GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

BookLook Review: Diary of a Jackwagon by Tim Hawkins w/John Driver


About the Book:

Popular Christian comedian Tim Hawkins shares his hilarious perspective on life in the 21st century.

In this wide-ranging, long-awaited book, comedian Tim Hawkins holds forth on everything from family, culture, and music to church, parenting, and education. Readers will enjoy laughing their way through the book, always feeling good about the clean and sometimes inspiring material they are laughing at. Chapters include riffs on marital communication (“marriage needs a challenge flag, like in pro football”) aging (“the diabolical orifice witch hunt”), worship music (“pick the right key, because I’m not Barry White and I’m not a Bee Gee”), and fatherhood (“There are no manuals for parenting. Color-coded warning labels or open-ended prescriptions would be just as helpful.”)

For fans of Jim Gaffigan’s Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story, Tim Hawkins’ hilarious first book reveals that for life’s many difficulties, laughter is the best medicine-when there aren’t any pills left.

My Opinion:

My family and I fell in love with Tim’s comedy when we saw him on Bananas, a local Christian comedy place that was aired on one of our stations and has unfortunately gone away – and way before we knew his family were fellow home-schoolers. I’ve also had the pleasure to see him in person at a show, unfortunately my husband and children weren’t with me, so I really, really wanted to like this book! I did like it but not as much as I thought I would – mainly because most of the material in it was stuff I’d already heard, either live or on Bananas. Since Tim also includes songs in his performances, it hard to really get a feel for the song when he’s not actively singing it and instead you’re just reading the lyrics.

I did enjoy the “Tweet Thought” at the end of each chapter and I did enjoy the book but it’s just better to hear him live – if you haven’t then I highly suggest you search out some videos of him BUT read the book first and then go watch. If you’ve already seen him the book will still be funny and your children may look at you like you’ve lost your mind as you laugh out loud every few seconds but it’s just not the same. So while I’d recommend this book, especially if you’d like something clean and wholesome and that you could read out loud with the family gathered round, comedy is much better live.

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(c) 2016, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: All You Want to KNow About the Bible in Pop Culture by Kevin Harvey


About the Book:

Somehow, it’s hard to picture pop culture and Christianity going hand-in-hand, but maybe we simply aren’t looking at things the right way. All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture reveals places where readers may be surprised to find redeeming values and gospel messages in today’s movies, music, popular TV shows, and much more!

When you look closely, past the outrageous outfits and the antics of teen pop-sensations, it’s easy to see that from the big screen to the small screen and right down to the radio waves, God and His stories are still prevalent in pop culture today. There are movies and television shows that speak eternal truth, reality show families who represent believers well, even fictional Christians portrayed in a positive light. And if you listen closely, musicians are still conversing with God as the original songwriters of the Bible did. For the reader searching for meaning in media today, All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture is the perfect choice.

Features include:

Fun Bible-based facts and trivia questions
Examples of biblical messages from current TV shows, films, and pop songs
A casual and engaging resource

You may purchase a copy at Faith Gateway.

My Opinion:

Now I’ll admit I requested this book more for my oldest than myself, but I knew I had to read it and so I did – I don’t usually try to find Jesus or Biblical themes in everything I watch or listen to. I know that if I’m watching say, CSI, more than likely it’s not going to have a Christian theme, if it does it’s usually Christians being made fun of, or if I listen to KISS more than likely there isn’t going to be much God talk. I think though, for our younger culture who is very much into the movies and even being able to personally interact with celebrities on social media that knowing how to see God in EVERYTHING is worth knowing. Kevin, the author draws parallels to some famous superheroes and other modern, well known celebrities or fictional characters and he does a good job at it (although I don’t recommend reading it late at night or you may not get much out of it).

For my children and I the favorite parts of the book were the quizzes at the end of certain chapters and games like the mazes or cross words – we did the quizzes at night in our cabin during our church’s family camp. Some of the choices were funny, like Alf was mentioned as a choice and we all laughed at that while some had us needing to grab our Bibles and re-read the account and were left in awe by what we had forgotten or not learned. I also enjoyed learning that some of our rote sayings like “escape by the skin of his teeth” was actually in the Bible and is attributed to Job – it makes our phrases take on a whole new meaning when one can see that they come from great men and/or women of the Bible. A great read for adults and while not all quiz questions were suitable for my now 9 year old, it was easy to skip them and include the whole family in on their Bible knowledge!

