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Head for Mexico: The Renegade Guide–expect the unexpected!

Head for Mexico: The Renegade Guide

by Don Adams

head-for-the-borderI picked this book up in the second hand book room at the Lake Chapala Society Library   for a few pesos. This is an informative book written with a sense of humor. Don Adams doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he doesn’t want you to take yourself too seriously either. He has organized the book well so that you can enjoy it in its entirety or you can pick and choose sections as needed. I already live in Mexico, so my perspective was one of comparing my experiences with his. Although he has spent a lot of time in the Lake Chapala area (home of MANY expats from the U.S. and Canada), he also has lived in many other parts of Mexico. Just like other countries, there is no ONE Mexico, but Adams accurately offers up a taste of cultural differences South of the Border with respect for the kind and generous people here. Unlike his Internet references which are about 14 years old, the people of Mexico have not changed much since he wrote the book. I found it to be an accurate portrayal of life in Mexico where one should always expect the unexpected.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Travel, Nonfiction (Adult)

Notes: Some government information and Internet references are dated, but it still stands as a good resource for someone thinking about moving to Mexico.

Publication:   August 11, 2003–Trafford Publishing

Memorable Lines:

Here’s typical (and accurate) advice from Don Adams to give you a flavor of the book: “And a lot of folks caution against driving at night. Actually, nobody in their right mind would even want to consider this. Usually it’s just me and the truckers flying through the dark, although you’ll usually find a pretty active level of traffic on the autopistas connecting the major cities.”

The Simplest Way to Change the World–opening your home to others

The Simplest Way to Change the World

by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements

Why would an introvert with no the-simplest-waygift for entertaining read a book on hospitality? True confession: when I clicked on a link in an email to see what the book was about, I was unknowingly requesting a review copy of the book.  I have to admit I was intrigued by the subtitle: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life, and I had to wonder if maybe, just maybe, God was drawing me out of my comfort zone to show me a way that I could share the love of Jesus with others as a part of my daily life.

The Simplest Way to Change the World presents a biblical basis, both historically and scripturally, for hospitality: making your home, yard, and life open for engaging conversations with both non-Christians and other Christians. It shares the difference between entertaining (a high pressure show to convince others of your worth) and hospitality (opening your heart to others).  A discussion of the rhythms of your life shows how to include others in what you and your family are already doing and also to intentionally create opportunities to include others. In addition, there are suggestions for “reverse hospitality”–how to share Jesus’ love with those who are uncomfortable with an invitation into your home or are physically unable to leave their own residence.

The authors include anecdotes from their own experiences as well as tales related by family and friends who are sharing their homes, lives, and hearts with others. They emphasize that hospitality can be planned or spontaneous, and they point out that Jesus’ ministry was not a three step plan, complete with PowerPoint, to bring people into a physical church building. Instead, He wandered from place to place, listening, sharing, and meeting people’s needs.

This is not a difficult read, not a philosophical or religious treatise. It is practical, sometimes humorous, and always interesting. It stimulates readers to think of ways they can use hospitality in their own circumstances, where God has located them, and with the people He brings into their lives.  At the end of the book there is a helpful study guide for those who want to use this tool as a church or in a small group setting to learn about hospitality.

And as to the mouse click that brought The Simplest Way to Change the World to my iPad? No regrets here! Reading this book was a blessing.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Moody Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Christian, Nonfiction

Publication:  February 1, 2017–Moody Publishing

Memorable Lines:

And while the everyday use of our homes to welcome others may not feel like the most exciting cause in the world, we must remember that ordinary does not equal insignificant.

As you simply listen well, you practice Christ’s compassion.  The world is full of people who halfway listen to others just so they can take their turn talking next.

But the voice of God sang a sanguine love song in the rubble of my world.

The end goal of hospitality is care and healing–we do the caring and Jesus does the healing.

Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education

Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education

by Raphaële Friermalala

illustrated by Aurélia Fronty

The youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize earned this award and world-wide acclaim through her activism in support of girls’ rights to education. Starting at age eleven, she began a courageous public battle against the Taliban and their destruction of girls’ schools in Pakistan. Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education, depicts Malala’s background and family support, her bravery in the face of Taliban violence, and her continuing efforts to bring light on rights’ issues for girls and women in particular, but  including all downtrodden people.

The artwork is an essential part of this book, providing colorful symbolic images.  At the end of the book there is a helpful timeline of events in Malala’s life as well as photographs of her.  There is an added useful feature for parents and teachers who want to extend the study with information on Pakistan, education in Pakistan and the world, and Malala’s religion and inspiration.  There are also brief discussions of other peacemakers: Gandhi, Mandela, and King.  This section includes quotes from Malala as well as a listing of other sources of information about Malala including links to various important speeches she has made.

Teachers will find Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education a valuable teaching resource. It empowers both children and women to stand up for what is right and summarizes the religious and historical context in a way that is understandable and appropriate for children.  This book could be used as an integral tool in many curricular units as well as to provoke thoughtful discussion by itself.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Charlesbridge Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Younger Readers, Biography

Notes:  recommended for ages 6-9

10 inches X 10 inches

48 pages

originally published in French

Publication:   Charlesbridge Publishing–February 7, 2017

Memorable Lines:

One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.

“Dear sisters and brothers, we realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.”–Malala

“The extremists are afraid of books and pens. With guns you can kill terrorists; with education you can kill terrorism.”–Malala

Cliff Notes for American History???

 

 

Amer_HistoryEverything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook is geared to Middle School Students, but makes an excellent reference for adults as well.  The text is marked up with various colors of highlighter to emphasize the most important points.  Periods are outlined so students can visualize a timeline of events, but are fleshed out enough that cause and effect are included making history more understandable and thus more memorable.  Out of approximately 500 pages, I chose to read about the Civil War and Reconstruction periods because of a discussion with a colleague. I was not disappointed: I came away with answers to some questions and a better overall understanding of the events in a fairly brief amount of time.  Obviously, since it was written for middle school students, it was not an exhaustive treatise on the Civil War, but it was a great summary and beginning place for more in-depth research.  One of the difficulties of studying American History at any grade level is that is nearly impossible to cover the full history of America in one school year.  With this supporting text, one could independently study periods that are not studied in class.

As an independent reviewer, I usually read a book one time and then move on to the next book.  In this case I was looking forward to having Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook on my iPad as a reference and work through the various periods as a side hobby. As a tribute to the book’s usefulness, I must say I was disappointed to discover that this book has an expiration date and is no longer available to open. Who knew a book could be like a carton of milk?  I guess I will purchase a copy!

Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook has a proposed publication date of August 9, 2016. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Workman Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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