You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘fiction’ tag.

Castles, knights, dragons, chivalry, and all the elements of a fantasy attract children of all ages. Many of these elements are harmless entertainment, but there are some elements which many parents wish to keep from their children. Young readers are attracted to the good examples of the genre, but some are lured to the few that might be attempts to lead them into things much worse. The few Christian books in the genre have not always been on the mark of good reading. In attempting to eliminate the negative, they often ruined the positives of action and the thrill of being part of something bigger than yourself. Author Ed Dunlop has created a world that brings all the positives to life in a very real way and includes no magic or witchcraft. Through this world though, Mr. Dunlop weaves biblical truths and life lessons that can affect a young person’s heart, soul, and mind in an enriching way seldom found elsewhere.

Terrestria is a place filled with evil battling to control its citizens and lure them away from King Emmanuel. Two books from the series Tales from Terrestria came my way recently for me to write this review. The first was called The Quest for Thunder Mountain. This story reminds me a little of Pilgrim’s Progress in the sense that the character embarks on a journey and learns a lot about himself, life, and God along the way. This is a fresh story though with the quest being to find King Emanuel’s will for the character’s life. The struggle along the way is to find out if he really wants to know and if he will believe King Emanuel’s Word against all others that it will be the greatest joy to know and do the King’s will.

The Tales of the second book I read, fourth in the series though the books are more of a stand-alone tale where order doesn’t matter, The Tale of the Dragons ventures into other life lessons such as respecting your parents and staying away from temptations. The young character is this story is lured to an island not far from home by the need to fit in and have friends, but the friends are not true friends and only wish him harm. The young man learns to heed his father’s words too late and finds himself a slave in a foreign land far from the safety of home. His father sells everything precious to him and risks his life more than once to find the wayward son and bring him home.

These lessons are brought to life so vividly and the stories were so captivating that it was hard to put down. Several children and I went through these two together. I think the lessons made an impact on us all including me. Ed Dunlop’s heart is truly seen when he states that, “If just one young person reads this book and realizes the wisdom of bonding with his or her parents and avoiding the deadly dragons of our treacherous society, it will have been worth every hour I spent in the writing of this book”. I wish I had found this kind of book when I was young. I think at least some of the bad I got into might have been avoided.

Mr. Dunlop has not made any versions of his books accessible for special needs except possibly a few groups by the use of e-books for a select number of his free works. That would allow some learning disabled students and hearing blind to use the Adobe Reader text to speech option. However, I hope to encourage him here to consider using http://www.bookshare.org and/or the National Braille Press to offer his wonderful books to various special needs populations. Either or both of these organizations will respect his rights as author, but allow special needs students including deaf, blind, and deafblind as well as learning disabled and other special needs populations to benefit from his skills of bringing faith lessons to all.

To learn more about this series and the companion series, Terrestria Chronicles, go to http://www.talesofcastles.com. Each of the books is available for $7.99 which is a great price for a quality paperback book. Ed Dunlop also has some free e-books he wrote available for download on the web site.

I received two books free in order to write this review, but I was not compensated in any other way. The opinion expressed here is entirely my own.

Advertisements

Looking for a delightful read? How about a good series that you can trust to give to your young students? Well, I have found it in Jim Baumgardner’s Sarah books published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises. These are the most beautifully written Christian children’s books that I have seen in a long time.

The characters are so alive that you are literally transported to another time and place. History is kept genuine without blemishing the tender hearts of your students with inappropriate material. The story is adventurous and intriguing to most any child keeping them hanging on to the very end regardless of reading ability. The knowledge gained from these stories is accurate and abundant which makes them perfect for any family especially a homeschooling family. The main character, Sarah, is orphaned in the first book, Sarah’s wish, plunging her into an unknown future. Her mother’s faith was instilled in her from an early age, and Sarah finds her courage to face the unknown by relying on God. Everything about these books is what parents are looking for to encourage their children and help them grow. Don’t worry about the character being a girl. This isn’t a “girls only” type book. The adventures are bold and varied making them perfect for the boy in your family, too.

I love the way the author said on his web site and in correspondence to the TOS Crew that he struggled with the historical accuracies of cursing and the “n word” during his writing. He looked at the prospect of keeping the story historically accurate, but also, considering whether the cursing added anything to the story. He, caring for children as a kindly father or grandfather, chose not to include cursing. More importantly, he found a terrific way of teaching history in another of the series, by teaching the use of the “n word”, but not by using it in dialogue as was often done during the time, but by developing a moment when Sarah could learn from a slave what the word meant to her and how it made her feel. This allows you, the parent, to continue that very conversation with your student teaching them a very important life lesson. I applaud the author’s efforts in teaching these values.

In addition, Mr. Baumgardner’s periodic newsletters add spice to the series with interesting and educational tidbits offered through the humor of himself and Granny, an elderly caretaker of Sarah’s, who is a bit eccentric, but a strong pillar of faith. The author uses the newsletters to teach more about history as he keeps interest in the series alive with contests and trivia questions. I thoroughly enjoy reading them and look forward to each funny installment. I know my students do, too.

