Tuesday, May 28, 2024

“Plans For Your Good: A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness” by Scott Morrison, Australia’s 30th Prime Minister (2018–2022)


This not your typical political memoir. It transcends the boundaries of statecraft and dives deep into the intersection of faith, leadership, and personal revelation. 

Here’s why you won’t want to miss this remarkable book

  1. Behind-the-Scenes Insights:

    • Morrison provides an intimate, candid account of his life as a follower of Jesus while leading at the highest level of politics.

    • Readers gain unprecedented access to the inner workings of a prime minister who openly embraced his faith during his tenure.

  2. Global Events and Personal Reflections:

    • The book offers fascinating insights into how Morrison navigated significant global events and issues of our time.

    • From geopolitical tensions to personal struggles, he shares it all with vulnerability and honesty.

  3. God’s Omnipresence:

    • Morrison’s unwavering belief in God’s providence shines through every chapter.

    • His testimony serves as a powerful reminder that faith isn’t just a Sunday ritual—it’s a guiding force in our daily lives.

  4. A Unique Lens:

    • Whether you’re a seasoned believer or simply curious about matters of faith, this book provides a unique lens to explore your own relationship with God.

    • The blessings that flow from such a relationship are beautifully illuminated.

Scott Morrison served as Australia’s 30th Prime Minister from 2018-2022, where he founded the historic AUKUS defense agreement, led Australia’s resistance to Chinese government coercion in the Indo-Pacific and delivered one of the most effective responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic in the developed world. Scott has been married to his wife, Jenny, since 1990. They have two teenage daughters and live in Sydney, where they are part of their local evangelical church community.

The memoir is not merely a political account; it’s an invitation to encounter God’s faithfulness in unexpected places. 

Purchase your copy - click here

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this post. I have not read the book but believe the author to be a man of faith whose faith had given him strength and enabled him to perform his political responsibilities with dignity.

Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon: The Graphic Novel by Paula Danziger & illustrated by Victoria Ying [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: 
I'm not a big fan of graphic novels because I prefer that children read from actual printed pages of text and allow their imagination to flesh out the scenes and action, the characters and their expressions. I believe this expands their ability to imagine and formulate on their own and to put identity to words. However, there is a time and place where graphic novels can benefit and lend enjoyment. This is especially true for the reluctant reader.

Amber Brown's stories are engaging and bring to life children in their day to day settings of school, etc. Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon: The Graphic Novel is a re-telling of the original book that was printed as a text novel with some illustrations. 

Amber's parents are divorced. Amber has been best friends with Justin since kindergarten. Justin's family is moving to another city. Amber's emotions are on a roller coaster.

Their teacher seems to have lots of engaging activities and also a good degree of  tolerance of lively third graders. A "trip to China" with Chinese food brought in for their lunch is a grand way to learn about another country. Writing post cards from China to family and friends is one of the activities. The teacher also has a high tolerance of their ill temper, spats, and general ill behavior. 

Amber is experiencing unsettling emotions from her parent's divorce and her father moving far away and then she gets the news that her best friend's father's work is changing and they are moving far away. She is angry. Justin is angry. They lash out at each other and their classmates. Secret word: kindness

This book can provide a glimpse into the shattering of children's emotions caused by major events in their lives. It gives voice to their hurt, their discord, their struggles. It also shows that it is important to say "I'm sorry" when you hurt others.

About the book: Even when her best friend is moving away, Amber Brown is always bold, bright, and colorful. And now she's in a graphic novel!

Third graders Amber Brown and Justin Daniels have been best friends since the day they first met in preschool. How great of a team are they? Amber helps Justin with his handwriting, and Justin helps Amber with her fractions. They sit next to each other in class and hang out together after school every day—that’s just how it’s always been.

But when Justin finds out his family is moving away, everything starts to feel different. Amber gets sad whenever she thinks about Justin leaving, and Justin seems overwhelmed by all the change to come. Can the two besties figure out a way to say goodbye that will keep their friendship strong, no matter how far apart they are?