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: Motivate Your Child A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN


About the Book:

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, teach parents how to help children form the internal strength they’ll need every day as they grow older.

Parents have the greatest influence on their children’s character. Mom or Dad’s words, choices, actions, and reactions mold a child’s view of almost everything. It can be a terrifying thought. But there is hope.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanna Miller have spent years helping parents cultivate a healthy conscience and a vibrant faith in their kids. Motivate Your Child is a straightforward guide to doing this at home. Every chapter includes practical examples of families applying the Bible to their current issues, such as backtalking or being mean to siblings. From the “Integrity Package” to the “The Family Challenge,” they offer words to say, plans to implement, and ideas for working it out day by day.

With God’s help, it is possible to train and direct a child’s internal motivation-motivation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

About the Authors:

Scott Turansky has been a pastor and missionary for more than 33 years and is an author of several books. In addition to pastoring full time, Scott also conducts parenting seminars on Saturdays around the United States (http://www.effectiveparenting.org/). He is the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting (www.biblicalparenting.org) and has co-authored four books.

Joanne Miller is a pediatric nurse with 26 years of experience and the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. She is the coauthor of seven parenting books.

My Opinion:

There are some parenting books that should be on every parent’s shelf and if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ll know that Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller are two authors whose books I highly recommend.  I’ve had the pleasure of sharing The Christian Parenting Handbook and Cultivating Responsibility with my readers here at Growing for Christ.  Adding Motivate Your Child to my home library is thrilling because of the simpleness of the plan – get your children to do what they need to do without nagging or being told repeatedly.  Sounds like a dream, right?  Well Scott and Joanne give you the tools needed to equip your children to do what is right, make them take initiative, show compassion as well as what about consequences and how to put the ideas to work outside of the home.  The second part of the book deals with the spiritual development of the child, and may even prove beneficial to the parents as well.

Using much Scripture, which is a wonderful idea for any parenting book, the ideas given will help to make your home peaceful and to have those who live in it living in relevant peace, children will argue so it won’t be perfect but it can be improved.  I know that I’d love my children to take more initiative – instead of me having to say “Child B, unload the dishwasher” or “Child A and C, bring down the dirty laundry” I’d like to see them do it without being asked or reminded.  They help dirty the dishes, clothes, and house – they can definitely help do things around it to help keep it clean.  I don’t want to pick too much on my children, especially the oldest, as they do do a lot and for that I’m appreciative I’d just like them to take more initiative and don’t do just the basics to get by.

I suggest you do as I did, read through the book once and get an idea of where to start, if you’d rather focus on their spiritual development first – do that or chose to work on part one of the book which is moral development, it’s really up to you, the parent to know how to use this book in your family.  After that, go back and re-read it and take notes about where you want to start and each child may need something different, so maybe even create a list for each child – or if you have a large family see where the majority lies and proceed from there.  There is a chapter for those of us without a spouse, it gives more of a view such as divorce or if the other spouse isn’t a Believer but it can be adapted for those in my situation of widowhood – I would have liked to see a bit more on this chapter, but it was still handy to read.  The entire book is handy to have on hand and will hopefully give you hope that your children will eventually be the person God wants them to be.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: KJV Note-Taker’s Bible


About the Bible:

Finally, a Bible that has plenty of room for taking notes during public or private worship, small-group fellowships, or any other time or place you feel the need to make comments on the Bible. No more cramped writing in tiny margins—the KJV Note-Taker’s Bible makes it easy to stay organized and neat. Personalize the text of God’s Word to your life as never before, and treasure this record of your spiritual journey. Includes the complete text of the classic King James Version.

Features:

Deluxe wide margins for note takers
Complete King James Version text
Double-column text for easy reading
Words of Christ in red letter

You can purchase a copy at Zondervan.

My Opinion:

I’ve always wanted a Bible I could take notes in so when I saw the KJV Note-Taker’s Bible for review I jumped on it but when it arrived I was somewhat disappointed.  This is a no-frills Bible, bare bones really – I’m not saying that I need a fancy Illuminated Bible but it is simply a Bible with the KJV text with a wider margin, that’s it.  While the margins are wider there isn’t really enough room to make a lot of notes, say during a sermon at church or for in-depth Bible study.  The ‘standard size’ print is well small, smaller even than my thin ESV Bible which makes reading somewhat difficult.  I do enjoy having the words of Christ in read, something my favorite Bible doesn’t have.

Even with the drawbacks of this Bible – I would have loved to have a bit bigger sized Bible for wider margins and larger print but also lines to keep the notes orderly, there are several good things as well.  There is a concordance in the back, it may not be as large or complete as say if you had a Strong’s available but it works for sermons and Bible study.  It is surprisingly light weight for a hear cover Bible, it is easy to transport from home to church to Bible study and back again.  It is also thinner than most hard cover Bibles, it could fit in a larger sized purse if you want to and it does fit in a Bible cover.  Overall, I probably would not have bought this version of a note taking Bible but if you desire a simple, and perhaps if your handwriting is smaller than mine then you’ll enjoy it.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch


About the Book:

Gold Medallion Award-winner Bob Welch crafts 52 nuggets of Bible-based wisdom from one of the most popular novels, musicals, and films of all time: Les Misérables.

In 52 Little Lessons from Les Misérables, Bob Welch walks readers through Hugo’s masterpiece, extracting dozens of uniquely spiritual reflections from this enduring portrait of poverty, social injustice, mercy, and redemption. Welch reminds us that Jean Valjean’s life provides the truest example of why real love is found in the grittiest places, and that hearts are made whole beneath the crush of mercy. Most important, though, Welch keeps returning to the intersections of faith and reality throughout Hugo’s writing—those places where mercy becomes an inroad to the heart, and where love is only truly received when it is given without condition.

Discover again why life’s purpose is found not in attending to personal needs and desires, but in responding to the hearts of others.

You can purchase your own copy at Faith Gateway.

My Opinion:

I still remember when I had my mom buy me a copy of Les Mis in middle school, the awe I felt as I cracked open the cover and began reading Hugo’s tome brought me in the history and lives of those living in France.  The story of Jean Valjean, Cosette, Fantine, Javert and many others enraptured me – and still does to this day – the story is one we can all relate to, we may not be physical prisoners in a cell but we can relate to being a prisoner of something, some sin that holds us, we know the pain of those who can despise us, and many know the love and forgiveness of a loving God.  Yes, Les Mis isn’t just a story about the French but about the bigger story in us all so when I saw 52 Little Lesson from Les Miserables I knew I had to read it.  Bob Welch gleans much from the pages of Hugo’s book and in doing such he relates the story of Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, the priest Myriel, Javert who ends his own life – to us all – who knew a novel so long ago written would still resonate with so many today?

My goal is to re-read Les Mis when I have some spare time and with it I’ll be re-reading 52 Little Lessons so that Les Mis becomes even more clear and even more life altering.  Even though Hugo was not a full out Christian there are many, many Christian values and morals and thoughts throughout the book and Bob Welch seeks to bring that out in his book – there is so much in Les Mis that so much can be overlooked and that is what I liked about 52 Little Lessons is that the little things that are missed he picks up and brings to the reader’s attention.  No worries, if you have never read or even seen a movie or theatrical version of Les Mis you’ll still be able to read this book – and it may just have you looking to read or watch a version of Les Mis.  From “context matters”, to “the conscience must not be ignored”, to “the law is not enough” 52 Little Lessons will have something that resonates with everyone – I know I can’t pick just one lesson that meant the most because they all spoke to me.

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary edited by: Ronald F. Youngblood


About the Book:

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides.

Features include:

Cross-references to major translations
More than 7,000 up-to-date entries
More than 500 full-color photographs and maps
Enlarged type size for easier reading
Visual Survey of the Bible from The Open Bible

You can purchase your copy at Thomas Nelson website.

My Opinion:

When I received this dictionary in the mail I was surprised by the weight as it weighs in at 5.1 pounds and the huge size – 2 1/2 inches thick with it’s hardcover and it’s 1,280 pages, it’s a mammoth resource to have on hand when studying.  If you recall the NKJV Study Bible I reviewed a couple weeks ago, this is a companion resource to that Bible although it doesn’t have to be used with just that Bible.  While it’s called a dictionary, the entries are almost like an encyclopedia of sorts as they aren’t just short definitions but in depth analysis of the people, places and cultures contained within the Bible itself – such as “Jerusalem Council, The” takes up almost 1 1/2 columns in telling what the council was.  There are many charts, I like the visual survey of the Bible, as well as maps and photographs all in vivid, full-color to hold your interest and really show what images and scenery looks like.

