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Book Review: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin.  Flash Point, 2010.

 

Benedict Arnold is known for being the first great traitor against the United States of America, but few know he also played a role in saving the American Revolution. Arnold is wild, intelligent, daring, abrasive, and most definitely indelicate. He first led the Americans to victory in defining battles such as at Saratoga and vehemently argued for what he felt would end the fighting. After numerous conflicts with politics and Congress, Benedict Arnold believed the only way to stop the fighting and reinstate peace was to help the British end this terrible war. However, Arnold only met disappointment and resentment as the tide of war turned, once again, in favor of America.

 

Steve Sheinkin brilliantly tells the true story of Benedict Arnold’s life and legacy in this accessible and entertaining biography. Perfect for middle grade to adult readers, The Notorious Benedict Arnold harmonizes first-person accounts, historical battles, and political intrigue in this historical nonfiction. Sheinkin gives readers an equal, and rather unbiased look at a historical figure that often falls under scrutiny. While it is undeniable the choices that Benedict Arnold made, it is interesting to consider the events of his life and the nature of his character that led to such actions. An excellent addition to any library, and especially for teachers wishing to engage students in the history of the American Revolution.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

Book Review: “Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color” by Julia Denos

“The Girl Who Loved Color” by Julia Denos

In a world where colors are alive and wild lives a color-tamer named Swatch. She is even more free and untamable than the colors she loves and one day decides to catch and keep the beauty of each color. From Bravest Green to Rumble-Tumble Pink, she collects each one until only Yellowist Yellow remains. However, Swatch learns that perhaps wild colors aren’t meant to be cooped up, but they are to be free to create the beauty that surrounds us.

 

This book is both captivating in its vibrant art and creative story. Julia Denos’s illustrations capture the wild nature and spirit of her characters and mesmerize readers through its playful and colorful style. The main character, Swatch, learns that raw beauty is found in both freedom and benevolence. A fun read for audiences of all ages, Swatch is for free spirits and color enthusiasts alike.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


Book Review: “Go to Sleep Monster" by Kevin Cornell

Go to Sleep Monster by Kevin Cornell.

Fearless Anna faces the monsters who are scaring the monsters who are scaring her brother. Parents tell children that they shouldn't be afraid of something because it is more afraid of them. Determined to get to the bottom of things so that they can all get to sleep, Anna uncovers layer after layer of frightened fiends until everyone gets a good night's sleep together.   

 

In this cute little bedtime story, light and dark are used by the illustrator as a focal point as each monster is revealed. Anna's character is fearless, facing monster after monster. Her lack of fear shows throughout that there is really nothing to be afraid of if fears are faced with curiosity and determination. Anna is also protective of her little brother and makes a great example of a big sister. The ending gives the wonderful message to children that everyone is afraid of something and that together we can overcome our fears, whatever they may be. A great book to turn fiends into friends.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

 

Book Review: “Baabwaa and Wooliam by David Elliott, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Wooliam and Baabwaa are sheep that like to read and knit. One day, these best friends decide to take a walk and find adventure. They are not particularly enjoying their walk until they meet a wolf in sheep's clothing who begins a chase. Wooliam recognizes the wolf from the famous Red Riding story and this stops the wolf in his tracks. People know about him? Really? Baabwaa and Wooliam decide to teach the wolf how to read: a task which is made difficult by constant lapses in attention where the wolf's innate desire to eat them gives them lots of exercise. These two very progressive sheep manage to have a cautious, but deep friendship with the wolf, who does indeed learn to read and enjoy it!

 

Quirky, wonderful, and fun, this story is not overly educational but it has value in the unflagging friendship and optimism of these two hip sheep, who are not afraid to be themselves. They seem delightfully content with each other and their habits and are quite willing to shake up their routine with an adventure. When their adventure goes awry, they turn the situation into an opportunity to help the wolf learn to read. Additionally, when the wolf forgets his lessons and resumes the chase, they find understanding for his innate nature and do not judge him. This is a quirky take on friendship and what it takes to befriending someone who is completely different than yourself. The illustrations have a hipster vibe with bright water-colored images that imbue their own quirkiness to the story. This is a wonderful book about less than friendly friends, and will make for a more understanding and patient world.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, Worlds Awaiting


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

 

Movie Review: Ferdinand

Ferdinand, 12/15/17, 1hr 46 min, PG

Today we are talking about Ferdinand.  The film about a bull who is raised to fight, but doesn’t want to fight.

The film opens with Young Ferdinand on the ranch running about and smelling the flowers.  He takes care of them and tries to protect them as much as he can.  The other young bulls on the ranch are trying to become fighters and be chosen by a matador to fight them in the ring.  Being a pacifist Ferdinand does not fit in.  Ferdinand though escapes the ranch and eventually grows to be a huge bull, so those who do not know him think he is some sort of monster.

This is a good film for the whole family.  The voice acting is great especially Kate McKinnon’s character Lupe.  This is the definition of comic relief.  It was almost like watching Robin Williams as the Genie again.  Some of the other voice actors though were there for name placement only such as Peyton Manning.  I did like John Cena’s performance as Ferdinand. 

There are some touching moments in this film and the message of nonviolence and being yourself is a good one that parents can discuss with their children.  This film does get over the top at times but it’s not too much in this film.

Given the nonviolent message of the film it is a little surprising that there still is violence shown on screen despite it being played for humor.  There are scenes of a slaughter house though it is at night so no workers are present but the bulls do get things running and are in danger.  Also some children may not understand why the matador is trying to stab a bull.  This film can also be a good reminder that things are not always as they appear to be.

Ferdinand was fun to watch and is rated PG. I am giving it a B Grade. 

Book Review: “La La La: A Story of Hope” by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Jaime Kime. Candlewick, 2017

A small girl is singing her song to the world. She listens with her hand to her ear, but there is no response, just a few falling leaves. Are they answering her song? She ventures outside but neither the tree nor the pond nor the grass are responsive. She returns inside, frustrated. The leaves continue to follow her inside. Has something changed? She ventures out again into the night, but still nothing sings back to her. She finds a ladder, but still can't seem to reach the answer to her song. Back inside, she sings herself to sleep and from outside she hears a song. Running outside she basks in the song of the moon and sings her own song in duet.

 

A beautifully illustrated pictorial story of loneliness, discovering a friendship with nature, and imagination. The background indoors is white, plain, and isolating. The orange leaves add color as they tumble in on her and draw her outside where she investigates her colorful Fall surroundings, but finds no friends. Her frustration is evident, although the only word in the entire book is, "la". The illustrations of the exterior never fully consume the page until the night, when each illustration covers everything. Her first glimpse into the dark is framed in complete white as if she is contained in a box and about to be set free. This is a great book for the imagination, as it leaves so much open to personal interpretation. Wander with your little reader into the open world outside, and take this wonderful book with you.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/


By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


 

Movie Review - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 12/15/17, 2hr 32min, PG-13

I must start with a disclaimer that I am a big Star Wars fan.  Not a huge fan as some are but I love this franchise.  I had to say that before I said that I came out of the theater for this film and I was blown away by the story and the events that take place.

The first thing about this film is that everyone needs to stop speculating about the trailer and go see the film.  A lot of things people are guessing about are wrong. 

The next thing about the new Star Wars film is that it is amazing.  It is long, but it does not feel long.  It does feel like a complete story despite being part of a trilogy that is in a trilogy of trilogies.  The old characters are back, at least those who can be.  This film also delves into the reasons behind the actions of certain characters. 

Rian Johnson deserves many accolades for making this film feel so cohesive.  It all feels like it belongs together.  The character development of this film is wonderful.  You can see the characters thinking about what is happening and then growing from their experience.  The special effects are amazing.  The only thing I will reveal about the film is that at one point when you are watching it the theater will go quiet and so will the screen. 

If you are thinking of taking the whole family to the theater remember that this is a war film.  Battle scenes are prevalent and people do die.  Bodies are seen laying around and people are seen being killed on screen.  Many ships are destroyed in dogfights and the good old light saber is put to good use here.  Some characters do find themselves in dire situations though out the film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is rated PG-13 and I am giving it an A


Book Review: “Bad Unicorn” by Platte F. Clark

Unicorns are everywhere! Makeup brushes, frappuchinos, nail polish, purses! Where will the madness for sparkly ponies with a rhinoceros complex end?! Well, at least author Platte F. Clark has a different approach: a unicorn called, Princess the Destroyer.

Bad Unicorn is the first in the Bad Unicorn Trilogy. In this book, Max lives in today’s world. He’s working on a book report, but his book keeps changing subjects. He's had this his whole life. Currently, he’s reading about Princess the Destroyer, a bad unicorn who eats humans. Meanwhile, in the Magrus (magical world), Princess the Unicorn is making a deal with a head sorcerer in order to get to the Techron's (the human world). Max and his friends in the human world learn that his book is the most magical book in all existence. Unfortunately, they learn this when it sends them into the future where machines rule the world and humans are extinct. Princess and her attending wizard have made it to our world. But since Max and his friends are in the future, she cannot find them or the book. She eventually overtakes the world with the machines, and they in return, make her an immortal robot. She is forced to catch up with Max the long way, and eventually they meet in the future. In a stroke of magical luck, Max and his friends beat Princess in a series of combat trials. While still stuck in the future, Max meets the king of dragons, who offers to take Max back to his time if he will kill the powerful sorcerer who hired Princess in the first place. This sets up for the next novel, Fluff Dragon.

This book exceeds expectations. Mixed with the intentionally silly references of the Zombie Duck and rebellious squirrels, the narrative follows a serious plot which stresses the importance of personal confidence and growth. Max’s personal journey is to believe in himself, even though he has trouble believing he can be a powerful sorcerer. He is aided by friends who believe in him unconditionally, which influences Max to do anything to save them. Juxtaposed to this story line, Princess is selfish and has no friends. Magar, her wizard, is a slave whom she treats poorly. She has no motivation except the selfish one, to eat humans and eventually rule the world. It turns out to be her metaphorical downfall, since it is her pride and greed for power that leads her to a showdown with Max. This leads Max, in a desire to save his hostage friends, to find the power to use one of the fifteen Prime Spells against Princess. Overall, this book is an enjoyable read for middle grade readers. There are essentially four primary characters: Max, his new friend Sarah, Princess, and Magar. However, there are two other important secondary characters: Max’s friends - Dirk the human and Dwight the dwarf.  These two characters have less character development and are a means to progress the plot. Dwight acts as the adult figure to ground the three children (Max, Dirk, and Sarah). However, the story could progress without him. Dirk is completely useless except for comedic relief. As Max’s best friend, he joins the journey by default, but essentially contributes nothing to the narrative except a secondary nerd to backup Max’s own decisions. Aside from this, the story is a great addition to middle grade literature. Also check out book number 3 in the Bad Unicorn Trilogy, Good Ogre, where Max encounters new adventures.

 

By Olivia Noli, Social Media Manager, “Worlds Awaiting”


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

Top of Mind Bookshelf

Introducing the Top of Mind Bookshelf. A running list of books discussed on the show. You'll find everything from kids' books to cookbooks to Pulitzer-Prize-winning authors.

"The How Not to Die Cookbook" MIchael Greger

“The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” Philip Stead

“I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups” Chris Harris

“The Color of Money: Black Banks and Racial Wealth Gap” Mehrsa Baradaran

“Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet” Carl Pope

“Zingerman’s Bakehouse” Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo

“It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree” A.J. Jacobs

“Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World” Brad Gregory

“Night Vision: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark” Diane Cook, Len Jenshel 

“Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West” Gary Ferguson

“Faith to Foster” TJ and Jenn Menn

“The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve” Stephen Greenblatt

“China Under Mao” Andrew Walder

"Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine” Sarah Lohman

“Singlewide: Chasing the American Dream in a Rural Trailer Park” Katherine MacTavish

“Goodbye Christopher Robin: A.A. Milne and the Making of Winnie-the-Pooh” Ann Thwaite

“End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice” Brandon Garrett

“Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy” Kenneth Foote

“Shooting Ghosts” Thomas James Brennan

“Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England” Jenny Hale Pulsipher

“How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Growing Old” Marc Agronin

“The Next Economic Disaster” Richard Vague

“Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times” Nancy Koehn

“The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection” Scott Anderson

“Raising Mediators: How Smart Parents Use Mediation to Transform Sibling Conflict and Empower Their Children” Emily DeSchweinitz

“Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” Matthew Walker

“The Wisdom of Finance” Mihir Desai

“Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States” Maria Goodavage

“The One Device, the Secret History of the iPhone” Brain Merchant

“It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse” Winifred Reilly

“Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and its Legacy” Heather Ann Thompson

“Never Use Futura” Douglas Thomas

“America: Like You’ve Never Read It”  Francois Busnel

“100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings” Sarah Cooper

“Away with Words: An Irreverent Tour through the World of Pun Competitions” Joe Berkowitz

“Game of Loans: the Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt” Matthew Chingos

“A Stroke of Faith: A Stroke Survivor’s Story of a Second Chance at Living a Life of Significance” Mark Moore

“Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture” Chip Colwell

“Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave Ona Judge” Erica Armstrong Dunbar

"The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order" Paul Vigna

“The Sociable City: An American Intellectual Tradition” Jamin Rowan

“The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” Philip Stead

“Trell” Dick Lehr

“Living with the Living Dead: The Wisdom of the Zombie Apocalypse” Greg Garrett

"Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders" Denise Spellberg

“Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight” Vanessa Potter

“Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome” Ty Tashiro

“Big Chicken” Maryn McKenna

“This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism” Ashton Applewhite

“Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution” Peter Kalmus

“The Village” Bing West

“The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings--J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams” Carol Zaleski

“You Bring the Distant Near” Mitali Perkins

"The Great American Citizenship Quiz" Solomon Skolnick

“The Suffragents: How Women Used Men To Get the Vote" Brooke Kroeger

“The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing and Strength When Disaster Strikes” Laurie Nadel 

“Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced World” Ana Homayoun

“The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers” Elizabeth Cobbs

“Dirt is Good” Jack Gilbert

“Two Minute Mornings: A Journal to Win Your Everyday” Neil Pasricha

“The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” Sy Montgomery

“Girls Who Code” Reshma Saujani

“Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code” Stacia Deutsch

“$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” Kathryn Edin

“Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment” David Palma

“I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto” Jared Ball

“The New Superpower for Women: Trust Your Intuition, Predict Dangerous Situations, Defend Yourself from the Unthinkable” Steve Kardian

“Dirty Wars and Polished Silver: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix” Lynda Schuster

“The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future” Gretchen Bakke

“The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking,” “Pleasure of the Vietnamese Table” and “Flavors of Asia” Mai Pham

“You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendship” Deborah Tannen

“Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aleibn Too” Jonny Sun

"The German Girl" Armando Lucas Correa 

“Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America” Patty Alper

“How to Be a Muslim: An American Story” Haroon Moghul

“Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets” Tyler Nordgren

"The Quartet" Joseph Ellis

“Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong” Paul Offit


 

 

Book Review: "Dinothesaurus" by Douglas Florian

Dinothesaurus by Douglas Florian.  Beach Lane Books, 2009.

There are all kinds of dinosaurs, from the tiny Micropachycephalosaurus  to the huge Barosaurus. In this creative book of prehistoric poems, Douglas Florian teaches interesting facts about various dinosaurs from the Triassic to Cretaceous period. Each picture is filled with hidden puns and highlights each dinosaur’s unique features.

 

Dinothesaurus is a beautiful blend of education and creativity. Florian’s poems are intelligent, fun, and diverse. His clever artwork adds to his poetry, and both children and adults will enjoy looking at all the hidden facets of these dinosaurs. Florian includes a “Glossarysaurus” that provides more history and facts about each dinosaur, and he lists museums and fossil sites where readers can learn more. An excellent choice for all dinosaur enthusiasts, but engaging for readers of all ages.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/


By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.