Babywise is the strongest resource for parents in the Ezzo series. Toddlerwise was okay; good, not great, 2.75 stars out of 5, etc.
Don't get me wrong, there are many practical tips for helping to guide your toddler through this very confusing stage in life, especially if you are working with your first child and haven't been there yet. I did, however, find it lacking in some areas.
A study of this book will ultimately lead to the question of the appropriateness of theocracy. The Governor and Ministers in this play have been given ultimate ruling and authority (based on their opinion of "God's Law"), and they could not have fouled it up more than they did. Theocracy itself isn't a horrible thing; man's very flawed interpretation and implementation of it, however, is.
Pretty cool, huh?! PLUS, the printing applet is preconfigured for 8-1/2 x 11 paper, so you don't have to make any page adustments for it to print out to the exact dimensions of your creation on screen.
Go ahead...give it a try!
(*Warning: ANYONE can post ANYTHING here, so on the home page of the site, where most recent creations are posted, there's a chance you could run into some PG-13 language or possibly offensive topics.)
The book was heavy on the dialect dialogue, which is probably a good reason to listen to the audio version. It was okay, but not my favorite Francine Rivers. Overall rating: good, not great.
Needless to say, it could be a little overwhelming at times! I can honestly say, though, that 99% of the time I always managed to get my books read, whether through skimming and scanning, listening to audio versions during my commute to and from classes, but mostly by adjusting to the demands by becoming a sort of speed reader. One time I found myself listening to one book on CD while reading another book (Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff) for discussion during class later that day. It was ridiculous to attempt, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The result was that I don't recall very much at all about either one of those books, though I'm sure they were noteworthy for some reason or another.
True Believer is the sequel to Make Lemonade, and part of a trilogy.I listened to it in the car on the way to and from school. There were several cryptic remarks from the author that made me wish I had paid closer attention to the first book in the series. I'm not sure what I missed in book number 1, but in this book Lavonne is an underprivileged high school girl whose passion is to go to college. She has some typical girl-stuff going on in her life, like being desperately in love with a boy who just isn't interested, being nervous about a dance, and trying to figure out who her real friends really are. She's also dealing with some grown-up issues like helping take care of the small children of a struggling single mother. Overall, I'd say it's good, not great....maybe I'd feel differently if I actually read the first book! ;)
Hannah is mysteriously transported back to 1940's Poland, and is part of a Jewish community that is being "resettled" by the government. She experiences being crammed in boxcars like animals, along with being beaten, starved, robbed, stripped, and humiliated. While in the concentration camp, she comes to survive by attempting only to stay alive for one more minute, one more day. She feels the pain and insanity of losing people she loves one by one, constantly being treated like the scum of the earth.
The title, The Devil's Arithmetic, comes from the theme of numbers within the story. Interpreting people's tattooed numbers on their arms comes to mean the difference between life and death at times. Hannah and her remaining friends and family live each day hoping and praying that they are one less to go in the ovens, and one more to get their bowl of watery potato soup that day. This constant referral to numbers, (and the knowledge that there is no sense in seeking reason in the way things are), is where the term "the devil's arithmetic" surfaces.
I've read some pretty good pieces of historical fiction about the Holocaust, and I've explored it from several different angles. This book, though, takes the prize. It is one of the most moving works of literature I've ever had the pleasure to read.
Look, I'm no feminist. I might be one of those who believes that every man and woman are equal, and equally capable, but I also know that guys and girls are different. We each have our own strong points, and as a matter of fact it is pretty genius how one gender complements the other. Good job, Creator.
Don't let this book title put you off. I will admit, I was a little hesitant at first because it seemed as though it would be pushing women as the superior beings and how America would never have existed without chicks. Roberts does a good job, though, of interweaving both the men and the women who were vital to the start of our country.
I listened to this on CD during morning and afternoon commutes, and since auditory processing isn't exactly my strong point, I have already forgotten some names and dates. The general gist of it is that while so much attention is given to historical men in American society, we don't ever really even think about the women. That really is true, too. There are countless biographies of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington...but what about the women in their lives? Who do we think did their laundry and ran their households, raised money, and tended to their wounds while they were off winning the nation's independence?
