Non Fiction Review: Turn It Up!

Turn It Up! by National Geographic Kids
Turn It Up!: A Pitch-Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World
by National Geographic Kids

5 out of 5 stars

This book gives an overview of the history of music and how music developed over time to include different styles. With paintings and photographs showcased in a colorful design, this book is sure to capture the attention of anyone interested in music!

I really love how the information is organized in easy-to-read text boxes. Each chapter focuses on one era of music history, covering Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, Modern, and Post-Modern music.

This book has biographies and songs of music styles like Jazz, Pop, Big Band, Blues, Rock, Reggae, Heavy Metal, and a dozen more, featuring music stars, composers, singers, musicians, conductors, and influencers who created the music we know today. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Breaking Through

Breaking Through by Sue Macy
Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties
by Sue Macy

5 out of 5 stars


“We play for the love of the game, and we are determined to carry on.” – Alice Kell, Captain of the Dick Kerr Ladies soccer team, 1921.

In the 1920s there were few opportunities for women in sports, either as part of the education system in schools or in the professional realm. This book tells about the women and girls who pushed for more sports education, better equipment and access, and for recognition in professional competitions.

I am not an athlete by any means, but I was inspired to see these stories of women who broke the barriers and strove for excellence in their sports. This book has stories, biographical accounts, sports stats, newspaper articles from the 1920s, quotes from famous athletes of the era, and even the stories of people who opposed women’s involvement in sports.

With stunning black and white photographs, this book captures the fiery spirit of these early athletes!

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Non Fiction Review: Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman by Barbara Kramer
Harriet Tubman
by Barbara Kramer

5 out of 5 stars


Harriet Tubman was born as a slave and escaped to freedom. She worked tirelessly to free other slaves and even served as a spy during the American Civil War. She is best known for her work as a “conductor,” guiding slaves to freedom through the “Underground Railroad,” a series of safe houses called “stations” that allowed slaves to travel undetected to the Northern United States and Canada.

I loved the simple writing style, easy for a beginner to understand. There are fact boxes in the corners that explain the meanings of words, and give direct quotes from Tubman. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Susan B. Anthony

National Geographic Readers by Kitson Jazynka
National Geographic Readers: Susan B. Anthony
by Kitson Jazynka

5 out of 5 stars

Susan B. Anthony worked tirelessly to secure votes and liberty for women in the United States. This book gives an overview of her life and her work, with explanations about petitions, laws, newspaper articles, and how these things influenced Anthony’s work. There is also interesting information about clothing styles, employment, habits, and how people lived in at the turn of the century.

I loved the simple writing style, easy for a beginner to understand. There are sections for an adult to read aloud, and then a smaller section with easier words and larger font for the child to read. It’s a great way to teach a child new words, and get them involved in reading together!

The colorful design and old-timey photos captured my attention. There are also activities and questions that get the reader engaged and make them think carefully about the ideas in the book. I appreciated how thoughtful the questions are and how much goes into the design! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Men’s Prayer Journal

Mens Prayer Journal by Romal Tune
Mens Prayer Journal: A Place for Reflection, Praise, & Thanks
by Romal Tune

5 out of 5 stars


This simple journal is the perfect companion to a daily prayer time, with plenty of room for writing in thoughts or prayers, and a Scripture verse at the bottom of each page.

I like that there is NO introduction telling you how to pray, or how to use the book, or some long personal story about the author’s prayer journey. There are NO journal prompts or condescending “uplifting” stories about Christian life. It’s just blank pages ready for writing and a verse to inspire you. The simplicity of it is perfect!
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Non Fiction Review: Essential Chakra Yoga

Essential Chakra Yoga by Christina D'Arrigo
Essential Chakra Yoga: Poses to Balance, Heal, and Energize the Body and Mind
by Christina D’Arrigo

5 out of 5 stars


This book guides the reader through an incredible journey using yoga to balance the energy in the body known as chakras. The first chapters give an overview of the seven main chakras, and how they affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. Each chakra overview includes positive affirmations about the area of life that corresponds to that chakra, such as emotions for the heart chakra, or expressing yourself with the throat chakra.
Then there are yoga poses, illustrated with simple drawings, that activate and clear each chakra for a smooth flow of energy throughout the body. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: The Fascinating Animal Book

The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids by Ginjer Clarke
The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids: 500 Wild Facts!
by Ginjer Clarke

5 out of 5 stars


Divided into chapters for mammals, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, this book gives amazing facts and information about each animal. Did you know that male lions will often sleep for 20 hours a day? Did you know that fireflies can speak to each other through the patterns of flashing lights? And that the smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird, which is only 2 inches long?

Every page is covered with beautiful photographs of animals in the wild. Each photo is vibrant and energetic, with the action of racing predators, diving birds, or a busy ant colony.
Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: How To Raise a Reader

How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul
How to Raise a Reader
by Pamela Paul , Maria Russo

2 out of 5 stars


This book gives advice for encouraging a child to read at every stage of their lives into adulthood. There are guidelines for reading to newborn babies and toddlers, guiding a child to read on their own, encouraging a middle grader or preteen to love reading, and influencing a teenager in their reading choices. There are chapters for each age group with suggestions on when to let a child explore books on their own, and when to step in with a subtle influence and inspire them to read.

There were some things that I liked about this book. The writing style is good, but a little pretentious in places. The authors write as if they know everything there is to know about parenting, reading, and which books are best.
They criticized some of my favorite childhood books as being too “preachy” and “moral”, so right away they lost my respect for their opinions. They would have done better to be more accepting of different tastes in books, instead of being so quick to judge certain books as “boring” or unappealing to children. Well, those books were appealing to me when I was a child, and they are STILL my favorites! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Path to Positivity

The Path to Positivity by Caitlin Margaret
The Path to Positivity: Proven Positive Thinking Techniques for Getting Motivated and Living Your Best Life
by Caitlin Margaret

4 out of 5 stars


This book gives clear and practical steps for changing your mindset and changing your thoughts, emotions, and behavior to live a better life. There are techniques for dealing with fear, anxiety, negative people, and past hurts that influence your current experiences.

I really loved the intelligent writing style that breaks down complex ideas into small manageable pieces. Each section has actionable questions you can ask yourself to identify where you need to make changes and celebrate the things you are already doing well. Continue reading

Cookbook Review: Bento for Beginners

Bento for Beginners by Chika Ravitch
Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches
by Chika Ravitch

4 out of 5 stars

This recipe book has all the instructions you need to start using Bento boxes for work or school lunches or dinners. It begins with the history of Bento and the traditions behind this style of food packing, then gives advice on using traditional Japanese recipes or using more Americanized versions of Bento.

I love that there are so many options for Bento-style lunches! The reader has the freedom to substitute favorite vegetables and dishes, mixing them with the recipes in this book.
The recipes are all simple and easy to cook, using basics like rice, beans, chicken, and veggies. Each recipe has substitutions and labels for vegan, pescatarian, nut-free, and gluten-free. Continue reading