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Books That Transform the World

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Welcome to Books That Transform the World - Book Reviews. Our team will select special books and tell you why we love them and give you a lot of extra resources you'll find valuable to go along with them. We'll also feature reviews by Reach And Teach friends from around the world.

April Reviews:

  • Remember those good old days, leafing through Archie Comics and trying to spot one kid in Riverdale who was just a little bit more like you than Archie or Jughead. Well, there's a fairly new kid in town named Kevin, the first openly gay kid in Riverdale, and now you get to learn a bit more about how he came out in a memoir from Junior High (AKA Middle School). Check out our review of Kevin

March Reviews:

  • Rev. Jim Burklo reviews What We Talk About When We Talk About God, NY Times bestselling author Rob Bell's latest book. Having just spent time studying Bishop John Shelby Spong's book, Eternal Life, I'm now very anxious to read about how a more evangelical Christian leader like Bell approaches the topics that Spong covered in his book. AND...... speaking of Jim Burklo....... Check out our review (and buy a copy) of his newest book, Hitch-Hiking to Alaska: The Way to Soulful Service
  • We share a review by Patricia Tilton from her Children's Books Heal blog. She reviews the Little Yellow Bottle, a story that is all too familiar to us.  Click here to read our introduction to and find a link to her review.
  • Hot off the presses and delivered by the author, we have a new parenting book to share that is unlike any other. A "Kid Whisperer," Heather Criswell, with tiny tot in tow came into our shop on Wednesday, told me about her book while managing her incredibly happy and totally on the move son, and after she left I grabbed the book and started reading. By Thursday afternoon, I had this review (click here) ready for you! How to Raise a Happy Child (and be happy too) is a great book.   
  • On the morning after we spoke at Palo Alto University about "Spirituality in the Gay Community," I'm thrilled to share a review of The Search for Truth About Islam, a soon-to-be-released book by our friend and colleague the Rev. Ben Daniel. How are the two connected? Last evening we looked at the last 50 years of anti-gay bullying in secular and religious society and celebrated how much progress has been made for GLBTQ rights. At the same time, as we watched a film which included people bashing gays (verbally and physically) we recognized that today there is another group of people bearing the burdens of discrimination and violence because of who they are, Muslims (and people perceived to be Muslims). Upstanding and education are critical tools to overcome prejudice and discrimination and Rev. Ben Daniel has done an outstanding job on a book that breaks the stereotypes, overcomes the myths, and puts real faces on our brothers and sisters who are Muslim. Click here to read the review. 

    AND Join us for a book talk by Rev. Daniel in San Mateo on April 6th!

February 14 Review:

  • Dear Friend,

    I won't try to keep this anonymous, like someone else I know, because you already know who I am since this is my web site and all. OK, I guess you might think it could be Derrick or even Toby, although any time Toby says anything here it really is me pretending to be Toby since Toby can't type.  But anyway, yeah, it is me, Craig, getting started on writing a review of the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower

February 7 Reviews:

  • We always look forward to Perfect Picture Book Fridays to see what our friend Patricia Tilton (Children's Books Heal) might have in store for us. This week she shared what looks like a real winner of a book, Making Friends Is An Art! Reminiscent of Kathryn Otoshi's Zero and One which focuses more on dealing with bullies, Making Friends Is An Art is all about self-esteem and recognizing how each one of us has something very special to offer the world. Click here to read Patricia's review. (And watch the Reach And Teach shop in the coming weeks when we'll get copies of Making Friends for you to buy!)

  • We're fans of one of the Top 100 Mom Blogs, Ben & Birdy, and were pretty honored when the blog featured a review of our Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon coloring book. In keeping up with Ben & Birdy we spotted a review of the book Show Me A Story, and found it so compelling that we got ourselves a copy of the book to check out. Every wonderful thing in the review is quite quite true and now we're big fans of this book. We believe SO strongly that storytelling is one of the keys to peacemaking, and empowering storytelling through arts and crafts helps bring those who are more comfortable with those ways of communicating into the storytelling famil. Yay. Click here to check out the Ben & Birdy blog review of Show Me A Story and then click here to buy a copy! You'll love it.