Did you know.....
- that women served as spies for America during the Revolutionary way, traveling back and forth carrying information generals? There was one woman in particular who was caught by British troops, and while they were waiting for another woman to come search her, she ate the paper with the message on it. She delivered the intel later...verbally.
- there were several women whose fundraising efforts were one of the main reasons why America won the war for independence?
- educated women like Abigail Adams, Eliza Pinkney, and Deborah Read Franklin wrote letters and essays and crafted pamphlets that contributed to the colonies' desire to become a self-governing nation? Most of the time they had to use male or anonymous pen names, but it is important to note that it was their thoughts and opinions and ideals that drove so many to give their lives for liberty.
- that once America was established, women were an integral part in the construction of our nation's principals?
- there were bad girls back then, too? One woman, Maria Reynolds (naughty chick that she was), was used to set up Alexander Hamilton in an affair that was intended to ruin him politically.
That's only the icing on the cake. It's no wonder that George Washington himself referred to the women of America as the "best patriots America could boast."
At the beginning of the book the Tillerman kiddos are all settling into life with their grandmother, and it bothered me that Dicey has so many different worries...well beyond anything that is age appropriate. Their mother is in an asylum with no promise of recovery, one of the brothers is fighting, another brother is a genius but feels left out, and her sister has a learning problem that not even the teachers can figure out. They also have to deal with rumors of their grandmother being crazy, and the fact that money is always short.
What I took from this book is that you just never know what kids are going through. Dicey is just a little girl, but seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders. I think many of our students are the same way. Having said that, it's a real downer!
Breaking Dawn continues (and concludes) the story of Bella Swann and her involvement with the Cullens-a family of "vegetarian" vampires, or those who have sworn against consuming human blood. Bella's in love with Edward Cullen, and it is in this book that their choice to be together at all costs (in Bella's case, forsaking mortality) truly comes to fruition. Not only do their decisions affect their family, but also other friends and family members scattered worldwide. At one point even the Volturi (sort of like the vampire mafia) are involved, and in a nasty way.
There are HUGE surprises in this book, and more than once I got all hyped up as I put together some of the clues sprinkled throughout. I love how Meyer includes enough history from Books 1-3 to adequately wrap up the series. True Twilight fans will definitely receive the closure they need to say goodbye to the Cullens.
On an interesting note, a movie about the first book is due out in December, and rumor has it that Stephanie Meyer is rewriting the series from Edward Cullen's point of view. Clever, I think.
In a world full of books offering parenting advice, I have learned very quickly that not everybody who makes it to publication really knows what they are talking about. If you want 101 reasons why giving your kids purple Kool-aid will make them a great kid, you can find it out there. But since the Bible offers the best advice in any other aspect of life, why not check out what It has to say about raising little ones? John MacArthur is an incredible author, and this book will evoke strong feelings from parents, parents-to-be, grandparents, anybody who has small children in the family.
With some authors, I might dig one or two really note-worthy statements. With MacArthur, it's every other sentence that you'll want to highlight. Obviously, in my line of work, I am an advocate of using the full resources of your local school or public library. 99% of the time, I will tell you to check it out and save that $10 or $20 for something else. This one, however, needs to go on your "must purchase" list....and go ahead and get yourself a new highlighter while you're at it!
What the Bible Says About Parenting is organized very well, with each chapter building on the one before it. MacArthur makes some strong statements, some I agree with wholeheartedly and others maybe not so much, but he uses hundreds of Scripture references to demonstrate what the Bible truly teaches about raising children. He states in the very beginning of the book that he is not offering a contemporary psychological study on child-rearing; rather, he is just here to pass along the timeless Biblical perspectives of parenting.
Some of the most powerful statements in his book are listed below. (Some are direct quotes, but others are themes or major thoughts within the book.) It would be an injustice to the book for me to attempt to summarize these few sentences:
~"Success in parenting is measured by what the parents do, not what the child does."(pg. 17)
~"Extreme isolationsim ("spiritual quarrantine") costs parents valuable opportunities to teach their kids discernment." (pg.39)
~"Teach your children the law of God; teach them the gospel of divine grace; show them their need for a Savior; and point them to Jesus Christ as the only One who can save them." pg. 43
~"Think of leading your children to Christ as a long-term, full-time commitment - the most important duty God has given you as a parent." (pg.48)
Small steps to take:
*Teach them about God's holiness.
