Book Review: The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

port chicagoBook Review: The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

This nonfiction book is an overview of the people named the Port Chicago 50 and a detailed account of the explosions in California in 1944. It looks not only at the events leading up to this disaster, but how it impacted the lives of those men who were involved for the rest of their lives.

The tough part about this book is that while I see the cover design as a librarian and teacher, my students aren’t going to pick up this book without me selling it to them. That is a shame, because this book is well written and I know it will have an audience with my history buffs. I was kind of surprised that I had never heard of this event before. With the impact it had on our country and the events to come after, you’d have thought this would have been covered in school.

Quotes: None

Recommended Grades: 8 and up
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion:  Average
Source: Book

Book Review: Ingredients of Young Outliers by John Shufeldt

outliersBook Review: Ingredients of Young Outliers by John Shufeldt

This nonfiction book takes the ideas of Outliers by Gladwell and translates that into what young outliers have that make them successful. Several different attributes are focused on as well as quotes from individuals on that specific topics.

This book was very interesting to read. I kept finding myself shaking my head in agreement at the traits focused on and why they are important. While I really enjoyed this, I think there will be a limited audience that picks this up on their own. Thinking with my teacher hat on, I think it would be great for breaking apart as discussion topics and small group study.


“In an article in USA Today, Gladwell was quoted as saying, “the biggest misconception about success is that we do it solely on our own smarts, ambition, hustle and hard work.” I agree. Success-at least in the business, sports, and entertainment worlds-takes a myriad of activities, a measure of luck, and some God-given talent.”

On failure: “A momentarily painful as failure can be, looking back, my own failures have opened up doors and led me to some of the best times and biggest successes of my life.”

Recommended Grade: 7th-12th
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion: Average
Source: eBook from Netgalley

Book Review: Aromatherapy by Kathi Keville

AromatherapyBook Review: Aromatherapy by Kathi Keville

This is an older book, but it was one of the only books on aromatherapy my local library had. This book highlights all the different uses for essential oils and has a bunch of ways to use oils in daily life.

I’ve just recently started using essential oils, so this was a good start. I know there is a LOT of conflicting research on this topic, but for me it was a good option for my allergies/asthma. I haven’t stopped conventional treatments, but am using in conjunction with them. Interested to see how it all comes together.

Quotes: N/A but there are some great recipes!

Recommended Grade: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion: Average
Source: Library Book

Book Review: The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods by Teresa Marrone

Dried FoodsBook Review: The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods by Teresa Marrone

If you are interesting in drying your own fruit, veggies, or spices, then this book is a great starting resource. It contains a detailed overview as to the different types of dryers as well as tips for drying practically everything.

While some of the information in this book was not interesting to me (like building my own drying racks) the appeal of this book is that it reaches a large audience, because some people wouldn’t be interested in the more basic techniques that helped me. My favorite part of this book was the detailed lists of how to dry each type of fruit or veggie ensuring the best results.

Quote: N/A

Recommended Ages: adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion: Recommend (if you like this topic)
Source: ebook from Netgalley

Book Review: We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson

We've Got a JobThis book discusses the events of the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March from the point of view of several of the people involved. It presents a well rounded look at the events and while it is very honest, I appreciate it not being overly graphic. Don’t’ get me wrong, there is some tough content, but when you present topics like this I’d like students to focus on the content and not the writing. The conclusion of the book discusses where those individuals did later in life.

Because of the topic, this book does have a little bit of language but I think it is fine for junior high or high school.

As far as a quote, The book talks about the 10 Commandments of Nonviolence that those who joined the movement committed to following. I thought it was interesting how many of those connected back to spiritual things. Won’t list them all here, but on page 34 of the copy I have.

Recommended Ages: Grades 7 and up
Genre: YA Non-Fiction
Overall Opinion:  Average
Source: Book

Book Review: Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel

altar egoThis nonfiction book focuses on how to move beyond insecurities and labels and be the person God designed you to be.

Another great book by Craig Groeschel. My favorite is The Christian Atheist, but I really enjoyed this one as well. Too easily we let ourselves get labeled by past mistakes or who we think we are rather than realizing our full potential.

Quote that summed me up “I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me. I’ve always battled with insecurity. Most people seem to think I’m confident—even cocky, I’ve been told. Many people tell me that I’m a natural leader, strong, and even-keeled. But the truth is that I doubt myself every day. Or maybe that is no secret”

Quote about God I loved, “And the best news for us is that God, the Potter, doesn’t just throw away the clay, starting over from scratch with new clay. No, he uses the same clay, reshaping it into what he wanted it to be. If the choices you’ve been making have left you just a blob of dried out clay, God wants to remake you into his masterpiece, made new in Christ Jesus.”

And a lovely quote about hearing no, “I’m convinced, though, that the same boldness that’s required to ask God for big things can handle it if he says no. My faith in God is big enough that I can ask him for anything, and my faith can handle God’s saying no. My faith can handle it because he is the Sovereign God;  he’s in charge; he knows.

Recommended Ages: High School or Adult
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Overall Opinion:  Recommended
Source: Book

Book Review: Couponing for the Rest of Us: The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Saving More

Couponing for the Rest of UsBook Review:  Couponing for the Rest of Us: The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Saving More by Kasey Knight Trenum

First, I should probably say that I am not a couponer. I do coupon for a dinner deal or when I find a coupon for an item I really need because I enjoy a bargain but am not coupon obsessed. That said, I am going to change some of my couponing practices for items I use regularly or know I can donate to causes I support.

This author presents some very easy ideas for couponing. She has a great writing voice, and I appreciate that she understands those who want to save without coupons taking over their lives.  Some of the strategies are very quick and I appreciated the practical advice about what items would best donate where.

My favorite part of the book addressed the key issue I have with most couponers. As a Christian I’ve often wondered how people who coupon could justify checking these values at the door to save a few dollars. Several wonderful women I know make choices when couponing that shock me and totally put me off couponing all together. I loved the scripture in this book and the candid discussion about issues with peelies, tear pads, using expired coupons, and attitudes towards cashiers.

Instead of a quote that caught my attention, here is my favorite idea: If using multiple coupons, stack them on top of each other and staple on the picture before cutting them out. It means you only have to cut once and creates your own mini tear pad.

Recommended Ages: Adult
Genre: Non Fiction
Overall Opinion:  Recommended for a select audience
Source: eBook from NetGalley