Stand Beautiful by Chloe Howard

This is one of these wonderful books for kids of all ages.  It will inspire kids to be their best and to empower themselves to be their best.

This book showcases a girl that has low self-esteem. She is struggling to fit in as a normal girl.  She always feels awkward.  She hides and tries to not engage with the world around her because she believes others will shun her and disapprove of her.

But as the story progresses, with the encouragement of others, she stands tall and she allows herself to be who she is, a wonderful, capable, beautiful and intelligent person.

We are all made in the image of God. And because of this, we were meant to be who we are, not anyone else. Jesus doesn’t make junk. He makes people who are each in their own way beautiful and wonderful.

This book offers this wonderful message for kids of all ages. I recommend it for girls but also boys. I invite parents to read this book over and over to their kids. We live in a culture that is so negative. We all need encouragement. We all need to be inspired. And this book offers just that!

I loved this book from beginning to end.

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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A GREAT Book By Paddy Bostock

The Hanging
By Paddy Bostock

This is a crime suspense novel that will have you sitting at the edge of your seat until you have read the last page. But what is more, the story is well-structured and a joy to read. The story is also filled with magic and suspense page after page.

The entire story revolves around the magical onyx stone. There are three main characters – the troll Vilius Vilutis and two elves Mordecai and Hazchem. Then there’s Zingy who’s the business foe of Villius. Do they manage to find the onyx stone and protect the world? That is a question that I will have to leave the reader with.

Posing as a papal nuncio, the troll Vilius “The Vile” Vilutis haunts the Cumbrian hills. He is in search of the magical onyx with the potential to revolutionalize smartphones worldwide. He is aiming to put his enemy, Silicon Valley gazillionaire Zingy Splitz out of business forever. Can he do it?

Suspicious, Zingy contacts Pope Benny in Rome, where rumour has it Vilius once worked, thus discovering the troll’s current whereabouts. Meanwhile two ghastly hangings disrupt the peace. The Vatican is implicated in the crimes, its motives darker than Vilius’s vindictiveness. The troll doesn’t seem to be as vile as it first appeared.

This is the fourteenth book for Paddy Bostock. I can’t imagine what he will come up with for another storyline. Some books are such gems that it made me think that an encore would be hard to pull off. But Paddy Bostock can, and will, pull it off I am sure. I will certainly look out for his other books and read them too.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Li Bai’s Shadow – Book Review

Li Bai’s Shadow
By Lee J. Marvin

This was an amazing read! Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading and pondering it. It is a book that I will read and probably re-read in time.

The book is about a young girl, Caitlin Wang. The heart-warming tale follows the child of this young girl with OCD. She has an imaginary friend, Li Bai. He only exists in her mind now. But she clearly sees him in her dollhouse.

Li Bai is not a complete imaginary figure though. He did exist in 700 AD. So, despite the fact that Li Bai is not really in her dollhouse now, it is not a completely unrealistic tale.

Caitlin is a lonely child, and trusts Li Bai with all of her secrets, longings, hopes and dreams. She communicates with him and shares things that no one else knows. Her mother was dead and her father didn’t take her seriously. He doubted her and she was always second-guessed by her father.

Once she reaches the age of 18, Caitlin runs away to Shanghai, China. The details of this are wonderful and are captured vividly by the author as he describes Caitlin to be exploring a new place. It is almost a magical description.

Marvin writes this book in a poetic manner. It is a book that is as intriguing as it is interesting. It is a book that can be read by adolescents who have lost a parent and who have always have the urge to run away from all that is familiar and painful.

The storyline with Caitlin switches between her fantasy and the real-world, but in the end, it comes together with a respect for new newfound independence.

I loved the book from beginning to end! I will recommend it to all adolescent girls that I come into contact with in my community.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Mother Earth, Brother Sun, Sister Moon By Kevin M. O’Dell–Book Review

Mother Earth, Brother Sun, Sister Moon
By Kevin M. O’Dell
Illustrated by Megan Phillips

Tagline: This is a wonderful and enchanting story for kids that will reacquaint them with the earth and all that is around them.

This is a wonderful and enchanting story for kids that will reacquaint them with the earth and reignite their fascination for all that is in it. We tend to not be aware of all the life that is around us. There is so much to see and take in, if only we stop and listen.