*Show them their sin.
*Instruct them about Christ and what He has done.
*Tell them what God demands of sinners.
*Advise them to count the cost thoughtfully.
*Urge them to trust Christ.
~Teach wisdom (Scripture and Bible stories)
~Teach them to fear God: reverence and fear of God's displeasure (makes fear of your discipline incidental)
~Teach obedience through discipline (not as payback, but an aid to growth; pain inflicted is intended to make the consequence of disobedience unforgettable; Scripture does NOT support discipline out of sheer fury or exasperation); be firm and consistent; spanking is only one of many acceptable disciplinary tools
~"To attach a clinical name to chronic misbehavior (ADD, ADHD, ODD, APD, bipolar, etc.) and use it for an excuse for sinful behavior is a serious mistake." (pg. 87) As an educator, I would definitely concur that these disorders are often over-diagnosed and drugs way too freely prescribed to suppress the behavior that will inevitably surface as soon as the drug is gone. However, I know that there are some people who truly suffer with these conditions, and would never condone dismissing an actual disorder as fictional, as is suggested here. (my interpretation)
~Teach them to select their companions
~Teach them to watch their words
~Teach them to pursue their work
~Teach them to manage their money
~Teach them to love their neighbors
~Above all, live life in a way that gives you authority in instructing them in the ways of the Lord.
~Within the family, the Bible teaches that we all have unique roles designed by God. The role of children is simply to obey. The role of parents is to "teach them about obedience without exasperating them in the process." This happens when parents permit their own sinful attitudes and actions to surface in parenting (ex: favoritism, overprotection, excessive permission/spoiling, overindulgence, unrealistic goals, condescension, discouragement, neglect, withdrawing love, and excessive discipline).
~There are quite a few unfavorable comments about mothers who work outside the home in one of the book's final chapters. It seems very much that MacArthur has an "all or none" mentality here when it comes to a woman fulfilling her duties as a mother OR pursuing a career. There are a few pages of very harsh criticism for mothers who have careers. However, when seeking what Scriptures MacArthur offered for his stance, there were only about 12 or so verses in this chapter, and all had to do with the submission of wives to their husbands. I was in this for Biblical perspective anyway, but it's good to know where you stand, Johnny Mac.
So, overall, WTBSAP is a great resource for studying how to best raise those sweet little ones whom God has entrusted to you!
Reading this caused my personal memories of Katrina to resurface. I remember being glued to the TV, horrified by the things that were happening in the Superdome. I remember wondering why, with current technologies providing weeks of advance notice, there were still so many people stuck there. I remember seeing those people stranded in the Superdome scream out for help, and how they were blaming every person and agency imagineable for their pain and suffering. When my husband and I headed to Slidell and Mandeville (cities on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain) with my best friend and her extended family to do what little we could to help, I remember the unfathomable amount of devastation, the sweltering heat, the feeling of helplessness, and most vividly the disgusting stench of rotten food and human waste and death and disease.
This book transformed me (in the magic way that books do) into a 17 year old black teenager who took shelter with his family in the Superdome during Katrina. I experienced-through Miles- the terror of having to pay off gangs of thugs to prevent them from burning my things and beating up my family. I breathed the smell of 100+ degree heat saturated with feces and urine. I saw a man, so overcome with the heat and filth and hunger, commit suicide. I had to step over crack pipes in the bathroom, and eventually bought pills from a hussler to keep me from having to go to the bathroom at all. Providing the reader with a thorough experience of Katrina's Superdome is what this book did best. I was hypnotized by the story, and found myself hurting so deeply for the people who went through such a terrible ordeal. I thought that Volponi tripped and stumbled a tiny bit, though, when he gave these characters dialogue that insists the color of their skin was the reason they were there. Throughout the book I flip-flopped between wondering if he was just using those statements to make it more real, or whether he was trying to make a statement.
