Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading

THE BROKEN WAY by Ann Voskamp

As I read this beautiful book, I was continually drawn further and further into the ministry of Jesus. He came for the oppressed and the needy, for the sick and the tired.  Jesus sought the broken for healing, for comforting, to love unconditionally.  He came to save all who needed His salvation and gave Himself up to die upon the Cross for me, for you, for each and all.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19:10  Jesus broke the bread and gave it…And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of Me.”  Luke 22:19   Jesus was the Gift to His disciples; He also is the Gift for us this very day, every day.  As we take communion, we sit with Him, the Bread of Life.
The Broken Way is about being the gift, ourselves, to those we encounter in our walk upon this earth, on the path that God has set for us.  By being the gift, we give with open and welcoming hands, not closed fists and fearful. We can become less needy and less sick, less oppressed and less tired because we are giving of ourselves from the heart molded by God.
As I finished reading chapter 14, I underlined so much in this beautiful chapter because it spoke right to my heart. I felt just like Hope, Ann’s daughter, who was lying on the bed with her mother.  I was listening to Ann’s words I had need of decades before, words that touched my soul today, that crept into my soul and heart through cracks begun years ago.  Maybe all the brokenhearted don’t need to try to believe more in themselves, but to believe what Jesus says about them more.”  I have lived broken since a teen…not being good enough.  By the time a bad first marriage ended after ten years, those old tapes of not being good enough had intensified.  What Hope began to grasp at her young age, I am healing year upon year since God blessed me with a Christ-centered marriage of 23 years now.  Now 69 years of age, I am blessed.  Thank You, Jesus.  Amen.

Being a member of the launch team for this book allowed me to begin reading before it hit the bookstores.  I have been so blessed to be a part of this as we who were on the team shared on a facebook page.  On it, we interacted with the actual book launch and the tour that Ann made over about two weeks in the United States, ending in Toronto, Canada.  We were able to watch the tour as it journeyed on from photos and words written.  We created graphics with quotes from the book to share with the others. Many on the team were able to venture to Canada to meet Ann and others on the team before it all began.  (I was not able, but enjoyed the photos, the messages, and the music from that afternoon.)

I highly recommend this powerful and insightful new book of bestselling author, Ann Voskamp.



Ann Voskamp is wife of a Canadian farmer and mother to seven children, ranging form college-age to a very young one.  She homeschools her kids, integrating real life in those lessons.  Ann is a New York Times bestselling author of The Greatest Gift and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, and the sixty-week New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, which has sold more than one million copies and has been translated into more than eighteen languages.

She was named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today.  Ann’s blog (Ann Voskamp) is filled with beautiful photographs of hers and her finely woven words.  Her site is one of the top 10 most widely read Christian websites.

Ann and her family live in Eastern Canada.




Book Information:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 25, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310318580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310318583
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.4 inches
Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading

A SPARROW IN TEREZIN by Kristy Cambron


A Hidden Masterpiece Novel #2

  • Two love stories intertwined throughout the book
  • Two love stories connected by a child, grown to be elderly
  • Two love stories of two distinct time periods: one in the now, the second in World War II
  • Two love stories seeking honest relationships where two people can be themselves
  • Two love stories where the couples call upon God for their strength in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds, tremendous suffering

Sera James (from The Butterfly and the Violin) is opening a new art gallery in California, moving everything from New York.  She is preparing to marry William Hanover at about the same time.  Everything looks like the start of a fairy-tale life for them.

BUT…William is accused of a crime he did not commit, is arrested barely before the wedding ceremony is completed.  From here, one side of this story centers around this new marriage, the fight for innocence and battling accusations that wound, struggling to hold onto hope in a future with William, and the discovery of the other side of this intertwined story.

The other side begins in 1939 when Kája Makovsky, living in Prague with her family, is forced to flee as the city is coming under the occupation by Nazi Germany.  Kája must leave behind her half-Jewish family.  In 1942, as a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in London, Kája feels the terror of this war because the “London Blitz” has arrived over England.  Through her job, she learns that Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the European continent.  Kája feels she has no choice but to return to Prague, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.

Survival and hope tie Sera and Kája together.  Their faith holds them up as they do their best to protect those they love and all they hold dear.  Their own lives fall into the background when far more is at stake as they each risk everything for those they care about most.  A survivor of the Holocaust (a third person) shares her story of hope from this deep, dark period of history with Sera, binding Sera and Kája across time.
It is a wonderful story.  It can be read without having read the first, but I believe it would be better to have read The Butterfly and the Violin.  I find that reading true stories of the Holocaust gives me an actual perspective of how people survived and how they aided others.  I have read Corrie ten Boom’s story as she and her family aided the Jews in Holland.  She was taken to a concentration camp and survived, although her sister did not.  Her real life is all about Jesus.  He was on her lips until God brought her home many years later.  I also like historical fiction of many eras, but like to read these Holocaust novels by Kristy Cambron for she brings faith front and center, making God so very important in the midst of this hell on earth.  I highly recommend these two books.



Best of 2015 List (Genre Fiction) —Library Journal Reviews 

Book of the Month Pick, Christian Fiction (Feb. 2015)  —Library Journal (starred review)

Received a nomination for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015

Geen musje zal Vallen (Dutch translation) —Kok Publishers



Kristy Cambron holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University.  She worked in instructional design, corporate training and communications for a Fortune-100 Corporation.  Kristy is a Speaker and Design Manager at The GROVE storytelling ministry.

Her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was named to Library Journal Reviews and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best of 2014 lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel.  A Sparrow in Terezin is her second novel and, as you can see from the awards listed above, it has received wide acclaim.  Kristy’s third historical novel, The Ringmaster’s Wife, was named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10 and will release in June, 2016.

Kristy is not shy about things that are important to her:  “Jesus Christ is everything.”

Kristy  lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons.  She can be found @  and and on Facebook @ and @


Book Information

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Series:  Hidden Masterpiece Series, #2  
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading



A debut novel…historical fiction, the first in the series — “A Hidden Masterpiece Novel.”  A fine novel woven on today’s Manhattan, New York, warp threads, interwoven with Austrian Nazi WWII weft threads.   It is lovely with each chapter’s focus back and forth from one era to the other, tying each strand together as the weaving is being formed in words.

The story centers around a painting that Sera James, a Manhattan art dealer, saw when she was a girl.  It was a portrait of a young violinist with beautiful blue eyes.  Tied into the Manhattan, New York, chapters is William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul who has a connection to this painting.

Adele Von Bron is the daughter of a high-ranking member of the Third Reich who is a talented violinist in Austria, extremely well-loved by the Austrian aristocracy.  She is invited to play with the Vienna Philharmonic where she meets Vladimir, the son of a merchant who also plays in the orchestra.  He is below the status that Adele’s parents desire for her, yet they spend time together as often as they are able.  As Hitler’s destructive progress engulfs Austria, Adele and Vladimir begin smuggling Jews from Austria, risking lives, leading to horrific changes for both.

Sera is thorough and diligent as she unravels the intricacies of Adele’s life and the background of the painting which is at the very center of this story.

Ms. Cambron interlaces these two stories beautifully.  Love, faith, courage, music, and art dance together, and alongside, some of the history of 1938 when Adolf Hitler advances on Austria is intertwined.  I enjoy historical fiction, and it seems that history of the Holocaust has taken up residence in some of my reading of late.   This is one novel, a debut novel yet, that I am so thankful I did not miss.


RT Nominee* Named to Best in Christian Fiction, 2014 –  Library Journal Reviews

* Nominee, Inspirational Novel of 2014  —  RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards

*Nominee, Best Debut Novel –  2015 INSPY Awards


Kristy Cambron “fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller.”

“Kristy is a Speaker and Art/Design Manager at The GROVE, and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons….”  She can be found @

“Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews Best of 2015 list, and received a nomination for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015. Kristy’s third historical novel, THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE, will release from HarperCollins Christian Publishing in June, 2016.”

“The last and most important thing?  Everyone has a story– you can read Our Story here. In ours, we’ve found one truth: Jesus Christ is faithful. I’d love to tell you about Him sometime. <><”  (from her websites)


Book Information

ISBN-13:  9781401690595

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Publication date:  07/15/2014

Series:  The Hidden Masterpiece Series, #1


Product dimensions:5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)




linking up with:  Teach Mentor Texts, Unleashing Readers, The Book Date, Literacy Musing Mondays, What to Read Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Kid Lit Blog Hop, Booknificent ThursdaysLiterary Friday, Semicolon Saturday, Reading List/Cozy Reading SpotBook Review Blog Hop

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading



A Mitford Novel

A great read!!  This is the thirteenth, and supposedly final, episode in the Mitford Series.  And, if so, what a great way to end this series…Dooley and Lace get married.  We have followed Dooley from his rough boyhood into the adopting arms of Father Tim and Cynthia.  Dooley brought youth and vigor, a troubled family history, as well as his troubled family into the story centered around Mitford.  He grew and matured, went to college to become a veterinarian (and did just that), has been around Lace for years as we watched their relationship develop, tumble, and then grow.