This graphic novel adaptation of Paula Danziger's classic chapter book adds layers of nuance to all of Amber's ups and downs, making her story burst from the page even more than before.

About Paula Danziger: Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in New York, Paula Danziger knew since second grade that she wanted to be a writer. Beginning her career as a teacher, Danziger taught at the junior high, high school, college levels. She received her Masters Degree in reading and during that time she wrote her first bestselling novel, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. She returned to teaching, but the success of her book encouraged her to become a full-time writer. It was non-stop for Danziger since then. Among her titles are: the enormously popular "Amber Brown books" as well as Remember Me To Harold Square, The Divorce Express, and Can You Sue Your Parents For Malpractice?
Danziger received numerous honors, including: Parent's Choice Awards, International Reading Association - Children's Book Council Awards, a IRA-CBC Children's Choice Award and many nominations for state reading and library association awards. 

Known as a flamboyantly funny and deeply honest writer and speaker, Paula Danziger knew how to relate to young readers at their level. She was vital, funny, and compassionate. She knew how kids felt, what made them laugh, what they wore, collected, read, and played with. From collecting novelty toys that would make any teacher cringe, to wearing jangly earrings, funky glasses and shoes covered with beads and sequins, Paula Danziger had a direct line into kids' hearts and funnybones. She will be missed always.

In Paula's memory, The Amber Brown Fund has been established to bring authors and illustrators to schools and libraries which otherwise could not afford them. Donations may be sent to The Amber Brown Fund/ SCBWI Museum of Children’s Books, 8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

About Victoria Ying: Raised in California, Victoria Ying is an author and illustrator of beloved children’s books. She realized that she had a true eye for detail when she fell in loves with comic books when she was a teenager. This interest in comics led her to a successful career in animation. Her credits include Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Paperman, Big Hero 6, and Moana.

Begins May 28 
Ends June 23 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize copy is provided and mailed directly to them by publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Building a child's faith journey home library: Zacchaeus, Jesus, Hands for Jesus [Review & Giveaway]

What are you doing to build your child's home library that will aid in his faith journey? Start young! Start with truth and faithfully rendered Bible story books.

The Man in the Tree & the Brand New Start: A True Story about Zacchaeus & the Difference Knowing Jesus Makes by Carl Laferton & illustrated by Catalina Echeverri

Buy Here
Free Activity Downloads

My thoughts: 
This is a New Testament Bible story that is always a favorite of young children and they most always respond wonderfully to it's telling. In this author's and artist's retelling of Zacchaeus' story, it begins with three things to know about Zacchaeus - he was short, he was very rich, and he was not happy. And then one day Jesus came to town.

The illustrations are super cute and colorful. The presentation is several small scenes and short paragraphs of text of each page that will engage the young reader or listener. And Zacchaeus in the tree is really something to see. And then Jesus saw him and what a change.

The book then segues to a modern home and applies it to life for today. Beautifully told and a sure winner for building your child's faith library.

About the book: Zacchaeus was very short, very rich, and not very happy, but his encounter with Jesus changed everything. 

In response to the grace Jesus showed him, Zacchaeus was transformed from the inside out. He repented, treasured Jesus above everything else, and showed kindness and generosity to others like never before.

Use this story to teach children that only following Jesus will make them truly happy and fulfilled, and that genuine repentance and faith is demonstrated by loving others. Secret word: library

Little Me, Big God: Stories about Jesus: Eight True Stories from the Bible by Steph Williams & illustrated by Steph Williams

Buy Here $19.99

My thoughts: 
This is truly a wonderful compilation of Bible stories about Jesus for the young child. Each story is told in an engaging manner and the illustrations capture the attention of the child. I love that there are eight stories in one book instead of separate books. The book is a little more hefty than young children's books usually are, but not too large or heavy for a toddler to handle. It gives the child an opportunity to request a specific favorite to be re-read to him. And each story has more detailed explanation and Scripture references at the end of the pictorial story. A real plus.

