On the Horizon by Lois Lowry

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Pages: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group

Published: April 7, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A very interesting read regarding Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima told from a child’s perspective. I liked how Lowry focused on some of the soldiers’ lives before Pearl Harbor. It gives children something to connect to on an event that they might find hard to relate to as it occurred so long in the past.

It was also very moving to read how American and Japanese children felt in Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima. Kids just want to play with each other and be friends. Unfortunately, as adults, we prevent that from happening by teaching them discrimination from an early age.

The eeriest part of the book is reading about the hospital ships, Mercy and Comfort being used after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. These are two ships the United States is currently using during the pandemic of the Coronavirus. They are ships of pain and heartache once again helping our nation in our time of need.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend, Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak.

Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers.

On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.

In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On the Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie

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Pages: 295

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Published: October 22, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am absolutely horrified such a person as Georgia Tann existed. The pain suffered for generations is a tragedy. It’s also horrifying to think she was never officially brought to justice.

While I agree some children went on to live extraordinary lives it still doesn’t change how crudely they were adopted. I do believe you should have the right to your adoption records. I do not know much about adoptions but if there is one thing I hope is learned is that adoption facilities should get detailed health information of the families from the families for the children.

My eyes have been opened and my heart hurts for the Georgia Tann kids. Hopefully, nothing like this happens in the USA again.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: The compelling, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought a new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. Christie and Wingate tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.

The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller

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Pages: 294

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Published: August 27, 2019

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I had never heard of the Dionne Quintuplets until I read this book. I finished the book feeling angry and sad. Thinking back on it I think I was angry the entire time I read the book. How as a human did at anytime we think it was ok to look at them like caged animals? Yes, their birth in 1934 was a miracle in itself but to be put on display from almost day one?

Although this book is touted as a Young Adult book it should be read by adults as well. If nothing else, maybe we can all learn not to treat others as commodities but as equals.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Random House Children’s, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: In this riveting, beyond-belief true story from the author of The Borden Murders, meet the five children who captivated the entire world.

When the Dionne Quintuplets were born on May 28, 1934, weighing a grand total of just over 13 pounds, no one expected them to live so much as an hour. Overnight, Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne mesmerized the globe, defying medical history with every breath they took. In an effort to protect them from hucksters and showmen, the Ontario government took custody of the five identical babies, sequestering them in a private, custom-built hospital across the road from their family–and then, in a stunning act of hypocrisy, proceeded to exploit them for the next nine years. The Dionne Quintuplets became a more popular attraction than Niagara Falls, ogled through one-way screens by sightseers as they splashed in their wading pool at the center of a tourist hotspot known as Quintland. Here, Sarah Miller reconstructs their unprecedented upbringing with fresh depth and subtlety, bringing to new light their resilience and the indelible bond of their unique sisterhood.

Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark

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Pages: 226

Publisher: Moody Publishers

Published: January 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

Katherine Clark was just an average wife and mother with two young children when she was in a tragic playground accident in late May 2009. A little boy playing on the jungle gym jumped and landed on Kate’s head, knocking her over and snapping her neck. Kate was paralyzed from the neck down. The doctors diagnosed her with quadriplegia and said she would never walk again.

This terrifying prognosis could have been the end of the story. But instead, God chose to work a profound miracle in Kate’s life and in the life of her family.

Where I End tells the incredible story. Kate describes how God’s presence carried her through the trying journey of re-learning to walk, both physically and spiritually. Throughout, she shares the deep theological truths that sustained her as she and her family traveled this difficult road.

My Review:

An emotional read that leaves you gasping for air.

I admire Katherine’s faith not only in God but in her marriage and friends. How many of us could say that if we suffered a tragedy in our life even as half as devasting as Katherine did that our family and friends would be as steady and loving? Put the shoe on the other foot and think about how you would react if something happened to your spouse and life as you know it is changed forever?

I appreciate that Katherine did not solely focus on how the accident affected her she talked about her family and friends especially her young children. I think a lot of times the children get lost in the craziness after a tragedy and so many like to believe that “children are resilient and will be fine” when in fact they have no idea how to process their feelings and fears. Katherine does not shy sway in sharing how her son felt like he was “far from God.” How many times in our lives have we felt this way and do not admit that fear to those closet to us because of fear of rejection?

Where I End is a book to read if you are “far from God” and need hope and encouragement to find your way back or if you or a loved one is suffering from a life-altering illness or injury and need hope you will come out on the other side.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Moody Publishers. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Hope’s Table: Everyday Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen by Hope Helmuth (Preview copy only)

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Publisher: Herald Press

Published: September 10, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

If tradition has a taste, this is it.
Like your grandmother’s beloved recipe file, Hope’s Table brings enticing meals to your family’s table. From the kitchen of Mennonite cook, Hope Helmuth comes this mix of more than 150 delectable recipes, stunning food photographs, and stories of strawberry picking, corn day, and Christmas cookie bakes. Traditions of a hearth, home, and hospitality run deep, and those values flavor every recipe and story.
Hope’s Table offers simple step-by-step instructions that help you create wholesome dishes with artistic flair. Practical kitchen hints and memories from a Mennonite life garnish the pages. In Hope’s Table, you’ll find recipes sure to become family favorites:
• Mom’s Rolls
• Bacon and Corn Chowder
• Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
• Maple-Glazed Pork Chops
• Apple Dumplings
Step into the serene, natural beauty of a Mennonite home. Take a seat at Hope’s table, and you’ll find plenty of reasons to linger.

My Review:

The copy I received was a small sample of the work. What I read was intriguing enough to make me want the book.

I learned that homemade cinnamon rolls are best frozen the same day even if you wish to eat the next day.