As far as my special needs recommendations go, the author has beautiful print editions available, which he graciously will autograph to add even more of a special touch, with a decent size font in crisp contrast to the white pages. He also has audio book versions, as well, suitable for use by the blind, print disabled, and learning disabled student. The print versions seem to also come with a code that allows you to get a free audio download of that specific book, too, making it a very useful tool for the learning disabled student to read and listen to improve comprehension. Prices for the books and/or audio books are very affordable beginning at $9.99 for one print version and $16.99 for the separate audio book only. The author’s attention to special needs is appreciated. There isn’t anything available for the deafblind student, but it could easily be done by making the book available to http://www.bookshare.org. This organization is non-profit and provides various formats of shared books to disabled persons, schools, and organizations for disabled populations including deafblind and learning disabled through a subscription program which verifies the participants as certified disabled and protects the copyrights of authors and publishing companies. I recommend that Mr. Baumgardner and owners of Tate Publishing and Enterprising contact Bookshare.org to allow the access of their books to the deafblind. I thoroughly enjoyed the book I received and look forward to reading another, but it is not nearly as enjoyable to have to have a sighted person read the book and sign it to me. I would prefer to read it in braille for myself. I am sure the author would be gracious enough to consider this based on his voluntary attention to the disabled populations of whom he is familiar.

Children will love the series and parents will love being able to trust them. In fact, as this middle- aged woman can attest, adults will love them, too.
Check out the Sarah series at http://www.sarahbooks.com.

With a little help from a friend and some fancy assistive technology, I recently read a book written by a fourteen year old homeschooler that I found delightful and intriguing. I seldom try to read anything that is not printed in braille anymore because it isn’t worth the migraine I get, or the time it takes to plod through the blurry words on a CCTV even though it magnifies to 78 pt font with brilliant contrast. Reluctantly, I began in order to better write this review. It didn’t take long before I found myself wanting to read longer than I could. A friend helped me at times reading it and tactually signing it to me as she went along. That is a feat in itself, believe me. You know I had to be interested to go to those extremes. Read it I did to the very last word.

I found the plot to be believable enough to imagine the three teens sneaking to the top deck during a shootout between the FBI and smugglers during a boat chase. Adventure is the genre which, especially for the audience of pre-teens and young teens, does take leaps into the imagination. It is fun at this age to imagine kids your age doing dangerous and exciting things. The story doesn’t have to be totally believable and a little preposterous is often desired. With this title, you definitely get adventure from the FBI shootout to fighting over treasure and millions of years old fossil that some believe to be Evolution’s missing link between ape and man. Don’t worry about the evolution. The author and publisher are Creation believing Christians who hope to thrill your young student while helping him to learn the foundations of Evolution and Creationism, so they could defend their beliefs like two of our book’s heroes. Their young cousin believes in evolution and hearty debates are scattered throughout the book. Through their harrowing adventures, the young cousin seems to get closer to the fact that God might actually exist and have something of interest to him. Of course, you have to read the rest of the series to find out if our two heroes continue to testify for their faith and if Christ can capture the young man’s heart. The story should keep you interested enough to finish the series.

Media Angels does a good job bringing a quality printed paperback book to publication. The audience is pre-teen and early teens. Younger children unless really interested in science or anthropology might find the book over their heads. I found the printing to be a quality dark font on a crisp, contrasting white without the white being too blinding. It really helped my eyes to pick up the print. The age group will find this helpful as well since they are transitioning usually at this time to the smaller print and longer chapter books from the books of intermediate readers to more advanced.

The young author is the daughter of the publishers. Despite her age, Christina Gerwitz did a good job producing a story that holds the attention of her targeted audience while educating them on a complicated topic at the same time. That is quite a feat. Some strict English-minded teachers might find a few spelling and grammar errors, but none are terribly distracting to the intended audience of readers. Errors are being fixed with each printing, so they should diminish with time. Considering her age at the writing, I wasn’t concerned with these errors at all. In fact, it can encourage other young potential authors to give novel writing a try. They do not have to fear that their grammatical skills would undermine their efforts completely. Editing is always needed, but a student should be encouraged to try their hand at writing. In addition, the literary world needs more Christian authors entering into the genres of adventure, fantasy, and even horror. Our children are attracted to these literature types at this age. We need to provide them with Christian titles with which to explore and dream.

Felice and Jeff Gerwitz sell this book, its sequels, and other wonderful books by other authors on their website at www.MediaAngels.com. Felice also has a new venture at www.ScholarSquare.com where she is encouraging parents to create teaching videos for homeschooling and Christian audiences.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 524 other followers

Homeschool Mosaics Writers Group

Affilliate- Reading Horizons At Home

ReadingHorizonsAtHome.com

Our Village is a Little Different

Our Village is a Little Different

My blog is listed on:

Pages

Blog Stats

  • 23,029 hits
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: