is placed separately on the page and it stands out with the colored background.

I often challenged my boys to try and recreate or even elaborate on the brick creations in the photographs.  They loved the challenge.  While the were building I could hear them discussing the details of the story too.  That’s a win in my book! You can see one of their creations (Jesus and Peter walking on water) in the picture below.



I think this could be a great Bible for children in the 9-13 year old range.  Those kids generally still adore brick building and often their maturity level and reading skills make them more ready for what really is a mostly traditional Bible.  This might make a great gift for the right occasion or perhaps a reward for some hard work well done. Make sure you visit the Faith Builders Bible webpage to order one for the brick builder in your family.

Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}

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Review and Giveaway: The Everywhere God by Bob Nelson and Cricket Nelson Hater

The Everywhere God Giveaway

I want to tell you about a very special book that my family has been given the chance to review.  It is called The Everywhere God written by Bob Nelson, edited by Cricket Nelson Hater, and illustrated by Robin Tillman.

This book gives our children (and reminds us parents) that God is everywhere… all of the time.  He is always with us.  No matter what.  What a simple yet powerful lesson.

For the purposes of this review I received a soft covered version of the book.  The illustrations are were created with what looks like pen and watercolor.  They are simple yet colorful and absolutely adorable.  The pages are made of a sturdy card-stock.  The book feels much like a high quality special edition magazine.  Certainly sturdy enough to treasure and adore for a long time.  You can also download the book to a Kindle Fire.  I personally think that is just a sweet option.  Not only can I have a fabulous book that doesn’t take up any more room in our home, but it is easy to take with us when on the go so we can read where ever we are.

The book is full of rhyming prose that are delightful to read aloud and actually quite easy to memorize.  My family has been reciting parts of the book since the first time we read it together, just for fun.  The language draws children and adults together and to the message.

This book would make an adorable gift perhaps for a baptism or baby dedication, a birthday, or even just because.  If you have heart for and you want to pass that onto children in your life then I highly suggest this precious book.

Perhaps God will bless you with a free copy?  As a part of this review I am giving away some sweet prizes.  This giveaway will have 4 winners. The grand prize winner will receive a Fire 7″ Tablet loaded with the Kindle edition of The Everywhere God.  The Fire tablet includes:

  • Beautiful 7″ IPS display (171 ppi / 1024 x 600) and fast 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. Rear and front-facing cameras.
  • All-new Amazon Underground, a one-of-a-kind app store experience where over $10,000 in apps, games and even in-app items are actually free – including extra lives, unlocked levels, unlimited add-on packs and more
  • Enjoy more than 38 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, apps and games
  • 8 GB of internal storage. Free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire devices. Add a microSD card for up to 128 GB of additional storage.
  • Updated user interface – Fire OS 5 designed for quick access to your apps and content plus personalized recommendations that make it easy to discover new favorites
  • Up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching videos, and listening to music
  • Stay connected with fast web browsing, email, and calendar support

Three more winners will each win a print copy of The Everywhere God.

The Everywhere God is a book about hope for children of all ages. Written for his young granddaughter during a particularly difficult time, the late Pastor Bob Nelson wanted to be sure she knew God was with her no matter what else was happening. Despite people and circumstances, his message is clear, God never leaves or forgets about us and His love never ends. Upon it’s completion, he knew it was something special and wanted to make it a children’s book. Unfortunately, time passed and things never fell into place for his vision to come to life. He passed away in 2008 before he could see it happen.

More than 20 years after it’s original writing, Bob Nelson’s daughter remembered this treasured poem and like her father, felt it needed to be shared with the world. For many years she kept this special story in the back of her heart and always dreamed of making his vision for a children’s book a reality.

To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter below after reading the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to The Everywhere God email list.

Review: The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations

logo_zpscqdrybw9I’d say in recent months to perhaps even in the last year I’ve noticed our homeschooling style has started to bend toward the Classical direction just a bit.  We’ve started to use some curriculum from some of the well known Classical curriculum providers and I’ve begun to research this topic quite a bit.  I was delighted when I was chosen to review a new book called The Conversation, by Leigh A. Bortins from Classical Conversations. This book talks a great deal about homeschooling at the highschool level.  This is something that is starting to surface a bit on my radar screen as my oldest son is starting to close in on his last years as an elementary aged student. 