I plan on fixing the broccoli salad recipe for my husband on his birthday.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Herald Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary by Vicki Conrad

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Pages: 48

Publisher: Sasquatch Books

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children’s books dull and uninteresting. She often wondered if there were any books about kids just like her. With hard work, and the encouragement of her parents and a special teacher, she learned to read and at a young age discovered she had a knack for writing.

Beverly Cleary’s story comes to life in this narrative nonfiction picture book as she grows to follow her dreams of writing the books she longed for as a child, becoming an award-winning writer and one of the most famous children’s authors of all time.

Beautiful illustrations capture Cleary’s sense of humor, struggles, and triumphs, and are filled with Easter eggs throughout for fans to discover.

My Review:

The book I remember the most from my elementary school library was a biography on Walt Disney. Just like Beverly reminds me of that feeling I got back then. Beverly Cleary was my favorite childhood author behind Laura Ingalls Wilder. Reading this biography has whetted my appetite to go back and re-read Cleary’s books and read the ones I missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Sasquatch Book, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson

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Pages: 207

Publisher: Moody Publishers

Published: September 16, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amazon: The Blue Ridge Parkway meanders through miles of rolling Virginia mountains. It’s a route made famous by natural beauty and the simple rhythms of rural life.

And it’s in this setting that Hannah Anderson began her exploration of what it means to pursue a life of peace and humility. Fighting back her own sense of restlessness and anxiety, she finds herself immersed in the world outside, discovering a classroom full of forsythia, milkweed, and a failed herb garden. Lessons about soil preparation, sour mulch, and grapevine blights reveal the truth about our dependence on God, finding rest, and fighting discontentment.

Humble Roots is part theology of incarnation and part stroll through the fields and forest. Anchored in the teaching of Jesus, Anderson explores how cultivating humility—not scheduling, strict boundaries, or increased productivity—leads to peace. “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus invites us, “and you will find rest for your souls.”
So come. Learn humility from the lilies of the field and from the One who is humility Himself. Remember who you are and Who you are not, and rediscover the rest that comes from belonging to Him.

My review: This book helped me find joy in life after the death of my Papaw by making me relieve sweet memories from childhood. Sitting in the yard breaking green beans, learning how to properly plant as I got older and how to find God in everything.

My papaw was a true Southern Baptist and did not let a day go by without reading his bible. He read it faithfully until he slipped into unconsciousness the week before he passed. I have always admired his belief and have to go realize after reading Humble Roots, he was humble in everything he did. He was truly humble.

Humble Roots will be a book I treasure.

I received a complimentary copy from Moody Publishers. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Pie Lady by Greta Isaac

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Pages: 202

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

What is a Pie Lady moment?

For one family, it’s breakfast on the patio. For another, it’s Mom serving up creamy chicken and noodles. These are Pie Lady moments: times of goodness and glamour in the middle of ordinary days.

In The Pie Lady, Mennonite homemaker Greta Isaac ushers readers into the kitchens of Velda, Shyla, and other Pie Ladies as they whip up confections and concoctions that please the mouth and nourish the soul. Fans of Ruth Reichl, Sherry Gore, and Ree Drummond will love Isaacs’ intimate, delectable writing. Home cooks will love the recipes that appear in each chapter.Maybe you drop grapefruit slices in a glass of water. Maybe you brown the gravy and salt it from eighteen inches up. (Forget for now the sink full of dishes.) Each cook has her own Pie Lady moments. Each has a story to tell.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press.

My Review:

A three-star review from me means the book was so-so. I dislike having to give such a low star rating. I was underwhelmed while reading. I expected more in the way of the stories tying together. Don’t get me wrong some of the stories are really good and I learned how to look at each day and see the good but some stories just didn’t seem to fit. They felt like filler.

The recipes are the best part. I’ve already bookmarked a few to try. One is the meatloaf as I would never have thought about adding tomato juice.

I received a complimentary copy from Herald Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Family Tree Problem Solver Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors 3rd Edition by Marsha Hoffman Rising

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Publisher: F + W Media and Family Tree Books

Published: March 19, 2019

Rating: 3 stars

NetGalley:
Has your family history research hit a brick wall? Marsha Hoffman Rising’s newly updated bestselling book The Family Tree Problem Solver has the solutions to help you find the answers you seek. Here, you’ll find answers to genealogy’s toughest problems.

Inside, you’ll find: Workarounds for lost or destroyed recordsTechniques for finding ancestors with common namesStrategies for analyzing your problem and creating a successful research planIdeas on how to find vital records before civil registrationTroubleshooting advice for interpreting your DNA resultsTips for finding “missing” ancestors in censusesInstructions for investigating collateral kin to further your family treeMethods for finding ancestors who lived before 1850Case studies that show you how to apply these strategies to real-life research problems.

My review:

I found this book helpful but overwhelming at times. Some of the examples were very hard to follow and I found myself skipping over them. I’m one of the researchers of her own family tree that has hit a wall due to no records because of fire and flood of courthouses plus the spelling of my maiden name (Brocato) has been spelled very many ways. I will be using techniques learned in this book to try and get farther in my research.

This book can be very helpful but is not one to be used for new researchers. I think they may get overwhelmed and frustrated very easily. I would suggest reading after you have researched regularly for a couple of years.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from F + W Media and Family Tree Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review is entirely my own.

Inside an An AMish Home

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Pages: 96

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: January 29, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I was let down as soon as I opened the book and my opinion never changed. Based on the description from the publisher I thought I would get an “intimate” look into an Amish home and what I got was a picture book with extended descriptions. As a fan of Amish fiction, I did not learn anything new. If you have never read Amish fiction or are not familiar with the Amish then you will learn a few interesting facts.

I hope the print version resembles more of a coffee table book than a novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Herald Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.