As I said it doesn’t have to be used with just the NKJV Study Bible I mentioned above as the dictionary is cross referenced with most major translations, so whether you use KJV or the ESV, you’ll find this a helpful study resource.  I’m not sure if I’d use it for Bible study while laying in bed as it’s a hefty book but if that is where you study God’s Word best then by all means – I can see myself in front of a large desk with my Bibles open and this dictionary studying the people and times of Christ in vivid words and pictures.  Included are five easy steps in using your Bible in conjunction with this dictionary to get the most out of your study, whether you’re a pastor or a lay person who just wants to learn more the five easy steps will have you delving more into the Bible.

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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BookLook Review: The NKJV Study Bible (Full-Color Edition) published by Thomas Nelson


About the Bible:

The NKJV Study Bible, the most comprehensive study Bible available, now in a full-color edition with added features! The acclaimed NKJV Study Bible is the most complete study system for all who desire accurate study in God’s Word. The Second Edition includes more features to make it the best all-purpose study Bible. Using the trusted New King James Version, The NKJV Study Bible has “the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor.” Nelson’s skilled team of scholars has produced the system to reach for when study in God’s Word is the goal.

Features include:

NEW attractive full-color page design
NEW stunning Bible-land photos and graphics
NEW in-text maps and charts
Full cross-references with textual notes
Word studies and indexes
Bible Times and Culture Notes
Book introductions, outlines, and timelines
Reader-friendly notes and articles ideal for extended study
Deluxe NKJV Concordance including proper names

You can purchase a copy at Thomas Nelson.  Regular price $49.99 but if you pre-order the sale price is $39.99

My Opinion:

I’ve wanted a full color study Bible for some time but with a hefty price tag it just isn’t in our budget so when I had the chance to review this one through the BookLook review program I knew this would be my chance and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a study Bible, so isn’t one I’d carry with me to church on Sundays as it’s large and heavy, of course you can if you want but for me it serves me better by having it home to use to study.  The beautiful images of places the Bible talks about makes the whole experience lovely and come to life from the pages and make the history of what you’re studying seem more real than if it was just a black and white photo or no photo at all.  The book introductions and outline make it easy to understand the overall gist of what the book is about and the author, date written, historical setting, purpose as well as Christ in the Scriptures, and the timeline tells what is going on in certain years such as in the Book of Joel in 835 B.C. Joash becomes king of Judah.

This Bible is one that will be great to have alongside personal Bible study allowing one to really dig into the Scriptures more with the footnotes, cultural notes and in text maps and charts.  The full color page spreads make studying the Bible interesting while the study features make it so it’s easy for both the trained clergy and the regular Christian who just wants to know more about the Word of their Lord and Savior.  I used it after I finished a book recently that used the story of Ezra to more fully understand who the man was and what happened surrounding his life and times.  This NKJV Study Bible really helped me delve even more into that historical fiction book and made it a bit easier to understand why the events that happened did happen, even if I didn’t agree with it at first (who can know God’s ultimate plan especially with a human heart and eyes).  This is definitely going to get a lot of use in this house as it makes studying the Scriptures really come to life and in easy to understand ways.


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BookLook Review: NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women edited by Lysa TerKeurst


About the Bible:

You spilled coffee on your shirt before walking out the door. Ran late to your appointment. Snapped at your children, then regretted it all day. And spent an hour at the grocery store with no dinner on the table to show for your efforts. A typical day has come and gone. Life is full of obligations, emotions, and relationships. Some are life-giving, yet sometimes the weight and responsibility of everyday life is heavy to bear. As wives, mothers, friends, and daughters, we need to know we’re not alone. We long for someone who understands—someone to help us find perspective. When our days are long, and our nights are restless, it’s easy to think we should be able to handle things on our own. Or that no one struggles like we do. And that’s when we need a friend … to encourage us, to understand us, and help us become the woman God wants us to be. You’ll find that friend on the pages of the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. Filled with insightful daily devotions written by Lysa TerKeurst and the women at Proverbs 31 Ministries, the devotions in this Bible will meet you right where you are, in the good days and in the hard days, in the car pool line or the doctor’s office. With God’s truth as the foundation, this Bible will help you maintain a peace-filled place of balance in spite of your life’s hectic pace. Features: The beauty and clarity of the New International Version (NIV) Bible, 366 daily devotions from the women at Proverbs 31 Ministries inspire you to live authentically as a woman of God, Author biographies, and a helpful subject Index.