Hurricane Song also has another story about the relationship between Miles and his jazz musician father. A little cheesy, I'll fully admit, but a nice addition to the pressure and stress of the Superdome horror show.
I do wish that Volponi had included more about the history of New Orleans. It is an incredibly unique and significant city, and while Hurricane Song has the teen's attention (and it will), they might as well learn something! *Lots of harsh language in this one, people. Nothing that teenagers don't hear in the hallway at school, but it's enough for me to make a point about it.
This is Volponi's web site, and a fantastic resource to read more about his motivation for writing Hurricane Song.
This is SUCH a "boy book!" Redwall is the story of a war between the good mice (and other woodland creatures) of Redwall Abbey and the army of the evil rat "Cluny the Scourge." Matthias is the main character, and hero of the book, who is on a mission to decrypt several messages left behind by the Abbey's predecessors in order to uncover the great sword of Martin the Warrior, and therefore secure Redwall's victory. It's sort of like Indiana Jones meets The Mouse and the Motorcycle, with a little bit of Lord of the Rings (animal style) in there as well.
There are about a gajillion battles between the two sides, and several interesting side stories involving a huge snake, a band of warrior sparrows, and a vegetarian cat. I did love that one of the key characters was named Jess!
The books were jam-packed with action, and were relatively clean. There's about 5 unnecessary d's and h's here and there. Overall, though, I'd consider it a good choice for a 5th or 6th grade boy.
Even though this is the first in the author's series of many other Redwall books, I probably won't be partaking of the bounty. I'm glad to know more about the series, for the sake of my students, but one Redwall is enough for me!
For more about Redwall:
A Wrinkle in Time is the story of three children's adventures through space and time travel. Meg and Charles Murry are looking to save their father from being entrapped by the Evil Black Thing, and Calvin is a friend who accompanies them. They meet three angels who help them on their journey (who give love and encouragement to the characters through Scripture quotations), and in the end are able to get themselves back safe and sound to planet Earth.
As far as the writing style goes, I'd have to say that it is a little too simplistic for the nature of the subject within. Of course, I'm reading this through eyes that have read Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, as well, so maybe at the end of the day it is more about my personal preferences than it is about the quality of writing here. Regardless of what I think, though, this book was highly controversial in its initial years of publication (early 60's). Wrinkle was considered to be a book that was "too different" from other books in 1962, and was rejected by over 20 publishers for that very reason. When I began to research the cause of all the fuss, it was mainly because Jesus Christ was mentioned in the same list as Copernicus, Einstein, Euclid, etc. as people who were fighting the Evil Black Thing. Despite the prevalence of Biblical Scripture in the plot and themes of this tale, L'Engle was heavily criticized for her "liberal Christianity." Hmm.
But even though I don't love A Wrinkle in Time as deeply as I do other works of fantastical fiction, I can wholeheartedly appreciate its apparent groundbreaking in the public's acceptance of books that are "different." Who knows? Maybe L'Engle's Wrinkle was inspiration for contemporary works of fantasy.
I finished Picoult's latest novel this afternoon (Keeping Faith) and realized that I've read several books by this noteworthy author and have never posted. What is that all about?! Nevertheless, I am here to correct all wrong. First off, you've got to go into these brief summaries with a little bit of knowledge about Jodi Picoult's style. All of her books deal with family relationships, and most feature some sort of legal battle. Lots of her plots involve controversial topics, and resemble true headlines quite a bit. There are always twists and turns, and you find yourself making up your mind that the outcome will be one way, only to change your mind 2 pages later. They're all very good, and very thought-provoking, though you should know in advance that there's some language. To read about all of her novels, click here.
OK. Now the good stuff...
Keeping Faith is about the White family, and some bizarre things that happen to their daughter Faith. Mom and Dad are having some major marital issues, and an affair is discovered in Faith's presence. Soon after, Faith begins to see an imaginary friend that she calls her guard, and eventually God. Some of the things she begins saying and doing catch the eye of the Catholic Church and the Jewish authorities as well, not to mention the crowds of people who loiter on their front lawn to catch sight of the little girl. It gets ugly when Father-of-the-Year decides he wants custody of Faith, which results in a courtroom saga. There are some surprises, twists, and turns in the book, and each chapter will propel you to the next. You never know what is going to happen next, and Picoult is most intriguing as she keeps you guessing between the legitimacy of Faith's claims and the fact that the kid might just be blowin' smoke.