The Conversation is actually the third book by Bortins in a series about the various stages of classical education.  She has previously written The Core and The Question for elementary and middle school levels respectively.  I haven’t read the previous two books, though I now plan too.  It isn’t necessary in order to get much from The Conversation. This book is 267 pages with the index and appendices.

The Conversation   is broken up into three parts called:

  • High School at Home
  • The Rhetorical Arts
  • and the Appendices

Early on in the book you’ll find a lot of encouragement to continue the homeschooling journey through the high school years.  Homeschooling an elementary aged child might seem to some to be a great thing to do but for whatever reason once those children reach the high school age everyone starts to look at you a little bit differently.  Maybe it is because they think you are depriving your child of a typical teen experience. Perhaps they think you are unqualified because after all how exactly are you going to teach high level math?  A parent might even start telling themselves that they aren’t capable or that their child would be better off in school.  At least they’d have access to sports right?  Many parents give into fear at this point and send their child to school.  Encouragement for families that have reached this level is crucial. There is a lot of fantastic factual information provided as well.  The high school level marks the rhetoric stage of classical education.  Bortins defines that for the reader and starts laying the ground work for what a great high school education at home can look like.

The middle section, The Rhetorical Arts, drives the reader through each subject area that most children study at the high school level.  The Conversation goes through, subject by subject, explaining how to implement the five canons of rhetoric. There are chapters explaining ways to include rhetoric is just about every subject including: Reading, Writing, Science, Math, Hostry, Speech and Debate, Latin, Fine Arts, and more!

the-conversation-coming-summer-of-2015-10.gif_zpshfavqygsBortins offers examples and gives you ideas of how rhetoric is used in every area.  She provides real life examples.  She talks about important ares of study that might be over looked such as Latin and speech and debate.  She provides great arguments for why all of this is important, how parents can integrate them, and what children gain from studying such subjects.

The last section is the appendices where you’ll find games, definitions, and lots of resources.  This section is brimming with fantastic aides and further reading for any homeschooler.  You should not miss it.

The Conversation is a fantastic guide for parents looking to homeschool through high school.  Bortins has laid the groundwork for you to follow and the encouragement you’ll need to keep going until the finish line.  I’ll read this again as my children keep advancing toward the high school level.  I love that I now have a vision for those final years!  I’m now anxious to get my hands on her other two books in the series.  I hope you enjoy Bortins’ The Conversation as much as I did.

Classical Conversations Review

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Review: Whenever You Come Around: A Kings Meadow Romance by Robin Lee Hatcher

_240_360_Book.1585.coverHey all of my mom readers! Are you looking for a light summer read.  Something to enjoy by the pool?  A good clean book to read?  I might have an idea for you.  The title is Whenever You Come Around: A Kings Meadow Romance by Robin Lee Hatcher.

This book is about a famous author Charity Anderson who reluctantly returns to her home town, Kings Meadow in order to get some peace while working on her next novel.  Her parents are out of town so Charity settles in to her childhood home all on her own.  Kings Meadow is a small charming town but it is the sort of place where everyone knows everyone.  Word quickly spreads and soon the town is buzzing as their resident celebrity has returned.

After a silly mishap in the grocery parking lot Charity finds herself having to care for her old high school crush  and new neighbor Buck Malone.  Buck and Charity find themselves growing every closer.  As they do Charity finds she must confront some old demons from her past.  Her insecurities cause her to keep Buck at arms length.  The climax of the novel ascends on the reader as we discover whether Buck’s feelings can withstand Charity’s secrets and whether he can let him into her heart.

What I Thought

This is a sweet little book.  An easy read for the pool side or the beach.  Once I started reading I was compelled enough by the writing that I didn’t want to stop reading.  I felt for the characters and I was interested in how their lives would turn out.  The struggles in this book are pretty real.  I could relate to them. I have to say though the plot and outcome is pretty darn predictable.

It was a comfortable romance.  Nothing earth shattering.  The story does end rather abruptly.  I thought for sure we’d final meet the villain that caused Charity so much pain.  I imagined a big showdown between him and Buck.  But that didn’t happen.  An epilogue may have been nice.  I was invested enough in the characters to want to know what happened next.  But I was left to my own imagination.

Over all if you want something neat, sweet, gently, clean, light than this book could really fit the bill.


Disclosure: The publisher, Thomas Nelson, has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or  through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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