The "Stories About Jesus" is a series of books (see here) and you can purchase single stories ($4.99) or the volumn of eight ($19.99). A wonderful addition to a child's faith journey library.

About the book: 
  • How many people did Jesus feed with one boy's lunch?
  • Why did a dad run down a road?
  • What happened when Jesus's disciples stopped some children who wanted to talk to him?
  • And why did Jesus die on a cross?

Enjoy reading eight Gospel stories, retold in a faithful and fun way for 2-4-year-olds. Toddlers and preschoolers will love the colorful, exciting illustrations, and older ones can get to grips with the "extra bits" that go deeper into each story.

This hardback collection of eight stories from the "Little Me, Big God" series is a great addition to any young child's bookshelf or children's ministry range.


  1. The House that Went Splat (Luke 6)
  2. The Boy Who Shared His Sandwich (Luke 9)
  3. The Best Thing to Do (Luke 10)
  4. How Can I Pray? (Luke 11)
  5. The Dad Who Never Gave Up (Luke 15)
  6. Never Too Little (Luke 18)
  7. The Man Who Would Not Be Quiet (Luke 18)
  8. The Easter Fix (Luke 22 – 24)

Your Amazing Hands by Abbey Wedgeworth, illustrated by Emma Randall

Buy Here

My thoughts: 
The illustrations depict young elementary but the book will also appeal and be appropriate for young toddlers as well. The illustrations are also very inclusive showing children of a variety of skin colors, etc. Written with a delightful rhyming text that flows energetically from page to page telling the story of how our hands are wonderfully movable, strong, creative, helpful, loving, kind. 

Hands are amazing and they are made by our amazing, creative Creator-God. And then the text goes on to tell us that sometimes our hands don't do what they should do and how that problem can be solved.

An amazing book about our amazing hands created by our Amazing God. Another wonderful addition to your child's faith journey library.

About the book: This charming rhyming book celebrates God’s good design for our hands, motivating children aged 3+ to use their hands to glorify God.  

Children will be inspired by all the creative and interesting things their hands can do—they can even use them to bring comfort and joy to others! They’ll discover that Jesus had hands just like ours and that he always used his hands in the most amazing ways, including to save us. 

Click to see inside

Not only that: the way that Jesus used his hands means that we can be forgiven when we use our hands in the wrong way. Children are invited to pray for forgiveness when they make mistakes, and for help to use their hands in the ways God intends. The book’s fun rhyming style and colorful illustrations make it easy to engage with this life-altering message of repentance, forgiveness, and grace-fueled obedience. 

Your Amazing Hands is part of the Training Young Hearts series, which consists of board books for toddlers as well as rhyming books for children over 3. All the books in the series train young hearts through the gospel, both by showing Jesus as an example and by explaining how his grace enables us to change. Parents, teachers, and other loved ones can refer back to these resources when specific behaviors need to be both corrected and connected to forgiveness, grace, and growth.

3 Books for 1 Winner
Begins May 20
Ends June 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.

And just for fun..... clips of songs from youtube Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man and The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rocks

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided by and mailed directly to the winner by The Good Book USA or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Friday, May 17, 2024

"Behold the Hummingbird!" & "About Hummingbirds: A Guide for Children" books to introduce children to birding [Review & Giveaway]

Behold the Hummingbird by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

More at Peachtree Books

My thoughts: 
A simply beautiful book that will bring the beautiful hummingbird family of birds to children and teach and delight as they turn page after page of gorgeousness. Simple text in large print on one side for the young readers and listeners with more indepth information on the adjacent page to further educate the readers. 

What a delightful way to engage children and help them understand these beautiful and delight creatures. Be prepared, though, they will want to plant hummingbird attracting plants and place bird feeders around to draw these awesome birds to their own yards.

