Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

Free to be Me by Stasi Eldredge

For this buzz, I’m going to have to say this book is girls only. I’m sorry to guys out there, but this one’s for the gals. The book I will be buzzing about today is called Free to be Me by Stasi Eldredge. On the front of the book is the subtitle “becoming the woman God created you to be.” This book was really helpful, and reading it was kind of like having a heart to heart with other girls who were at the same stage in life as me! I really recommend this book to all girls between the ages 11-14, although I would encourage moms to read this book with your girls, otherwise beforehand, just to make sure it’s okay for your daughter. I will say it does include some mature content that may want to be reviewed by an adult beforehand.

free to be me

In the book, Stasi relates to her readers through stories from her own life. Something that really stuck out to me was confidence. She teaches you that you are beautiful in God’s eyes, and that He created you for a specific reason. It really gave me a self-esteem boost, and I was reminded that I’m not just another person on this planet, but a person on this planet who was created for a reason.

ransomed heart

Stasi is also actively involved with Ransomed Heart Ministries, along with her husband, John. I will post a link to their website below, and I encourage you to check it out. Stasi does mention in it in Free to be Me, however you should still check it out.

Well, thanks for reading, and I hoped you enjoyed this buzz!

Ransomed Heart Link:

http://www.ransomedheart.com

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

It was a hot and sunny day out on the endless ocean, but he definitely wasn’t enjoying it. It had been over a month since he had seen anyone besides the men with him. He had been drifting on his life raft for thousands of miles, and he was weak, starving, and helpless.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is the true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner and later airman who served in World War II. Now I know you’re thinking, “Ugh, Bella’s buzzing about another World War II book, here we go…” and yes, I am obsessed with the World War II era, however if you do not read any of the other WWII books I have buzzed about, PLEASE read this one!

unbroken adult

When Louis was at his peak in his running career, he was drafted for World War II, and became a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Unfortunately, on one of his bomb squad’s missions, their plane was downed and most of the crew died, except for Louis and two of his crew members. The men drifted for almost two months, with little to no food or water. They were finally captured by the Japanese and taken to POW camp after POW camp, and were tortured by various Japanese generals. It wasn’t until after two years of endless labor and torture that the POW camp that Louis was located at was finally liberated.

louis zamperini

This book was pretty hard to keep reading at some points, just because of how gruesome and awful it was. Some of you will not want to read this book for this reason. However, if I may ease your conscience ever so slightly, you can read the original version, but then Laura Hillenbrand wrote a second version that was adapted for young adults. I read the adapted version, and I am glad I stuck with that. Based on what you think you can handle, you can choose your version.

unbroken young adult

One of my favorite parts of the book is Louis Zamperini’s perspective of D-Day. After hearing about the two years of endless torture that Louis and his friends endured, I almost felt like I was the one being rescued alongside Louis.

Unbroken is a really amazing book, and I really encourage everyone to read it at some point in their life. However, it’s pretty mature content, so I would have to recommend it to ages 11 and up, just because of the intensity of the torture and abuse at the Japanese POW camps. But overall it is an amazing story and has really given me strength and courage to face each day. It also really gave me perspective on my problems. If Louis can get through two whole years of torture, then I can overcome the challenges that I am faced with each day.

There is also a movie that is awesome that I also encourage you to watch AFTER you read the book!

Love Does by Bob Goff

Immerse yourself in the wild and whimsical life of Bob Goff. A lawyer by day, missionary by night, Bob will impart you with wisdom beyond compare. Love Does by Bob Goff is not quite like any book I have ever read. It is nonfiction, but never dull. Bob talks about actions that speak louder than words, and his book is full of stories that prove just how much love can do.

love does 

Bob is the founder of Restore International, which works in Uganda, India, Iraq, Somalia, and Nepal. Restore International’s mission is to change a few lives for the better through fighting for freedom and human rights, and working to improve educational opportunities. Many of Bob’s stories are set in one of these countries, and some of the situations he has been in are truly amazing. On one trip to India, Bob and his three children rescued some children that were being trafficked and held hostage in a shed in the bush. Through his organization, he also started a school in Uganda. This school started out with only a couple students, but it has since expanded from a day school to a boarding school with over 400 students. When Bob sees a need, he doesn’t think ‘somebody should do something about that’. Instead, he thinks about himself, and what he can do to make a difference in that situation. And whether that be carrying a bucket of water bottles down Main Street and handing them out to people who look thirsty, or rescuing children in India, Bob strives to make a difference wherever he goes.

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I also had the privilege of meeting this spunky and enthusiastic author a few weeks ago. I found him to be very engaging and inspiring. He told stories from his life and his book, and afterwards, to my great surprise, he agreed to go out for frozen yogurt with us! He was very down to earth, and he invited us all to come to Uganda with him. Then again, I suspect he does that to everyone. The following passage sums up the book pretty well: “Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.” If you would like to get more involved with Restore International, please visit http://restoreinternational.org.

The target audience for this book is really adults, but in my opinion, mature kids (probably ages 12 and up) who want to be inspired to live a more meaningful life would enjoy this book. My personal favorite part of the book is when Bob talks about encouraging his kids to write letters to world leaders. These letters turn into trips to visit those leaders in their own home countries, resulting in amazing adventures for the Goff family.

Anne Frank Remembered

Millions of people all around the world have read Anne Frank, A Diary of A Young Girl, but few people have heard about the story of the eight Jews who hid from the Nazis for almost three years from the perspective of the one who risked her life to keep them safe. Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies is a wonderful book about a young woman who helped to hide the Frank family and four other Jews in The Netherlands during World War II.

Miep Gies

Miep Gies was an office worker at Opekta, a company that made pectin in Amsterdam. She hid Anne Frank and her family, and will be remembered for her bravery and kindness for years to come. Miep wrote a biography later in her life, about hiding the Franks, from her point of view. She relates to anyone who reads Anne Frank Remembered the personalities of some of the people she hid, and the anxiety and danger of trying to hide, feed and protect these people in peril. Unlike in Anne Frank’s account, Miep uses the real names of the people she was helping. Miep was the first person to revisit the Secret Annex after it was raided by the Nazis. That is when she found Anne’s diary, and decided to keep it until Anne returned home. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to give Anne back her diary.

Miep and Otto

One of the most interesting parts of Anne Frank Remembered is the details of the Gies’s meeting of Otto after the war was over and all of the concentration camps still run by the Nazis were liberated. Miep wrote her story in 1987, and died January 11, 2010. I really admire her for her bravery, and how she was willing to risk her life like she did for a cause that she believed in.

To see a news story about Anne Frank Remembered, including an interview with Miep Gies, click on the link below.

NBC News Story

The Diary of Anne Frank

Read a book about a courageous girl living during the Holocaust as a Jew in Amsterdam. Experience extreme courage and live in a secret annex. Hear the bombs overhead. This is the life of Anne Frank.

Anne Frank was a Jew living in Amsterdam during the Holocaust. Once the war started, the Franks went into hiding, and Anne started a diary that is well-known today.  I adore Anne Frank, I mean, I’m a lot like her. I like to write things down, or journal, and read a lot. (As you can see as you read my blog) My favorite part of this book is the way Anne explains the everyday, ordinary details of being in hiding. For instance, arguments, romance, and just plain waiting for the war to be over.

The book is best suited for teenagers, so not for little kids.  It is definitely an autobiography, and I strongly advise you to read it if you have not already.  Once you’ve read it, you will understand more thoroughly what World War II really was all about, and how hard it was on Jews. But I would like to warn you that the diary does not end like any other book. It ends very suddenly.   In real life, Anne ends up going to a concentration camp, and sadly, her story doesn’t end well, like most children’s stories. So get ready for a bitter-sweet story that will make you sad, but make you think at the same time.

The Magic Tree House Series

The wind started to blow. The tree house started to spin. It spun faster and faster. Then everything was still. Absolutely still.

These are the words that begin each adventure for Jack and Annie in the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne.  In this series (47 books and counting!) a brother and sister find a magic tree house in the woods. The tree house whisks them back to different time periods and Jack and Annie have to go on missions to help people, save an animal in distress, or break a spell.  In the books, Jack is the bookworm and I think that if I were one of the characters in the books I would be Jack because I’m the bookworm of my family too. I have read all the books written so far, and my favorite is Dolphins at Daybreak, which is #9 in the series. The reason that’s my favorite book in the series is because my favorite animal is the dolphin, (I think I might’ve mentioned that in my post about Dolphin Tale) and when Jack and Annie are in distress themselves, dolphins come and give the pair a ride to shore!

The reading level is best suited for ages 6-10, though my brother started reading the series when he was 5, and he caught up to me in only 4 months! He is eagerly awaiting the next title in the series, which will be released in July, called A Perfect Time for Pandas, because he is obsessed with pandas. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the genre of the series. The books don’t exactly fit into one genre, it’s historical fiction, adventure, and a hint of fantasy. The following is a list of the books currently published, and I think there is something here for everyone.

  1. Dinosaurs Before Dark
  2. The Knight at Dawn
  3. Mummies in the Morning
  4. Pirates Past Noon
  5. Night of the Ninjas
  6. Afternoon on the Amazon
  7. Sunset of the Sabertooth
  8. Midnight on the Moon
  9. Dolphins at Daybreak
  10. Ghost Town at Sundown
  11. Lions at Lunchtime
  12. Polar Bears Past Bedtime
  13. Vacation Under the Volcanoe
  14. Day of the Dragon King
  15. Viking Ships at Sunrise
  16. Hour of the Olympics
  17. Tonight on the Titanic
  18. Buffalo Before Breakfast
  19. Tigers at Twilight
  20. Dingoes at Dinnertime
  21. Civil War on Time
  22. Revolutionary War on Wednesday
  23. Twister on Tuesday
  24. Earthquake in the Early Morning
  25.  Stage Fright on a Summer Night
  26. Good Morning, Gorillas
  27. Thanksgiving on Thursday
  28. High Tide in Hawaii

Merlin Missions

29. Christmas in Camelot

30. Haunted Castle on Hollows Eve

31. Summer of the Sea Serpent

32.Winter of the Ice Wizard

33. Carnival at Candlelight

34. Season of the Sandstorms

35. Night of the New Magicians

36. Blizzard of the Blue Moon

37. Dragon of the Red Dawn

38. Monday with the Mad Genius

39. Dark Day in the Deep Sea

40. Eve of the Emperor Penguin

41. Moonlight of the Magic Flute

42. A Good Night for Ghosts

43. Leprechaun in Late Winter

44. Ghost Tale for Christmas Time

45. A Crazy Day with Cobras

46. Dogs at the Dead of Night

47. Abe Lincoln at Last!