Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

BOOK OF THE DAY-2012 full list

The full 2012 book list is here! 74 pages of ideas for all seasons, holydays, memorials, vacations, book clubs, school, and reading fun! Start the new year with new adventures in reading!’s mascot Awesome Blossom passed away August 13, 2012.

Christmas & Hanukah December Book List

Our final book list of the year has a little of everything: Holiday feasts cookbook, Hanukah & Christmas children’s books, Advent meditations for adults, Our Lady of Guadalupe, books in English and Spanish, and lots of historical fiction!


Our November book list is focused on “things eternal”. From All Saints Day, to All Souls Day, to Veterans day, Thanksgiving holiday, and Advent preparation, the list takes a more meditative theme. However, plenty of fun reading for kids of all ages is included too!

BOOK OF THE DAY-10-October

October is the month of All Hallows Eve, Halloween.’s list of books takes the horrible out of horror!


Ahh, no matter where you are in the country, kids are back to school either in traditional or home classrooms. Our list this month includes books to help children emotionally adjust as well as reading list literature.


Homeschoolers and classroom teachers are preparing to return to teaching. Our August book list has classics and teaching guides for all ages.


Hot summer fun, lazy reading days, Independence day and more are covered in the July booklist recommendations.


See criteria review


Cangilla McAdam, Claudia. (2009). Awakening. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press.  ISBN: 10: 1933184612. Author and recommend age 12+.

Publisher description:  Fear drives me forward as I rush down a rocky path in Jerusalem, trying to sort things out even as dusk makes it harder to hurry.

Am I really an American girl, cast back to the time of Jesus? Or a delusional Jewish teen, plagued with visions of a place called America, thousands of years in the future? I don’t know anymore. But I do know that something awful is about to happen to my Jesus: they’re going to arrest him tonight, and kill him. No one believes me; they think I’m crazy. So it’s up to me to save him, hurrying down this dark path toward Gethsemane, toward the turning point of all history, the attempt to kill Jesus . . . toward the uncertainty of whether I can actually manage to change the future.

Our thoughts:

“We walked in silence for many moments while thoughts collided inside my head. Was I a first-century Jew named Seraphina who dreamt she had lived two thousands years in the future? Or was I a twenty-first-century American girl called Ronni cast back into the time of Jesus? My temples ached from trying to sort it out.” (p. 31).

With that said, the crux of the challenge lies before the reader. The manner in which the story is told leaves it clear to the reader that she is a 21st century teenager—she slips-up too often with use of modern slang and phrases to be a confused 1st century child. However, the author has done well in creating the feeling and frustration of a parallel existence for Ronni, our main character. Added to that are the occasional references to Frank L. Baum’s the Wizard of Oz. Yes, Ronnie is definitely not in Kansas anymore!

Our character, Ronni, is an 8th grader, alter server and actively attending Catholic school and church. She is also a budding teen more focused on fun with friends and being cool. Her Faith can wait until she’s old and boring like her mom. And she is trying to cement those friendships based on the “cool” factor, which alter serving definitely is NOT, so she plans to quit and just hasn’t told her mom yet.

And so we meet the main character who, in spite of parental efforts to prepare her for life through solid faith formation and family values, is still facing the same inner conflicts of all kids her age. Raised in a mixed marriage of a Catholic mom and non-Christian father, her brother and father were killed the previous year, leaving a heart-hole that still needed mending. Trying to fill part of that void with new cool friends, she’s taken to her study partner Tabby. Certainly she is a nice enough kid. But without a solid faith belief, Tabby’s morals are relative to the situation, and so she doesn’t hesitate to devise ways for Ronni to defy her mother, like sneaking out of her bedroom window.

Ronni is suffering an interior crisis, perhaps one she recognizes because she has been raised with strong faith beliefs. No beliefs, no crisis, at least to people like Tabby. She is then transported back in time to 1st century Jerusalem to experience the events that will ultimately answer her question: “Why would anybody die for somebody they didn’t know? I mean, I got the whole bit about salvation. Forgiveness of sin, getting to heaven. It was the sacrifice part that didn’t make sense to me.” She wondered why Jesus had to die and no one tried to stop it.

So now she has the chance to do just that. But should she?

There are certainly plenty of books available that transport us to biblical times. Yet this story is one of the most realistic I have read while being entertaining, not preachy or academic. The main character is perfectly explained and a very typical girl experiencing a crush on Mark, a desire to hang with the cool crowd, and the rejection of her own upbringing. Once transported to the past, her attempt to fit in as a Jewish girl is told to us in a manner that creates a most authentic presence, given to us in motion by motion detail, and allows us to feel we are present in the scene.

Now this typical teen has a new challenge. Cast back in time to the week of the crucifixion, should she alter history and save Jesus? At times, the story is a well written travelogue from a teen perspective, thanks to the description given. And there certainly is no lack of action either with Ronni/Seraphina running for her life early on.  For Christians, the story provides interesting faith lessons as well. As a non-believer, Tabby, now a Roman girl, intrigues Mark but we can see how different the two really area when a person of deep faith is contrasted to one with none. Non-Christians can also enjoy the book from its historical perspective, easily projecting themselves into the situation. All readers will feel uplifted by a story in which the characters are presented with choice after choice and take the “high road”, demonstrating virtue, dignity and honour. And since books form our thoughts and transform our own character, gives Awakening high recommendations!

Once again, I recommend families, homeschool groups and youth groups form book clubs as a means of bonding spiritually and socially. The author of Awakening has provided an excellent, chapter-by-chapter guide for book clubs AND chapter exams for teachers at . You can also direct your reader to the website of the Custodians of the Holy Land Friars to see videos of the real site: . Wow, what a great addition to your homeschool curriculum!

Be sure to see our criteria review against character education guidelines at