A delightful addition for home libraries as well as school and public libraries.

About the book: Lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations take flight in this exploration of the tiny, gorgeous hummingbirds and its astonishing abilities.

Hummingbirds are tiny and pretty, so you might find yourself taking them for granted. But these little birds are remarkable, fierce, and talented. In Behold the Hummingbird, readers will learn about species that can hover like a helicopter, fly backwards and upside down, and consume half their body weight in a single day.

About Hummingbirds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill & illustrated by John Sill

My thoughts: 
The "Sill combo" of author and illustrator has brought another beautiful and captivating study of the natural world to children in this About Hummingbirds: A Guide for Children book. (Click HERE for more of my reviews of The Sill's books.)

The illustrations are simply beautiful and accurately capture the subject, the hummingbirds, and their particular environment. Deftly drawn and painted, each illustration has a special charm to draw the reader's interest. The text is simply written for young preschoolers as well as elementary grades. The back matter presents more indepth information and a short glossary. 

Another delightful book for bird lovers as well as libraries of all types. Secret word: nectar

About the book: An award-winning first glimpse into the world of hummingbirds.

In this addition to the acclaimed About... series, author and educator Cathryn Sill uses simple, easy-to-understand language to teach children what hummingbirds are, how they look, how they move, what they eat, and where they live.

Behold the Hummingbird 
(1 book, 1 winner)
Begins May 17
Ends June 14 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher, Peachtree, to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize copy is provided and mailed directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The world beyond us... "I'm a Black Hole" and "Cosmic Collisions: Asteroid vs Comet" STEM Reading (Mom's Rock Giveaway Hop) [Review & Giveaway]

Scroll down for terrific giveaways you can enter.
Bloghop hosted by MamaTheFox

I’m a Black Hole (Meet the Universe) by Dr. Eve M. Vavagiakis from MIT Kids Press

My thoughts:   
Simplistically written in rhyming text, a child can envision himself in space and contemplating a black hole. The narration states that black holes are condensed matter or collapsed mater and are extremely dense. Also, the idea that a black hole can swallow anything within the boundaries of its "event horizon" is presented, but our young space traveler need not worry because he can't get close enough to be swallowed up.

Truly an interesting introduction to the mysteries of the universe and what a black hole is. This will make an interesting read for older elementary children as well as middle grade readers. The book's back matter has terms defined and explained a bit more comprehensively yet still quite elementary.

A good addition to home libraries for space-minded readers and for school and classroom libraries. MIT Kids Press does such a good job of science education for young readers.

About the book: Journey to the event horizon in this playful, mind-bending introduction to one of our universe’s most mysterious marvels—narrated by a black hole itself.

Lurking at the center of our galaxy and in the farthest reaches of space are black holes. Once unseeable and unknowable, these cosmic devourers—sometimes born from the death of stars—swallow even light itself. What exactly is a black hole? And how do we even know they exist? In a kid-friendly, rhyming narration, the elusive astronomical object introduces itself as both a behemoth star-eater and a shy, rarely-spotted phenomena. Physicist Eve M. Vavagiakis’s approachable text is paired with Jessica Lanan’s imaginative depictions of a young astronaut venturing where no human has gone before, along with stunning renderings of our fascinating narrator and the final frontier. Endnotes expand, spread by spread, on the fascinating science behind black holes and the cutting-edge experiments used to study them. This second entry in the Meet the Universe series will light readers’ curiosity and have them racing to discover more secrets hidden among the stars.

Cosmic Collisions: Asteroid vs. Comet by Dr. Marc J. Kuchner from MIT Kids Press

My thoughts: 
The image of a cosmic collision involving Earth and an asteriod is mind boggling and terrifying. In this book Cosmic Collisions: Asteroid vs. Comet, the author describes the opponents - Asteroid vs. Comet - and the lead up to their impending battle or collision. The reader will learn what an asteroid is, it's orbit, it's composition, and it's possible impact on Earth. Information about a Comet is also provided about the Comet's composition, speed, orbit, and the impact it's collision would have on whatever it collided. 

