Book Review: Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

Out of the BoxThis book features 25 different projects that you could create with cardboard. There are step by step directions and even patterns provided. Some of the topics include masks, cars, dinosaurs, flowers, towns, and more. Students (and adults) can choose the projects that interest them.

One of the things I loved best about this book is that the supplies are reasonable. I also like that the book progresses in difficulty. It starts with easy projects and goes to more complex projects. The author even talks about how to fix mistakes and deal with challenges. I love the little maker mentality plugs sprinkled throughout the book.

Quotes: none but man, I’m going to make that lion mask!

Grades: 4-Adult

Genre: Nonfiction

Overall Opinion: Recommend

Source: eBook from Netgalley

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Book Review:You are Free: Be Who You Already Are by Rebekah Lyons

You are FreeThis book was part practical application and part memoir. It was an interesting look at the ways we let the pressure, opinions of others, and self doubt bog us down in our spiritual walk. The author was honest and generous, sharing personal stories that will speak to many readers. 

I attended the concert/conference called Broken and Free that Mrs. Lyons spoke at, which is why I decided to read this book. Let me just say, it was amazing to see a room full of women singing with hearts lifted up to God. It was inspiring and encouraging. This book has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, but for me, this book was good with moments of great. I think that is because no person’s life experiences are going to connect perfectly with all parts of another person’s life. The parts that spoke profoundly to me, might not impact you at all (and vice versa). That is the great part of a book like this, take the jewels meant for you and apply them.
Quotes

A conversation with God about Him being enough:

     You matter to me; is that not enough?

     Silence.

     “For some reason I’m not doing this for an audience of one.” I admitted.

     So I‘m not enough?

     “Yeah; you are kind of not enough. Why is this the case?”

Later she adds:

I realized no amount of public affection would heal my wounds. No number of roads traveled, cities frequented, books sold, positive reviews, or even souls healed would restore me. In those quiet moments, as I dialogued with God, he whispered his truth:

Public affection cannot heal private rejection.
Recommended Grades: High school-Adult

Genre: Nonfiction

Overall Opinion: Above Average

Source: Book

Book Review: #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World by Craig Groeschel

strugglesBook Review: #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World by Craig Groeschel

This book takes a detailed look at how social media can potentially change our relationships with God, with others, and with self. It is not a book that says technology is evil, but rather focuses on how to keep your relationships and online habits in perspective.

I hesitated to pick this book up because while I love the author, I wasn’t really sure how much this applied to me. I thought I had my social media stuff under control. I was wrong. This book will have chapters that hit home to different people in different places; because everyone  is unique, but if you have an online presence, you will most likely find yourself somewhere in this book.

P.S. If you haven’t read The Christian Atheist, go read it today. It is one of my favorites! It’s all about the way Christians say they believe, but deny Christ with their lives. Great stuff.

Quotes

“Because Jesus is all we need, let’s pursue him with our whole hearts. Only in him will we find true joy and true contentment. Only he is life, and only he truly satisfies.”

“Social media practically trains us to present a self that isn’t honest.” (I loved this because if you think about it, you don’t post all ten bad pictures you take-you only post the good one)

“But to say that you care but not act is not to care at all. Compassion requires action.”

Recommended Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: ebook

Book Review: This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

momentaryBook Review: This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

John Piper uses his experiences with marriage and the biblical portrayal of marriage to discuss how to build a marriage that lasts through both good and bad. He focuses on building a marriage of commitment and not just sticking together when things are easy.

This book was recommended to me by a friend who was reading it at the time. At first I wasn’t impressed because some of the language is a little thick and it is a very repetitive in parts, but there are moments of brilliance in this book. Early on in my life, I prayed that I would have a marriage that was different from the casual examples I’d seen modeled. My parents divorced early in my life, and I really don’t think they would have even gotten married had I not been an unexpected addition. Later in life, I’ve seen true examples of forgiveness and been blessed to see some wonderful examples of marriage.  For me, this book clarified some of the reasons why those relationships were so successful.

Quotes

On fear and forgiveness

His bride is free from shame not because she is perfect, but because she has no fear that her lover will condemn her or shame her because of her sin.

On living with grace

But the reasons I stress living vertically from the grace of God and then bending out horizontally in forgiveness and justification toward your spouse are 1) because there is going to be conflict based on sin and strangeness (and you won’t be able to even agree with each other about what is simply strange about each other and what is sin); and 2) because the hard, rugged work of enduring and forgiving is what makes it possible for affections to flourish when they seem to have died; and 3) because God gets glory when two very different and very imperfect people forge a life of faithfulness in the furnace of affliction by relying on Christ.

On the heart behind submission (you’ll have to read this chapter for it to make sense probably)

If a husband is loving and wise like Christ in all these ways, his desire for his wife’s change will feel, to a humble wife, like she is being served, not humiliated.

O
n hopes of marriage

A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or it getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks or her intelligence or her creativity. She puts her hope in the promises of God.

Recommended Grades: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion:   Average with above average moments of brilliance
Source: ebook

Book Review: Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller

readingBook Review: Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller

After writing her book The Book Whisperer, Miller noticed that several of her students who read in her class went back to reading less the following year. Her new book Reading in the Wild is a look at why that happens and how to create “wild readers” who are committed to reading and value reading.

This book is full of helpful resources in the form of handouts and real life examples. It caused me to do some self-reflection because as a “wild reader” I do all the items listed, but hadn’t really considered that most people do not. An example of this would be always having a book with me to read (either print or electronic). There is nothing worse for me than to be stuck somewhere bored.

Recommended Grades: Adult
Genre: Professional
Overall Opinion:  Recommended
Source: Book

Book Review: The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

port chicagoBook Review: The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

This nonfiction book is an overview of the people named the Port Chicago 50 and a detailed account of the explosions in California in 1944. It looks not only at the events leading up to this disaster, but how it impacted the lives of those men who were involved for the rest of their lives.

The tough part about this book is that while I see the cover design as a librarian and teacher, my students aren’t going to pick up this book without me selling it to them. That is a shame, because this book is well written and I know it will have an audience with my history buffs. I was kind of surprised that I had never heard of this event before. With the impact it had on our country and the events to come after, you’d have thought this would have been covered in school.

Quotes: None

Recommended Grades: 8 and up
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion:  Average
Source: Book

Book Review: Ingredients of Young Outliers by John Shufeldt

outliersBook Review: Ingredients of Young Outliers by John Shufeldt

This nonfiction book takes the ideas of Outliers by Gladwell and translates that into what young outliers have that make them successful. Several different attributes are focused on as well as quotes from individuals on that specific topics.

This book was very interesting to read. I kept finding myself shaking my head in agreement at the traits focused on and why they are important. While I really enjoyed this, I think there will be a limited audience that picks this up on their own. Thinking with my teacher hat on, I think it would be great for breaking apart as discussion topics and small group study.

Quote:

“In an article in USA Today, Gladwell was quoted as saying, “the biggest misconception about success is that we do it solely on our own smarts, ambition, hustle and hard work.” I agree. Success-at least in the business, sports, and entertainment worlds-takes a myriad of activities, a measure of luck, and some God-given talent.”

On failure: “A momentarily painful as failure can be, looking back, my own failures have opened up doors and led me to some of the best times and biggest successes of my life.”

Recommended Grade: 7th-12th
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion: Average
Source: eBook from Netgalley