This story teaches kids many important lessons such as, family love, how to love and appreciate nature, and make sure that we don’t destroy it for future generations.

The story also teaches kids to stop and look around because the earth is very beautiful indeed. Each creature on earth and all the lakes and waters can offer so much nourishment and replenishment to us. All we have to do is to become aware of them. It seems that we always want to be doing something but not noticing and listening.

This book is especially relevant for our times. We live in a culture of being constantly connected and going. Many times, we are teaching our kids how to be distracted too through our own distracted mindsets. O’Dell’s book will show the reader, both parents and kids, how to stop and just be in nature, even if it is for a short time.

The illustrations are also stunning and bring the story home for kids and parents.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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A sensitive and inspiring story for children about sharing and helping the less fortunate

The Christmas Tree That Nobody Wanted
By Jerry Rosenstein
Illustrated by Chad Thompson

This is a sensitive and inspiring story for children, as well as adults, that emphasizes the true meaning of sharing and helping the less fortunate. It is a story that will help children look beyond the commercialism of our time and more significantly, do something special during the Christmas holiday.

Jeffrey loved Christmas. The houses were decorated with sparkly tinsel and different-colored lights. Snow covered all the houses and trees in soft blankets of white. Jeffrey and his friends were very happy. Christmas was a great time of year to have fun by sliding down hills in the snow with their inner tubes and rubber mats.

This was an exciting and magical time of year. Carolers strolled through the neighborhood singing Christmas songs. Jeffrey’s mom baked her tasty holiday treats.

On Christmas Eve, Jeffrey wanted to go to the toy store with his dad. On the way, he noticed that a man was selling Christmas trees. One small tree in particular was so damaged that no one wanted to buy it.

Jeffrey had an idea. With the money he had saved, he wanted to buy the broken-down tree. When they came home, Jeffrey and his dad fixed the tree and added pretty decorations. Then they walked around the neighborhood looking for someone less fortunate whom they could cheer up with an unexpected gift—the repaired tree.

Suddenly, Jeffrey saw a homeless man under a bridge. He thought that this might be the person that could use some cheering up. Not only did Jeffrey make a less-fortunate person’s Christmas a real Christmas, but also the Christmas tree that no one wanted had a holiday home.

This is a wonderful story that is as endearing as it is meaningful. The theme of the story may be used as a platform for parents to discuss with their children that giving is often better than receiving. The illustrations are bright and colorful, bringing the true meaning of the story to life.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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“Have you Seen Henry?” Book Review

“Have You Seen Henry?” is a delightful picture book for children about the importance of friendship in our daily lives. This charming story takes place within a community of animals, which includes the main characters, Henry and Henrietta Possum. Life is quite predictable and wonderful for the married couple until one day Henry disappears. Henrietta sets out to look for Henry and during the search, many of her friends and neighbors join her in hopes of finding him. They search throughout the neighborhood looking for Henry everywhere. They look for him at the park, the local market, the Root Beer Shop and many other places. Did Henrietta and her neighborhood friends ever find Henry? “Have You Seen Henry?” shows the power of friends and neighbors coming together in a time of need. The story will appeal to children of all ages and is filled with brilliantly, colorful illustrations that bring out the important message of the story. “Have You Seen Henry?” has many educational qualities and should be read by teachers and parents, as well as children.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Oh Brother, Why is He My Brother? By A. Law Shettleworth

51nvkpireyl-_sy498_bo1204203200_1This is a very endearing story about a relationship between a brother and sister. It is a story that will help siblings get along more and it will show them how to show unconditional love.

The story is about Katie who really cannot understand her brother, Richard. He seems to have different mannerisms than she does. But Richard always helps her out, regardless of how negative and critical she is of him. Richard never seems to be too put off by her remarks.

But what is more, Richard is always there to help her. He helps her find her bracelet when she loses it, he helps her pick up the blueberries that fall on the floor, and he helps her find the missing letter from her bracelet.

By showing this kind of unconditional love towards Katie, Richard shows how important it is to love your sibling, regardless of how different they seem.

This is a story about trust, unconditional love, and family. It is a wholesome story that may encourage families to make pancakes and enjoy them as a family, without bickering and complaining too much.

In the end, Katie discovers that despite their differences, she truly loves Richard and she accepts him and loves him just as he is.

I loved this story and I will be passing it along to the children in my midst.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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