You can purchase a copy at Zondervan.

About the Editor:

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and national speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith. She is the author of 15 books and the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, where she and her team encourage over 500,000 women worldwide through their daily online devotional. Her remarkable life story has captured audiences across America, including appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children.

My Opinion:

I have this same Bible in a hard cover format but it is bulky and not really one that fits in my night stand drawer for easy reading in bed, so when I had the chance to review the compact version is beautiful blue duo-tone genuine leather I jumped on it.  My favorite color is blue and most Bibles for women usually are pink or the majority of pink – so finding a women’s devotional Bible in blue was awesome!  Each daily devotion is alongside the Scripture that it is derived from, so reading both the devotional and the Scripture reference will aid in both an understanding of the devotion as well as a way to look at God’s Word and how it still relates to us.  Each devotional also gives other verses to explore that relate to it as well as what page the next devotion will appear on, so no flipping around to find the next one.

There is also a topical index so if you want to work on anger, or if you need to figure a way out of your busyness, depression, going through trials, even quilting are just a few of the many topics you’ll encounter.  The author index is great if you have a favorite female speaker or leader and you want to read what her specific devotionals say it’s easy to find what she’s written.  The Bible is the easy to read NIV version and I use this Bible when I just need a good way to get into what the Lord is saying, I think my only complaint is that in the Psalms, Selah is only noted in the foot notes instead of within the text, this is supposed to aid in readability but as one who is used to reading Selah it’s sort of hard to get used to.  That said, there is not an exact interpretation of Selah but from what I’ve read on the use of the word, as my children have asked in the past, it’s meant to be a pause or reflection – so as we read the Psalms and come upon Selah the Psalmist is telling us to pause, to reflect on those words.

 

As in most compact versions, the print is quite tiny – so if you’re like me and have a hard time with small print get out your eyeglasses or a magnifying glass.  Okay, it’s not that tiny – but it is tiny enough that my glasses do improve my reading experience, but that goes for just about any book I read these days.  The beautiful blue silk ribbon will help you in keeping your place and definitely adds even more the the feminine feel of the Bible – that goes along with the light floral design in the corner of the devotional pages.  This is a beautiful Bible, and would make a great gift for a lady in your life, especially if she likes blue.  The top part of the cover is a smooth light blue while the bottom part is an embossed darker blue (I’m sorry, I can’t remember the exact colors as they were listed on the package).  The beauty of the outside of this Bible adds to the beauty of what is between the covers, God’s Holy Word that He gave to us and it’s one I’m happy to be able to put in my nightstand or in my purse.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: Faithgirlz! Big Book of Quizzes from the editors of Faithgirlz!


About the Book:

Welcome to the world of, well, you! The Faithgirlz! Big Book of Quizzes offers more than twenty quizzes delve into school, friends, faith, family, guys, and questions “All-About-You.” Take the quizzes on your own or with friends. Some funny, some thought-provoking, every quiz ends with wide range of answers to help girls think about themselves, get advice on tons of topics, and learn little “who knew?” facts about how they really think and feel – done in a fun format every girl loves. Girls will love circling questions, asking BFFs for best answers, and LOLing at those “that’s SO me” moments. And, yet, each has a takeaway message that makes the Big Book of Quizzes a super entertaining, relevant, and interactive read for girls ages eight to twelve.

You can purchase your own copy at Zondervan.

My Opinion:

When I was growing up I read certain teen mags that I won’t let my 12 and 10 year old daughters touch let alone read and they had those fun multiple choice quizzes, I said fun not appropriate.  Unfortunately there aren’t Christian magazines out there with quizzes like those in them so when I saw the FaithGirlz! Big Book of Quizzes up for review I knew my girls would enjoy doing the quizzes with each other, by themselves and with friends.  There are four chapters in this book and they are titled:

  1. All About You
  2. School Stitches and Stuff
  3. Besties, Boys and Other Bafflers
  4. Faith and Family

Each chapter has between six and eight multiple choice quizzes for your daughters to work through and the results at the end simply require them to count how many A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s they got and then the one with the most is the girls’ results.  I didn’t think the school section would have much in the way for my girls since they are homeschooled but the quiz on your secret learning style is great for however the girl is being schooled.  The one thing my daughter’s and I did not like were the quizzes about boys such as, “are you totally crush crazy?”, “are you ready to date?” and “who’s your perfect guy”, since my girls aren’t exposed to peers who are boy crazy and we chose to let God lead the way as to who is going to be their perfect guy (or not, maybe He’ll lead them to be single and serve Him) these quizzes weren’t that pertinent to us.  I also don’t think that girls should be focusing on this type of thing, instead they should focus on their relationships with their family, community, God and friends (not necessarily in that order).