Father Tim is now a retired Episcopal priest in this small town in North Carolina.  We have seen him as he cared for his flock in Mitford, then followed him to other areas where a church was in need of a pastor for a period, and then on vacation to Ireland (well, not all vacation as he was led to some “sheep” needing prayer and love, some needing to be called to life with the Lord).

Cynthia is a children’s book author and illustrator whom Father Tim married many books ago.  He shares this town with her as they both minister to the flock.  Many other characters intertwine their ways into the lives of this family and become one very large delightful family that the reader (me) has delighted in and followed for thirteen novels.  I have loved them all and felt like I was part of this Mitford bunch.

The setting for this particular novel is the wedding of Dooley and Lace.  Preparation for a wedding, the relationships that revolve around it, and the actual wedding involve people that we know from Jan’s previous novels who step in and out and back in again.  There are even new people who grab heart strings as they come in and relate to those we have “known.”  Oh, there are some fun and crazy pieces that fill in a few empty spots in the Kavanagh puzzle.

God’s Truth is woven into the chapters through prayer, through sharing the Gospel, through lessons taught…some hard, all strong.  The Word of God in Jan’s books is a central point, standing tall and clear.  She has been consistent on this message throughout the series.  Every reader can glean a lot or a little of all that God wants to teach us.  This author has NOT been ashamed of the Gospel, that is for sure.  Amen to Jan for staying with God’s path.

Closure in some ways and new beginnings in others is what this thirteenth book is all about.  The way Jan Karon writes, allowing the reader to feel a part of this community also allows one to feel good about letting the world of these characters go on in the recesses of our minds without having to know an exact outcome for any exact situation!

My husband and I have read this whole series aloud to one another either as we drove along an open road or as we sat in the quiet of our living room.  It has been a fun way to enjoy all of these books, plus share this delightful community together.

The title comes from a song “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Harold Arlen composed the music and Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics). The song was written for the musical St. Louis Woman, published in 1946.  It has been song by stars such as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, B. B. King/Eric Clapton, Billie Holiday, and many, many more.  The first stanza is:

I’m gonna love you like nobody’s loved you
Come rain or come shine
High as a mountain and deep as a river
Come rain or come shine

I think my Mama used to sing or hum this song!


In 1937, Janice Meredith Wilson was born, and was raised on a farm near Lenoir, North Carolina. Jan knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first novel when she was 10 years old, winning a short-story contest that same year.

At 18, Jan began working for an advertising agency in Charlotte, N.C. as a receptionist.  Jan went on to have a highly successful career in the field, winning awards for ad agencies from Charlotte to San Francisco.

At 50, she left her career in advertising and moved to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to pursue her dream of writing. “After struggling—and failing—to get a novel underway, Jan awoke one night with a mental image of an Episcopal priest walking down a village street. She grew curious and started writing about a character she named Father Tim Kavanagh. Soon, Jan was publishing weekly installments about Father Tim in her local newspaper, The Blowing Rocket, which saw its circulation double as a result. ‘The installment plan certainly worked for Mr. Dickens’, says Jan. The installments became Jan’s first Mitford novel, At Home in Mitford.” Many awards have been given to her many books.

Besides the Mitford Novels site, you can also find Jan @



* from


linking up with:  Teach Mentor Texts, Unleashing Readers, The Book Date, Literacy Musing Mondays, What to Read WednesdayKid Lit Blog Hop, Booknificent Thursdays, The Book NookLiterary Friday, Semicolon Saturday, Reading List/Cozy Reading SpotBook Review Blog Hop

Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading

WALK ON WATER FAITH by Catherine Martin


Discovering Power in the Promises of God

A Quiet Time Experience

A fine Bible study on faith.  Catherine Martin writes studies with such depth and insight.  Through God’s promises seen in the lives of many who walked in faith (shown to us in Hebrews, the Gospels,and Romans), this study is so rich and filled with God’s promises, not only to and for them, but to and for us today.

I love Catherine’s studies as she poses questions and gives Scripture to look up in relationship to the questions.  She loves the old generations of Christian writers, theologians, missionaries, and others, quoting their words in short devotionals on each day’s study. The study is eight weeks long, but you can take as long as you desire.  Each day follows a pattern: Prepare Your Heart, Read and Study God’s Word, Adore God in Prayer, Yield Yourself to God, Enjoy His Presence, and Rest in His Love….PRAYER.  Each week has five days in this pattern of study, and then the weekend is one day of reading a devotional and pondering the week’s journey that you have just completed.  There is plenty of room for making notes and plenty of depth to touch the heart of God, should you be quiet and ready to hear Him.  I have done many of her studies and find each one to grow me a bit more in one direction or another towards God.  There have been several that I have done twice.  I highly recommend any one of her studies.

Catherine Martin, Summa Cum Laude, Faculty Award graduate of Bethel Theological Seminary, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Founder of Quiet Time Ministries, prolific author, and a Director of Women’s Ministries at her local church, has been a popular keynote, conference, and retreat speaker for more than twenty years.

We have recently completed this study @ Google+ where a number of women joined Catherine each week to share our insights and read the week’s lesson from Catherine.

Book Information

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Quiet Time Ministries Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990582108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990582106
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches

Originally reviewed 4-5-2015

Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Christianity, Picture Book, Reading



Two books by Ann Voskamp, two reviews, but I am reviewing them together for they dovetail so beautifully with one another.  As you can see by the covers, the titles are slightly different, as is the layout, as well as the intended audience.  Yet, they are both for Advent, for the waiting of Christ to come.  Ann’s desire is for each and all of us to come to Christmas with a heart open to God’s love.  Christmas trees go up each year with the hustle and bustle of preparation for December 25th.  But the twenty-four days prior can bring so much more when we spend time getting to know Jesus, the One we await.  Ann takes us into the family tree of Jesus.  “Out of the stump of Jesse (King David’s father) will grow a shoot….”  That shoot that bears fruit of hope and love is Jesus.  Ann introduces us to the Jesse Tree.  Each day we discover a branch of Jesus’ family tree, from “the beginning” when God created through the day of Jesus’ birth.  It is a rich story.  Ann writes, “If we want our Christmas tree to really stand wondrous and full of meaning, the tree we really need to understand and be astonished by is the family tree of Jesus Christ.  Because this is our story—your story.”

THE GREATEST GIFT: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
Beginning on December 1and through Christmas Day, this devotional takes us to the very depths of Christmas.  It reminds us that Christmas is about waiting for the Holy One Whom God sent to bring us into relationship with Himself  Each day begins with a Scripture that points to Jesus.  Ann follows God’s Word with words of her own that wrap around the Scripture and wrap our hearts around the meaning God intends for us as we delve into His beautiful Word announcing the coming of His Son.  We are given something to “do”…in the world that would remind us, those around us, or those we touch by the “doing” of this precious gift of Jesus.  We read a quote by an author, current or long ago, that takes us further into the heart of this day’s meaningful depths, which is then followed by “A Moment for Reflection” where Ann asks three questions.  Below each question, she gives us room to write as we ponder our personal answers.  At the end of the book, she gives us the website and “code word” to download beautifully designed ornaments for the Jesse Tree that you may have decided to do with your family.  This is a book that can be done alone or with your family.  It was published for the 2013 Christmas.

UNWRAPPING THE GREATEST GIFT: A Family Celebration of Christmas 
This beautiful book was published for this current Christmas, 2014.  Ann takes the beauty of last year’s white devotional and wraps it up with colorful family ribbons, art that is so very pleasing to the eye.  Children will be drawn into this book by the beauty of color and the artwork that matches each day’s devotional.  This book is meant to be read aloud with the family gathered around.  Beginning on December 1 through Christmas Day, each day has a Scripture and a story from God’s Word that relates to that Scripture.  There are “Thoughts to Discuss,” concluding with an activity for the family to engage in together.
At the end of the book, there is, once again, the website from which to download ornaments for one’s own Jesse Tree.  DaySpring has two different sets of ornaments available for purchase.  There is a DVD Curriculum “designed for families, small groups, and Bible Study classes” also.