January 12 Review:

  • Craig Wiesner reviews the NY Times bestseller Wonder.  Author R.J. Palacio says that this is one of her favorite reviews ever, especially my sharing that (spoiler alert) I was so glad it had a happy ending... "Why do some people think that someone isn't allowed to have a happy ending simply by virtue of the fact that they face some extraordinary challenges?" Click here to read the review.

2012 Reviews:

  • We once again turn to wonderful friend Patricia Tilton for a review of a book about a feisty girl with Cochlear implants, Let's Hear it for Almigal.  We've seen first-hand the difference that these implants can make in the lives of those who would otherwise be completely or near-deaf. But with the miracle of suddenly being able to hear the smallest birds chirp, come emotional and psychological challenges that can be unexpected, unless you have something to help prepare you for those challenges (thank you Patricia for letting us know about this book).
  • CraigWiesner switches from books to kits this week to review an amazing new product called Kids Own Wisdom. Teaching children how to navigate social interactions can be a real challenge, and without good guidance, children can have a very difficult time getting through social situations. This kit helps parents, teachers, and anyone working with children guide them through the many situations children face with a positive approach to learning the social ropes. Click here to read the review.
  • Craig also shared an amazing TEDx Talk about Educating for Freedom by Institute for Humane Education founder Zoe Weil. If you want to teach your children media literacy, check out this video and the five questions you can ask every time an ad appears. Click here for the story. 

October 12 Reviews

  • Craig Wiesner reviews Growing Up Muslim, a wonderful book for teens/tweens and adults, which provides a comprehensive yet approachable look at Islam from the perspective of a child growing up in America (with the adult knowledge of an Islamic expert who truly knows how to write engaging books for all ages). 
  • This week we're also passing the baton to someone who does amazing reviews called "Childrens Books Heal." Patricia Tilton has reviewed a wonderful book called The Goodbye Cancer Garden. Click here to visit her site to read this review. 

September 25 Reviews

  • This week Craig reviews The Girl With Hair Like the Sun. It is the story of Ruth Mix, a 15 year-old girl who, along with her mother, did volunteer work at a Japanese internment camp during WWII. This is one of the most compelling books we've ever had in our shop!
  • Craig also reviews a book that is available from (he who should not be named and isn't Voldermort) as an e-Book and will be out as a print book (and absolutely positively without a doubt in our shop) in Spring 2013. Tim Myers has written a wonderful, witty, practical, scary, and perhaps indespensible book on parenting called Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood.

September 17 Reviews

  • This week Craig reviews Muskrat Will Be Swimming, written by Cheryl Savegeu and illustrated by Robert Hynes. How do you learn to treasure the aspects of  your life that other people look down upon? Is there any joy to be found in being a "lake rat?" Can you embrace a name people call you in teasing? Click here to read on! (NOTE: This one is personal from the buck-toothed kid they used to call "weasel.")

September 1 Reviews

  • This week Craig reviews Safari As A Way of Life, written by Jennifer New, telling the story of photojournalist Dan Eldon's short but amazing life, through a journal/scrapbook style of story-telling, in words, pictures and ephemera. Click here to read that review.
  • Drew Durham reviews The God Box, written by Alex Sanchez. Paul, a religious teen living in a small conservative town, finds his world turned upside down when he meets Manuel—a young man who says he’s both Christian and gay, two things that Paul didn’t think could coexist in one person. Doesn’t the Bible forbid homosexuality? As Paul struggles with Manuel’s interpretation of the Bible, thoughts that Paul has long tried to bury begin to surface, and he finds himself re-examining his whole life. Click here to read Drew's review of this book.

August 25 2012 Reviews

  • This week Craig reviews Amy's Light, written and illustrated by Robert Nutt, from our friends at Dawn Publications. Click here to read that review. 
  • Drew Durham reviews The Breadwinner Trilogy, by Reach And Teach fav Deborah Ellis and published by the fine people at Groundwood Books.  Click here to read his review.

August 18 2012 Reviews

  • This week Craig reviews The Lunch Thief written by Anne C. Bromley and Illustrated by Robert Casilla, from our friends at Tilbury House. Click here to read that review.
  • Drew reviews The Storytelling Animal written by Jonathan Gottschall and published by the fine folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Click here to read that review.

Green America approved