Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Nest

With rich characters and a solid plot-line, Nest, by Esther Ehrlich should be be an instant classroom classic. Set in the early 1970's, Nest narrates the life of 12-year old, Naomi "Chirp" Orenstein, her neighbor Joey, and the ups and downs of life on the coast of Cape Cod.

Esther Ehrlich's experience as an oral historian serves her well in her writing, as I can almost hear her the telling the story with the beautiful rhythm and language she uses. This book is a wonderful example of an author staying in character within the perspective of this young girl. Ehrlich clearly shows that she understands how a young girl thinks that her thoughts and actions affect the outcome of situations. Chirp's whole world revolves around how she feels about the what's going on around her, which is so true of girls at that age.

The book also addresses difficult mental health issues in a real and honest way, as Chirp's mother suffers and Chirp tries to control the stability of her family. Staying true to the setting, Ehrlich reminds us that during the '70's, family matters were kept quiet, adults were respected, and childhood seemed unending; things today's social-media teens don't really understand.

This is a memorable novel that every middle-grade student should read, with unforgettable characters that makes family and friendships real and powerful.

*Special thanks to Random House Children's Books through for sharing this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Music Review: His Kids United Christmas

Usually we don't listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, so my kids all moaned as I turned on  the His Kids United Christmas album at the beginning of November. But, they were all pleasantly surprised as the music was fun and energetic. Here are their thoughts on this debut album:

My 13 year old daughter thought that the songs had a good beat and were pretty cool for kids' music.

My 7 and 8 year olds enjoyed dancing and singing along to some of their favorite Christmas classics as well as some new tunes.

The 4 years old was the most impressed and said, "Mommy, I love those songs. Can you play them again?"

As a mom, I was very pleased with what I heard. The songs were a good mix of classics and original songs from the group. There was also a good blend of upbeat songs and slower ballads. But, most of all the true message of Christmas, Christ's coming to redeem His people, was the main message of the album.

In forming the group, executive producer Jimmy Swan said, "Our mission with this series is to give kids an opportunity to be encouraged, inspired and drawn to the Lord through the powerful tool of music, and give them something to relate to."

I also love that all the proceeds of His Kids United Christmas (Volume 1) CDs benefit the Dallas Neighborhood Art & Music School where all of the tracks are recorded and produced.

This album is a great addition to our Christmas collection. I hope it will be for yours too!

Would you like a free sample?? Follow this link for a free download of Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

Special thanks to Cross Focused Reviews for providing this album in exchange for my honest opinion.