Ann Voskamp is a wife to a Canadian farmer, mother tow six children whom she home-schools.  Two of her books have been on the New York Times Bestseller list- The Greatest Gift and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.   Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web is

THE GREATEST GIFT illustrators and photographers include: Stephen Vosloo – cover photograph; Paula Doherty – cut paper illustrations; Molly Morton-Sydorak – author photograph; Julie Chen – design

UNWRAPPING THE GREATEST GIFT has three illustrators: Jacqueline L. Nunez – cover and story opener illustrations; Paula Doherty – cut paper illustrations; Martina Peluso – interior story illustrations

Book Information/The Greatest Gift

  • ISBN-13: 9781414387086
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.88 (d)
  • New York Bestseller #7 in Religion, Spirituality and Faith – December, 2014

Book Information/Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

  • ISBN-13: 9781414397542
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/3/2014
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Originally reviewed December, 2014

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading


6031163_origI read this book just before Christmas because I needed an uplifting story built on Christian principles and, hopefully, would be a good Christmas read.  And it was!  “Quilted by Christmas” is a simply told, sweetly depicted story of love, tender care, lost and regained hope, mistakes made and being confused, and trying to walk God’s path.  It is about God’s redemptive love for His children through forgiveness, tender mercy, and the love that only God can give.

“Quilted by Christmas” is a part of the “Quilts of Love – Every Quilt Has a Story” series.  This is the first one I have read but will look for others.  But I want to find more of Jodie Bailey as she writes so very well.

Tender love between a young woman, Taryn McKenna, and her grandmother, Jemma, who raised Taryn after her mother died is central to the story as is the relationship between a young man, Justin Callahan, and Taryn.  The two young people have not seen one another for twelve years, but when they reconnect, they find that what they felt when they were eighteen still had a strong hold on their hearts.  They also carry baggage from their earlier relationship and the years in between.  Yet, if they are to share any future life, guilt, words spoken in anger, and words never spoken, and much more must be spread out before and between them.  Taryn thinks she needs to stand strong and independent, yet finds that these characteristics of hers must be given to God so He can wrap His arms of caring, forgiveness, and love around her.  There are pieces of Justin and Jemma’s lives that must also come to the Cross.  This sweet story is really about the way God has a perfect plan for each of us when we allow Him to go before us.

I highly recommend this “Quilted by Christmas,” but make sure you allow yourself room to ponder.

Jodie Bailey was a military spouse for fifteen years.  After their military life, they settled in North Carolina. She is the author of two “Love Inspired Suspense Series” novels – Freefall and Crossfire, and co-author of Holiday Defenders, a part of that same series, but with three novellas by three authors.  Jodie is a contributor to Edie Melson’s devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home.   She has a new one coming in the Spring of 2015 called The Dillinger Racing Series.  She teaches middle-schoolers to love writing as much as she does.  Jodie is married and has a daughter. You can find her on the web at, and @jodiebailey (Twitter), and
Seriously Write has an interview with Jodie as well:

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9781426773617
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Pages: 240


Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading


3158309The whole title to this fine book on God’s unconditional love for us is “Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes.”  At first, I struggled with the two words, “Love Idol” for I was not able to focus my heart and thoughts on God.  I kept thinking about all the idols most of us carry around such as money, jobs/careers, clothing, certain people/friends, which it turns out that these are exactly the things that Jennifer calls “love idols.”  We place value on them.  We seek approval from or by them.  We want to be accepted by and because of them when, in fact, the only real love, acceptance and approval comes from God.  The truth is that we only need to know that God created us in His image, that He loved us first, and that we are loved unconditionally because we are His.

Jennifer Dukes Lee writes an especially fine book weaving her own story in and through the beautiful reminder that God is all we will ever need and His love envelops us completely.  The love of others is special and sweet yet often comes with attachments.  Instead of seeking approval everywhere we go, we just need to turn our hearts toward Home, to God.  We are significant, cherished and approved by Christ.  He gave Himself completely for us at Calvary, paying for our sins in total.  Seek Him.

Age Appropriate: Adult

Jennifer Dukes Lee is a writer, a storyteller, and a faith blogger.  She is married and has two children.  They live in Iowa on the Lee family farm, raising crops and pigs.  She covered crime, politics, and natural disasters as a news reporter for metropolitan daily newspapers. Now, she uses her “reporting skills to chase after the biggest story ever: the redemptive story of Christ. (That’s front-page news.)”  She is passionate about sharing the Good News through own story.  She writes for Dayspring’s (in)courage, and is an editor at The High Calling.  Her blog is “Dispatches from a Good News Girl – Stories of Grace in a World that Needs Hope.”

