children, Christian

The World of the Bible


Author: Jill Rubalcaba
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Bible history
ISBN: 978-1-4263-2881-7
Pages: 128
Price: $14.99

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Connecting Bible history to real world places and times can make the word of God come alive for readers. In The World of the Bible, National Geographic Kids shows us when these Bible stories took place and what the world may have looked like at the time.

Spanning the time periods of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, this book looks at early history, the Exodus, the judges, prophets, and the kings, as well as some of the places Jesus would have visited as he traveled around Judah and Samaria. Artifacts from excavations, photos of ruins, and artwork depicting the various scenes help readers to picture the events more clearly.

Although it isn’t truly possible to revisit the past, The World of the Bible makes it easier for kids to see these stories in a more realistic setting. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian

40 Days of Doubt


Author: Eric Huffman
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-5018-6913-6
Pages: 176
Price: $14.99

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If you’ve ever had doubts about your faith, you’ve probably looked for answers. In 40 Days of Doubt, Eric Huffman tackles some of the issues Christians grapple with, in an attempt to reassure the reader of God’s constant presence in their lives.

In a series of eight weeks of topics, Huffman covers doubts about: God, Jesus, the Bible, the human condition, faith and science, quality of life, sex and relationships, and religion. He addresses the concepts of miracles, the Old Testament God, happiness, and pain, as well as many other issues we struggle with today. Each entry is about four pages long, and would easily fit into a daily Lenten reading plan.

For the most part, Huffman’s ideas are ecumenical in nature, but I felt it was unnecessarily harsh to bash the current (not 4th Century, as the author states) Catholic belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity. But overall, this book is a nice summary of answers to doubts people might have about Christianity.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, Christian

Dinosaur Devotions


Author: Michelle Medlock Adams
Illustrator: Denise Turu
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
Genre: Children / Dinosaurs / Christian / Devotions
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0902-6
Pages: 160
Price: $14.99

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Illustrator’s website
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It’s so much more fun learning about the Bible when you can do it with dinosaurs. Not only will kids learn solid Christian teaching – they’ll also acquire some impressive knowledge of 75 different prehistoric beasts.

Each of these two-page devotional entries shares a Bible quote, details some interesting facts about one particular dinosaur, and relates the dinosaur’s qualities to Christian behavior. Then a “dig deeper” question is asked, followed by a prompt for Jurassic journaling.

Did you know the Baryonyx dinosaur most likely ate a diet of fish? Dinosaur Devotions shares this information with kids before explaining the words of Jesus sending his disciples out to be fishers of men. Then it asks them to dig even deeper, and come up with a list of people they would like to invite to church – and do it!

Dinosaur Devotions is perfect for middle-grade kids who love dinosaurs and are open to hearing about Christian living in a fresh and interesting way.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, inspiration, self improvement

You Are Enough


Author: Mandy Hale
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1234-4
Pages: 176
Price: $20.00

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Mandy Hale has become popular through her twitter account and blog. Known as The Single Woman, she shares her experiences with dating and relationships. But one relationship in particular, along with its painful ending, haunts her more than she realizes.

Carrying the wounds from this experience into her current reality, she suffers an emotional breakdown that she’s unable to deal with on her own. It will take professional help for her to fully recover and face what happened. And when she is finally able to speak with him again, she has a newfound sense of dignity that helps her realize he is not the man she believed him to be. She has gained the knowledge that she really is enough.

You Are Enough is Mandy’s reminder to all of us, that we don’t need to listen to the messages we hear from the world around us. God loves us just as we are, and we don’t need to be better-prettier-smarter to earn his love. We are enough, just as we are. And isn’t that just the message we need to hear?

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian

Pull It Off


Author: Julianna Zobrist
Publisher: Faithwords
Genre: Christian / Women
ISBN: 978-1-5460-2592-4
Pages: 240
Price: $22.00

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When it comes to living our own lives, many women don’t have the nerve to actually pull it off. They defer to the wishes of others rather than discerning their own unique path. Julianna Zobrist has struggled with accepting her own individuality, but has learned how to develop it while creating an authentic life. In Pull It Off, she shares some pointers with the rest of us.

Readers will smile at Julianna’s opening anecdote about her wedding, where the planning centered on everyone but the bride and groom. Rather than honoring their own picture of the perfect day, they conceded to the spoken (and unspoken) desires of others. She then shares some more humorous and not-so-humorous stories of others imposing their thoughts and opinions on her and her husband, Ben. Being a Christian pop singer married to a major league baseball player is challenging enough, but when you add several kids and too many conflicting ideas about how to raise them, things can get complicated. But Julianna shows us how they place their own marriage at the top of their priority list, ensuring its survival.

Julianna Zobrist takes a lighthearted approach in her story-telling, but her suggestions are clear. If we want to live authentic lives, we need to focus on our own needs and wants and go after them. Pull It Off offers a great message for women.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian

Good News for a Change


Author: Matt Mikalatos
Publisher: NavPress
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-63146-856-8
Pages: 208
Price: $15.99

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Sharing the good news about Jesus should be easy. We know He came to earth to save us from our sins and guarantee our place in Heaven, but how can we communicate this message without sounding too preachy? If you’ve ever struggled with knowing how to approach this topic with others, Matt Mikalatos offers some great advice.

Matt has had first-hand experience with these conversations, and in Good News for a Change, he shares the lessons he’s learned along the way. We learn how to identify what’s really good about the good news, frame it in a way people will not only listen to, but also understand, and make it meaningful to the person we’re speaking with.

This uplifting and inspiring book helps us see that opportunities for evangelism are all around us, and being prepared is easier than we think. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, sports

This Is the Day


Author: Tim Tebow
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Christian inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-525-65030-0
Pages: 224
Price: $25.00

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When Tim Tebow decided to pursue a major league baseball career, many people didn’t understand. Why would a successful football player go back to the minor leagues and try to rise through the ranks? Wouldn’t it be safer to pursue a career in broadcasting, as he had the opportunity to do? But as Tim explains in This Is the Day, life isn’t always best lived by making the safe choices.

Through a series of stories, Tim shows us the times in his life where important choices needed to be made. Although he admits he didn’t always choose correctly, he recognizes that God placed him in certain situations for a reason, and it was up to him to act. Maybe we don’t always see this in our own lives, but God asks the same of us, also. If we can learn to see how important this very moment is, we can make a difference in this world.

Tim Tebow is not only a talented athlete, but also a gifted story teller. This Is the Day is an inspirational read that gives us a lot to think about. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger