Sunday school teachers may find this useful to supplement their students’ knowledge of the Reformation.

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MARTIN LUTHER

"HERE I STAND…"

The story of the 16th-century German monk and the start of the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther’s life and work are presented as the origin of the modern social justice movement. Archival portraits, maps, and documents on glossy pages play a prominent role in this attractive book. Some design elements are problematic, however. A decorative initial “F” is easily mistaken for an “E,” making the line “Fast. Pray. Work” one that’s easy to stumble over: is it “East. Pray. Work”? “Eat. Pray. Work”? Short sentences and simple narrative suggest a young audience, yet the vocabulary—theology, heresy, edict, recant—assumes a working knowledge of church history, implying an older audience. Some clunky phrasing (possibly due to the translation) could lead to misinterpretation: of Lutheranism’s spread around the world, Elschner states that “as ships reached the coast of North America emigrants founded the first communities, many with Protestant churches.” A transition from Luther’s life to contemporary times is achieved somewhat awkwardly by equating Luther’s posting of his 95 theses with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, notwithstanding the possibly greater influence of Gandhi on King’s activism. Perhaps in an effort to make the Reformation feel relevant to modern readers, this biography opens with the words “Here is where it all began” and ends with “The name of Martin Luther lives on, now doubled, and continues to travel across borders.”

Sunday school teachers may find this useful to supplement their students’ knowledge of the Reformation. (Biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-988-8341-34-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.

THE LANGUAGE OF ANGELS

A STORY ABOUT THE REINVENTION OF HEBREW

The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Though sincere, this prayer may have the unintended effect of numbing rather than inspiring.

A PRAYER FOR WORLD PEACE

The distinguished naturalist Goodall presents an ecumenical exhortation.

“We pray / to the Great Spiritual Power / in which we live and move / and have our being.” Thus she begins, and she goes on to preach against greed, slave labor, abuse of animals, bullying and torture, harm to the natural world, and all the other grave errors of this time in history. She seems set on cataloging every ill against humankind and animalkind, as well as environmental sins. She offers many strong, heartfelt words, but there is little rhythm or cadence to the sermon, and the almost granular iterations of victimhood threaten to overwhelm. On just one page she cries out against animal experimentation, agribusiness, the fur industry, hunting and trapping, “training for entertainment,” and pet abuse, for instance. The text is set on full-bleed double-page spreads of great beauty. The Iranian artist uses great swathes of clear color and pattern and places birds, animals, flowers, and human figures against them in abstract patterns. Her art gives the words an energy they lack on their own. The book closes with a message from Goodall as the U.N. Messenger of Peace, notes about the Jane Goodall Institute, her Roots & Shoots organization, and a biography of the artist.

Though sincere, this prayer may have the unintended effect of numbing rather than inspiring. (Picture book/homily. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-988-8240-49-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

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