Jesus Freaks Book Review

They received death threats.

They were warned to say they would stop believing.

They were told that if they did not change their actions, there would be dire consequences.

All of this because of their relentless dedication for a Gospel that is still, today, deemed offensive to so many people.

Jesus Freaks tells the stories of people across the globe who have suffered for one thing: their belief in Jesus Christ. People who were abused by their own families because they would not adhere to another religion. People who were held captive in a prison by their country’s government, tortured because they would not take back their belief in the God of the Bible. People who could not believe what they wanted to believe without harmful retaliation.

These threats are not extinct, as many of our brothers and sisters across the globe are persecuted for simply being Christians. Possessing a Bible is against the law in some of these places; worshiping in secret is the only option for Christians to gather together. For them, the concept of having a church building is not an option. For them, the church is truly the people, not a building.

Jesus Freaks is vital reading for any Christian who wants to examine their own dedication to their faith. It is a wake-up call for those of us in the Western world who have enjoyed such a wide variety of freedom in comparison to our brothers and sisters in the persecuted world.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Hat by Jaila Marie McCoy and Vinny Green

What happens when you lose something and the weather doesn’t cooperate? Find out in My Hat, by Jaila Marie McCoy and Vinny Green. The authors of this book have a special relationship: Vinny is Jaila’s uncle, and Jaila was going into sixth grade when this book was written. I’m not sure how they decided on Nadia Fawad to do the illustrations, but Nadia does an amazing job on every page. Her illustrations are so great that I want to see more of her work.

My Hat is published by G-Square Publishing in New York. Every page of the book is full of beautiful illustrations that tell the story. This book also offers something unique: select words are printed in purple, and the publisher invites young readers to send their definitions to G-Square Publishing by email. Kids that do this will get a prize from the publisher! They will receive a certificate that acknowledges their growth in vocabulary and self-esteem. This is a unique initiative.

Bullying has become a popular topic in recent years, but this book takes two different topics – bullying and nature – and makes the two subjects come together in a way that I did not see coming. So, if you want to open up a discussion about bullying, and you have an appreciation for nature, you may want to give this book a try!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Return by Nicholas Sparks

Usually, I’m not a big fiction fan; non-fiction dominates my reading time.

Usually, I don’t skip to the end of a book; I’m content to read straight through to see what happens.

When I started reading The Return by Nicholas Sparks, I got interested in the two leading characters. I really wanted to know more about the dynamics between them. I had never read any of Nicholas Sparks’ work before (although I loved the film A Walk to Remember, and isn’t The Notebook – movie version that is – such a touching story?) So, back to this book, I skipped to the end because I had to know how things would work out. I was pleasantly surprised with the interesting ending between the lead characters. No spoilers here, but I was pleased.

The Return is a long adventure into the lives of some people facing real struggles. Sparks earned points with me for setting it in one of my favorite places (the South) but you’ll like it just as well if you’re a Northerner. This will make a great Christmas gift for any fiction buff or anyone who has been wanting to dive into the genre for a while.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Quiet Times With God Devotional by Joyce Meyer

Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for the woman in your life that is hard to buy for? You might want to take a look at this book, Quiet Times with God Devotional, by Joyce Meyer.

This is the perfect size for gift-giving and the cover is beautifully designed. It’s a hardback with a book that just says: relax! My favorite place to sit down with a book is on my couch (and this time of year, I just so happen to have a throw blanket) – and that message of relaxation is what this book cover says too!

This book includes 365 devotions, and they are dated (January 1, January 2), but you can start anywhere. There is no theme, so it doesn’t matter where you jump in. These are very short devotions, and each one wraps up with a “thought” that is a motivational idea from the author. Each devotion ends with a passage of Scripture provided – not written out – that you’re encouraged to study in depth for yourself.

If it’s your goal – or a friend’s goal – to make time for quiet time, I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Eyes On Culture: Multiply Excellence In Your School

What does success look like in a school? Is it possible for all kids to succeed? What does it look like to hold teachers accountable? All these questions and more are answered in Eyes on Culture: Multiply Excellence In Your School by Emily Paschall. Paschall shares her passion for education and her experiences as a school leader to share her perspective that every child can succeed, if supported by teachers who are fervently devoted to their success.

Eyes On Culture uses four principles that Paschall believes in. These principles are actions, not just ideas: being a champion for students, expecting excellence, carrying the banner, and being a merchant of hope. One of the ideas inside this book that is not a “core principal” but probably just as important is that a school culture can’t be excellent if you “go it alone” – you have to have help along the way.

Eyes On Culture is a great resource for school leaders: assistant principals, principals, anyone in a school that is in a position to change school policy, practice, and how things are done. on a wider scale. There are great ideas in this book that I wish would have been implemented when I was a teacher. Some of these ideas, if they are implemented, could reduce the frustration experienced by veteran teachers and staff and could reduce the number of new teachers leaving the profession.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.