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9781414380735
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/21/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Original review 8-30-2014

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Christianity, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading


7114270As I read this simple yet complex book, and pondered the lovely paintings, I was drawn to the beauty of praying.  Prayers are not just a list of people or things that we want, but it is our heart touching the heart of God.  Through the heart’s eye of a child, that fact seems all the more clear to me, thus drawing in the complexity of simple prayers.

This young boy realizes he had not prayed before getting into bed, so he gets back out of bed to kneel besides his bed.  The large golden moon shines in the dark sky throughout the book as we wander towards the various people he is praying for.  He prays for those who are homeless to be sheltered.  He lifts up those who are hungry, asking that they be fed.  He asks that the sick be healed.  He asks that wars end.  He does pray for his family, his teacher, and his turtle, a request list of many-a-child.  Yet through his heart’s lens, I realize that my world is important, but the world is just as important and needs much prayer.

The author dedicates this book “To All Those in Need of Prayer.”  T.B.

The art is truly fine as it is of mixed media as well as oil on watercolor paper.  As the cover shows above, the paintings are simple yet touching.  Each one spills over onto my heart.

Reading Level:   4 – 8 Years

Tonya Bolden has written quite a number of books for children and adults which have received a number of accolades, including the Coretta Scott King Honor Award, James Madison Book Award, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, YALSA Best Book of the Year, and CCBC Best Book of the Year. She lives in New York City.  A website that focuses on her books is
She is interviewed here:

Eric Velasquez is the illustrator of numerous books for children.  He illustrated the covers for 22 of the Encyclopedia Brown series of books published by Random House.  He received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award and won the Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration.  He grew up in Harlem with multicultural and multigenerational artist family members.  He lives in Hartsdale, New York.   His work and more information about him can be found @ and @

Book Information:

  • ISBN-13: 9781419707926
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

On 12-24-2014, I reviewed this lovely book on my original book blog. 

Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading


How can I possibly pray “Anything, LORD?”  Those kind of words have always filled me with fear.  What might God do with me?  Where might He send me?  What if I don’t want to do that?  But how can I disobey my God?

We live life chasing things of the world trying to fill those empty places inside of us.  For a moment, that new home, the nice car, the cute dress, the different job seems to make us feel better, happier, more content…for.a.moment.  Then we revert back to feeling the same way…discontent, unhappy, sad, yet still looking for what might satisfy us.  On page 46, Jennie says, “So the concrete things we can see and touch, they become the wind, they become the things we try to catch, and over and over, they pass through our fingers and souls, keeping us empty.  But when I take my empty self to God, he feels familiar and stable and more like concrete than wind.”        

Turning to God in our quiet moments, we begin to hear Him, to hear from Him.  We hear what plans He has for us.  But it is not just about listening.  It is about letting pieces of the self-pie go and surrendering that self to God.  He wants an undivided child to work through in order to touch others in this world.  God wants us to seek Him first and foremost.  He wants all of us.  The prayer, “God we will do anything.  Anything” is an incredibly difficult prayer to pray.  Yet if we truly want to walk with Him and be His servant in this world, praying “Anything” is just what each one of us needs to do.  

Jennie Allen’s book will turn your mind over, make your heart beat faster, and will give you plenty to ponder.  For such a young woman, she is beautifully wise and compassionate.  Her book is well worth reading, but not just to read from page to page.  There is meat here…meat to chew upon, to digest, to be absorbed into our bloodstreams in order for those nutrients of the Christlife to be absorbed into our spiritual bodies to grow as Christians.  God is not a God to be feared (I am still learning).  He is compassionate and just and loving.  He knows His plans for us.  He just wants to take us there, but he cannot until we release, surrender, abandon this person that we are in this world.  Only then can He use us for His glory.  Praying “Anything” is a mighty prayer, a courageous prayer, a serious Christian prayer.  May we each find the stability, the comfort, and the power of God.

2013 New Author of the Year Christian Book Award

Jennie Allen
is a young woman, is passionate, and is inspirational.  Jennie Allen states on her website: My passion is to inspire a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. I love words and I believe God uses them to heal souls and to reveal Himself to people.  She received her Master’s in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.  She is the author of two Bible studies, Stuck and Chase.  She was named by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) “New Author of the Year” winner of Anything and Restless, which also includes a DVD-based study.  She is the founder of IF: Gathering,   Jennie and her husband Zac, have four children.   You can find more about Jennie @

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780849947056
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Originally reviewed for first book blog in June, 2014.