The reader is given information and then asked to determine what the outcome of an Asteroid vs. Comet collision would be. It might surprise the reader to learn the real outcome.

This is another interesting science read from MIT Kids Press and one that will stretch the imagination and comprehension of young readers.

About the book: What happens when two massive hunks of hurtling space debris slam into each other? Welcome to round one in the Cosmic Collisions series—an exciting children’s debut from an expert astrophysicist.

There’s a comet speeding in from the outer solar system, and it’s about to slam into an asteroid. Who will be left standing after this interplanetary smackdown? The pockmarked asteroid, a veteran fighter who’s already seen some action? Or the dazzling comet, with its incredible velocity and a tail that stretches millions of miles? Kicking off a dynamic series on cosmic collisions, Asteroid vs. Comet starts by comparing the two opponents, then offers hints and context to encourage readers to use real science to form a hypothesis. Action-packed full-color illustrations with a graphic, comic-book feel will attract reluctant readers and kids who love smash-and-crash, along with budding scientists. Curious readers can find back matter addressing the question of fact versus fiction, how to become a citizen scientist, and comets and asteroids in the news. Secret word: collision

I'm A Black Hole (1 copy, 1 winner)
Begins May 16
Ends June 1 @ 12:00 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations. Click links below to enter other giveaways.

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher, Candlewick Press / MIT Kids Press to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely expressed. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Kregel's Bible centric books help toddlers & preschools understand Scripture [Review & Giveaway]

My Toddler Bible (Timeless Stories for Little Ones) board book ISBN: 9780825448669

Buy it on Kregel Publishing

My thoughts:  An adorable little one's board book with a convenient handy handle for their ease in carrying about. The illustrations are attention grabbing, fun, brightly colorful, and aid in understanding the story.

The text is lengthy enough to tell the story adequately for the intendended age audience with a vocabulary that is not "dumbed down for age." 

Kregel Publishing's children's books have always been winners for engagement, accuracy, design, and lasting quality. I highly recommend.

About the book: A perfect Bible for little hands

Filled with rich and colorful illustrations and simple text faithful to the Bible, My Toddler Bible is perfect for children ages 1 to 3. The twenty-eight Bible stories include Scripture references and are taken equally from both the Old and New Testaments to form a complete arc of God's story.

Toddlers will love the built-in handle to carry their Bible with them everywhere--including church! And parents and grandparents will love that its compact form and bright pictures will inspire their little ones to engage with Scripture from an early age.

My Bigger Search and Find Bible ISBN: 9780825448478

Buy it on Kregel Publishing

My thoughts:  Children simply love search and find books and educators (and parents) love them, too. They engage the child with the book and the content of the book. True, some of the items the child is to find have very little to do with the story, it keeps them engaged. In My Bigger Search & Find Bible children journey quickly through the Bible with brief encounters with characters and stories. While doing so, they learn of God's being bigger than their problems. As an aside, you'll note that each story page opens out to four times the book's size. Again "bigger." 

I highly recommend this engaging search and find Bible story book for children. Again Kregel Publications has a winner.

About the book: Fun-filled way for kids to learn how BIG the love of God is...

From the very first page, this fun book is designed to help kids ages 4 to 6 understand that God's love for us is bigger than we can imagine!

Each page expands to four times its size. And in every colorful Bible scene, a child can search and find Bible friends, animals, and other items for even more interactive fun. Secret word: Bible

Packed with cheerful illustrations and a world of play, children will want to come back to this unique Bible over and over, fostering a love of God's Word and a new understanding of his expansive love.

2 Children's Bible books from Kregel Publications
Begins May 3
Ends June 1 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary books to facilitate a review. Opinons are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize books are provided and mailed/shipped directly to the winner by Kregel Publishing or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.