There wasn’t much of a spiritual aspect either, which I was sort of surprised by – since it is a FaithGirlz! publication I was expecting some Scripture or Scriptural connection to what the girls learn about themselves or their friends from the quizzes.  Unless I missed it there were no Bible verses or Scriptural connections at all, especially where it was most important – with the guy issue and the Faith section.  Even though there is the chapter on Faith and Family I found this to be a book that whether the girl is Christian, Muslim or no religious affiliation could pick this up and relate it to her life and her beliefs.  Overall, it’s a fun book and provides a fun look into the lives of my girls and their friends but if I had to recommend it based on Biblical worldview or being overwhelming Christian I could not recommend it – it’s simply a book with fun quizzes.

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: Life Behind the Walll; Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smuggler’s Treasure by Robert Elmer #grow4christ #bookreview


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About the Book:

Marking the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Berlin Wall, this epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, 3-books-in-one features teens and their family’s struggle living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, from its creation after WWII, to life behind the wall during the Cold War, to the Wall’s ultimate and final destruction.

Both educational and exciting, Life Behind the Wall is a great choice for middle readers at home or school.

 

You can purchase your copy at Zondervan or on Amazon.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I wasn’t really sure what to think when I requested this book, as sometimes books geared towards older children that are based in history seem to have a lot of things lacking – such as historical accuracy among other issues – and I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case in this 3-in-1 book.  My oldest daughter has a fascination about the culture and history of WWII and so that was my main impetus to request Life Behind the Wall – because I knew it’d be something that she would more than likely enjoy reading and now that I’ve read it I know she will if she can hang on through the first couple of chapters.  I say that because it took me the first few chapters of Candy Bombers to get really into the book, at first it was a little boring but as the reason for the title emerged things really began picking up – while I knew that most people in Europe really didn’t care for the Americans I didn’t know how deeply that was felt nor did I realize how divided Berlin was.  This book gave a startling look into how life was for those in Berlin after the War and then as the Wall went up and then came down again – having family trapped on side and not being able to see them unless you went through an extensive border crossing process, that made me nervous just reading about the one the characters had to go through.

 

At the end of each book there are some historical facts, such as what was really true – the author wove the fictional characters into the story while keeping with historical accuracy and not trying to make things worse (of course I’m not sure how things could have gotten much worse) or seem better than they were.  I don’t want to give too much away but the story of the candy bombs, which were little parachutes tied to candy, which American pilots would then drop so that the children below could have a little taste of something sweet.  The stories follow on family over the course of the years Erich’s mother marries an American pilot against the advice of her mother in law of her 1st, killed, husband and then anger and hatred tears the family apart.  Beetle Bunker, follows Sabine, Erich’s (who is now trying to become a Dr in Communist Berlin) half sister, who wants to help with the escapes that seem to be happening but no one wants to talk about since your neighbor could turn you in.  Finally, in Smuggler’s Treasure, Liesl who is Sabine’s daughter, helps in smuggling Bibles across the border to her uncle Erich but then as startling information comes to light as she writes a paper for school she finds something about her family.

 

As the stories carry on and flow together it’s like watching one time in history flow seemlessly into the other – which is what I liked about this book and I didn’t have to wait for the next one to come out while I forget how each character is related to the other.  With the historical facts also comes discussion questions which can lead to not just more digging and researching into history (great for the homeschool student) but also the use of Scripture will have the reader who goes through the questions delving in Scripture as well.  This was an eye opening read – as in school I learned about the Berlin Wall but not much more and I’ve even seen a piece of it at our local Air Force Museum, but to read about what really went on – the persecution of Christians, the starvation, the horrible medical care and more – makes it all come alive and the author, Robert Elmer, did so with skill.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Comments Off on BookLook Review: Life Behind the Walll; Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smuggler’s Treasure by Robert Elmer #grow4christ #bookreview

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