biography, Christian, literary

Becoming Mrs. Lewis (Expanded Edition)

Author: Patti Callahan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical fiction / Biographical novel / Christian
ISBN: 978-0-7852-1809-8
Pages: 448
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
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When Joy Davidman Gresham wrote to C.S. Lewis for the first time, she was seeking answers to her newfound questions of faith. Born Jewish, and an avowed atheist, she was confused at her sudden knowledge of the presence of God in her life. Over time, letters between the two became more personal and conversational, and Joy began to see Lewis as more than a friend and confidant. Becoming Mrs. Lewis shares a fictionalized account of their friendship, and ultimately romance, that took place over a decade.

Patti Callahan drew on many sources for this masterful recreation of their unlikely love story. Joy and Jack (as he was known to his friends) come alive in this well-written tale. Their story is compelling, and the reader is eager to get to know them better. Bonuses in this expanded edition include discussion questions, an imagined letter from Joy to Jack, a timeline of events in their lives, ten things you probably didn’t know, and some information about Oxford.

This is one of the best biographical novels I’ve read, and I couldn’t put this book down. I had to know how this romance would end, since I was unfamiliar with their story. I highly recommend Becoming Mrs. Lewis.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

biography, science

Eureka! 50 Scientists Who Shaped Human History

Author: John Grant
Publisher: Zest Books
Genre: Science / Biography
ISBN: 978-1-942186-17-5
Pages: 224
Price: $14.99

Buy it at Amazon

Throughout the ages, there have been many people who made an impact on how we view the world. In Eureka!, John Grant has compiled a group of fifty scientists who shaped human history. This list includes modern and ancient men and women from all over of the world.

Reading somewhat like an encyclopedia, Eureka! gives a brief overview of each person’s contribution to our scientific knowledge base, while also sharing some interesting personal details. Each fun and engaging mini biography is three to five pages long, and includes a reading/video list for further exploration.

Teenagers and adults will enjoy this easy-to-read journey through our science heritage, while probably taking a few side trips to learn more along the way. I highly recommend Eureka!

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Michelangelo for Kids: His Life and Ideas

Author: Simonetta Carr
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Biography
ISBN: 978-1-61373-193-2
Pages: 144
Price: $18.99

Author’s website
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Michelangelo is one of the best known artists in the world.  Although he lived during the Italian Renaissance, much is known about him through documents and letters.  This biography shows us the story of his life, from childhood up until his last days.

An abundance of Michelangelo’s masterpieces have survived the last centuries, and people flock to admire them.  But who was Michelangelo?  What were the driving passions in his life?  The Popes of Rome, his Catholic faith, various ruling members of society, and his own family all influenced his art and his life.  An artist of that time worked for patrons, and didn’t always make his own decisions what to create.  Michelangelo was no exception, and at times had his hands full trying to please everyone who made demands on him.  But although commissioned by others, he left his own indelible mark on everything he created.

Michelangelo for Kids is a comprehensive biography of his life and works, which also includes 21 activities for kids.  These are art-inspired drawing ideas based on one of Michelangelo’s techniques.  Although this book is written for kids, adults would find this an interesting and informative read.

Reviewer:  Alice Berger



biography, Holocaust, Jewish

Shoah: Journey From the Ashes

Author: Cantor Leo Fettman
Publisher: Six Points Press
Genre: Jewish / Holocaust
ISBN: 978-0-9679721-0-7
Pages: 201
Price: $14.95

Author’s website

In 1944, Cantor Leo Fettman and most of his family were forced from their home and sent to Auschwitz. Cantor Fettman was the only one who survived. In Shoah: Journey From the Ashes, he shares his story of torture and survival as a remembrance to all who perished.

Fettman explains that anti-Semetism in Europe was nothing new when Hitler came to power. Jews had faced centuries of persecution, and it was easy for Hitler to blame them as scapegoats for Germany’s problems. But it took more than one madman to exterminate 6 million Jews. European Christians willingly followed his orders and other nations stood by and watched. They were just as guilty. And there are those today who deny the Holocaust ever took place, claiming that the Jews made it all up.

Hearing about the horrors of the Holocaust is difficult for most people. In facing what humanity did during the time around World War II, we also have to face what we’re doing today. Many ethnic groups and others face discrimination and outright violence when people don’t understand them and determine they are the enemy. If we want to survive as a peaceful nation, everyone should read this book and learn these important lessons from the past.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

biography, history

Davy Crockett: A True American Hero

Author: Kaitlyn Nichols
Publisher: Hameray
Genre: Biography / History
ISBN: 978-1-60559-057-8
Pages: 40
Price: $8.95

Buy it from Hameray

Davy Crockett is one of the more fascinating United States historical figures. Whether he was ranching and hunting, serving as a congressman, or battling at the Alamo, Crockett did nothing in half measures. He lived his life to the fullest, always searching for the next adventure.

In this biography, kids in grades 3-8 will share in the adventures of Crockett’s life. Written for reluctant readers, this series is meant to match the social studies curriculum, but at least two levels below their grade.

This easy to read biography of Davy Crockett would be a great addition to school libraries and classrooms studying his heroic actions.

Reviewer: Alice Berger