Posts tagged ‘death in the family’

GENTLE SOULS

The Horse Listener

Written by Mark M. Hanna

 

This book describes the affinity of one man with the Arabian horse. It focuses on the tragic death of his father, his early upbringing near a racetrack in Los Angeles, and his move out into the country of Oregon where he began his lifelong journey of faith and close relationship with Arabian horses.

Matthew Peters struggles to find himself. When his mother accedes to his wish to acquire a horse, Matthew meets a neighbor named Mike Chapman who appears to know a lot about horses and how to raise them. Mrs. Peters notices a strangeness in Mike; she discovers Mike’s tragic divorce and horse farm bankruptcy. The author tells his story partly as a faith journey, partly as a spiritual partnership with the horse, and also as a memoir of determination and courage. There are plenty of tips concerning effective horse training.

This story tugs at the heartstrings. For anyone who raises horses or wishes to have the opportunity to do so, the powerful bond described here is appealing and inspiring. Hanna includes spiritual references, though he does not try to preach or convert.

This book is recommended for middle-grade readers, young adults, and adults.

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OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Hey Nana! Connor’s Story of Love

Written by Toni Nunemaker

This book is a testament to the young life of Connor, a boy who was murdered by another in a playground not far from his home in a trailer park nearby. The memoir is penned by his grandmother, who herself undergoes a transformation because of the crime.

Readers need to be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster as Nana proceeds through a gamut of emotions proceeding from the moment of the crime, the funeral, the criminal investigation, the trial, and the family’s readjustment to a life without the nine-year-old child, who brought so much love into the world.

Nana even learns to understand and accept the grief that Jamarion, the young murderer, and his family experience and the abuse that led up to it. I think the author does an exceptional job of portraying her conflicting emotions as well as the character of the gentle and loving victim, her grandchild, and the special relationship they both shared.

The book is a powerful commentary on abuse, addiction, love, and the way various members of society cope or fail to cope with them. This book is one that will force readers to consider these issues, whether they agree with the author’s ultimate decision in her acceptance and forgiveness. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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SPREADING GOOD CHEER EVERYWHERE

The Christmas Elf: Fun Christmas Stories for Kids

Written by Arnie Lightning

Tinsel is one of the longest-serving elves for Santa at the North Pole. This elf is notable for having the capability of spreading the spirit of Christmas everywhere he goes. For that reason, Santa has appointed him a special helper. Every year Tinsel is assigned to a child who feels despondent at Christmastime.

Readers are taken on a trip around the world to experience Tinsel’s successes.  A boy named Timothy whose father has passed away, a girl named Maria Luisa whose family will be unable to be with her this Christmas, and a boy in Chicago whose family never celebrates Christmas are included among those adventures. Tinsel uses his creativity to lull each of his clients and those around them into the true spirit of the holiday. Children who are experiencing separation, divorce, a new community and fears of alienation will feel a lot better after reading about Tinsel and his charges.

This is a delightful forty page book that will delight elementary school age children and warm the hearts of adults who read it. Good choice for a classroom or family holiday read aloud.

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PANDEMONIUM

Gabby Gibson: Middle School Detective

Written by Sharon Broomall

GabbyGibson,pic

The author has her pulse on the middle school audience. Gabby Gibson, the protagonist, is the perfect heroine. Gabby’s dad has passed away, but she follows in his footsteps as detective par excellence.

She is a seventh grader at Preston Middle School who experiences many of the problems that her young readers face. There is gossip among the girls, bullying, the nerds, those perceived to be the haves and the have-nots. The dialogue is funny and authentic. Readers will laugh and cry with the characters and their foibles. Student and adult characters share equally the laughter and the criticism.

Plot centers around the mystery of how the Panda mascot of Preston Middle School got his head cut off at an important soccer game, and how the money for the annual seventh grade dance went missing. When the dance is canceled by principal, Mr. Sauerbutts, Gabby kicks her detective skills into high gear. There are enough twists and turns to keep the plot interesting. Our detective thinks she has the answer, but discovers she was wrong. Will Gabby solve the mystery and save the dance? Does the Panda mascot find his head?

At just under two hundred pages, the book is a nice fit for readers ages nine and up. Just a suggestion, a few simple drawings might have made some of those hilarious scenes even more effective.

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