The Pact is another of Jodi Picoult's newest novels, and begins with the death of a teenage girl. The remaining 400+ pages detail the girl's relationship with her boyfriend, her family, their families, her secrets, and -above all- whether or not the couple had a suicide pact. It was disturbing yet compelling on so many levels. If you pick this one up, you can expect a story typical of JP in that there are all the twists and bends in the road. What's unexpected is the deeply sad reality of stories just like these kids'.
Nineteen Minutes should be required reading for every single educator, and for every Teacher Ed student at every college or university in America. You open the book and are launched right smack dab in the middle of a school shooting. When the dust settles, someone is arrested, and the trial uncovers some nasty bullying. Apparently lots of nasty things happen to kids when we aren't watching them. What I like about this approach to such a touchy subject is that JP isn't excusing murder by bringing out a troubled past. She is merely giving those of us who have been out of high school (or the students' version of it, anyway) much too long an accurate picture of what their life is like.
In Plain Truth was the first JP novel I read, and it is one of her older selections. It's the story of an Amish girl who was discovered with a dead infant, and how two opposing cultures (the American justice system and Amish tradition) dealt with her trial for allegedly murdering her child. The thing is, nobody knew the girl was pregnant. They don't know who the father is, and they surely do not know whether or not she really killed her child. As an added bonus, you get schooled on life with the Amish peeps as a local detective assigned to the case lives with them during her investigation.
My Sister's Keeper in probably the deepest of Picoult's books that I have read. It features a family that includes 2 sisters who are normal in every way, save the fact that the youngest was genetically planned to be spare parts for her older sister who has leukemia and is in constant need of bone marrow, blood, and kidney transplants. Then, Anna (the younger sister) decides she no longer wants to be her sister's donor. After the family is torn by a legal battle, and the book ends in a way that is rather shocking. What I like about this book is that it sparks some incredible discussions among readers, and it brings you to ask yourself some really uncomfortable questions.
The central theme behind The Tenth Circle is date rape. Daniel is Trixie's dad, and finds himself doing whatever it takes, even confronting his own demons, to protect his daughter. As an interesting side-story, Daniel is a comic book illustrator and there are comic illustrations of the story sprinkled throughout. Legend tells that if you look hard enough, there's a secret message spelled out in the illustrations. I didn't look hard enough. I just considered the book the prize.
So there ya have it. A lengthy post, I know, but remember I'm correcting wrongs here!
I'll tell ya, this book is beyond inspirational. I don't know that I've ever come across someone who is doing about this whole dying thing as well as Randy Pausch. He's very realistic yet remarkable, funny but nerdy, and immediately likeable. Despite the fact that he chronicles his experiences in Academia that most people cannot and will never relate to, he does so in such a simplistic fashion that you understand and take away some deep life lessons from his excerpts. The last few chapters are when Randy begins to speak more specifically to and about his wife and children, and that part is pretty tough emotionally. He wraps it up nicely, however, and send you back to your life feeling all warm and fuzzy and better just for reading about him.
I highly recommend reading the book and then watching the lecture on TouTube. That will give you the whole picture, and therefore the best experience. My favorite line in the video clip is when Randy talks about the fact that he has indeed had a deathbed conversion experience: he recently purchased a Mac. ;)
As I read it, I thought about lots of different angles from which to go about teaching this book in depth to students. The themes of friendship, trust, character, strength, responsibility, conformity vs. nonconformity, etc. would make this book an excellent choice for classroom study or a student book club. Just know that it is a question-sparker for sure...those make the greatest books! By the way, Thunder was written on an upper 5th grade reading level.
Curiously enough, David Logan (Papa) reminded me soooo much of my beloved Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird). He is the one to calm his family with the "it's not time to worry yet" phrase, and he handles the drama with class and nobility.