MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Princess Twins and the Tea Party by Mona Hodgson

ISBN: 9780310750383
Publisher's Synopsis:
A lesson in humility. Princess Emma wants everything to be perfect for her tea party, but only God is perfect. Just when her guests arrive, everything seems to go wrong. How will Emma fix it? This Level-One I Can Read teaches girls what it means to be a princess for the true King.

MrsK's Review:
Every host wants all things to be perfectly "pleasing" for our guests. Of course the goodies must be divine. Of course the table must be elegant, eye-catching, welcoming, and royal. Every detail is checked and re-checked.

Yet, if there is a puppy that is just so excited to be at the party... well so many things can go wrong.

How would you react when your tea party is "crashed?" Are you gracious? Do you get angry, pout, or cry when your plans aren't going the way you want them to?
Tea parties are the most fun when you are a host who values your guests.

Read-learn-and have a cup of tea for me,
 Delightfully fun!
Perfect beginning reader for all little princesses, especially when they want a tea party.

Meet the Author:
Welcome  Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly 30 children's books and also writes 19th century historical fiction. In addition to writing and speaking, Mona likes to read mysteries and love stories, hike Arizona, travel to Africa, play table games, and play Wii Tennis. She lives in central Arizona where she spies roadrunners, quail, cottontail rabbits, and even an occasional skunk in her yard.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Title: The Golden Braid, Author: Melanie Dickerson
ISBN: 9780718026264
Publisher's Synopsis:
Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

MrsK's Review:
 "Mother, you promised someday you would find someone who could teach me to read."

In this charming retelling of Rapunzel you will be enchanted with a "spiritual" dimension to an endearing young heroine. Of course most of us know that "Once upon time" Rapunzel was held captive in a tower. Yet, there is so much more to the story!

Rapunzel wasn't locked away in that tower until she was older. She actually learned many skills from the various villages her mother traveled to. With an inquisitive mind, a longing to read, and a desire to be true to the precepts and principles of God, Rapunzel proves to be a noble servant and friend. As an excellent marksman, Rapunzel will defend anyone in need. She will display a wisdom that is acquired by truth-filled and loyal heart. 

As Rapunzel's story begins, she is on the road to Hagenheim. Her mother once lived there a long time ago. It is on this road that Rapunzel will meet two robbers and one knight. Sir Gerek will need some attending after rescuing Rapunzel and her mother, of course I'm not certain as to who saved whom. It will be during Sir Gerek's recovery at the monastery that Rapunzel will begin reading, knowing others, and discovering that she can not stay with her mother any longer. Her quest will be to live a good life and it will begin as a servant at Hagenheim Castle.

All the while, Rapunzel is aware of the repercussions that would come from her mother if she was ever found. With many diabolical plots and menacing schemes unfolding, Rapunzel will find herself locked away and in need of Sir Gerek.
"She let the tears squeeze free and run down her cheeks.
She would allow herself to cry, to hurt and mourn,
but only for a few minutes.
Then she would be strong, and she would escape."

For all readers who once enjoyed the traditional Fairy Tales, or for those whom are captivated by the newer fractured versions... Take a moment to meet a Rapunzel with depth, spiritual wisdom, spunk, and wit.
"It's not a trick... It is a skill, and you will never learn it if you do not practice!"
A Christian retelling of an endearing Fairy Tale! 
Meet the Author:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.
She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

Title: The Wedding Chapel, Author: Rachel Hauck
ISBN: 9780310341529
Publisher's Synopsis:
For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.

Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York. She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement—then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.

Taking a photography assignment in Heart’s Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. When Taylor and Coach’s journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait.

MrsK's Review:
"Gonna take a sentimental journey...
to renew old memories."
It all began in 1948, when Jimmy's best friend showed him a photo of the cousins that were coming to live in Heart's Bend, Tennessee. While Clem thinks these girls would make his life miserable, Jimmy felt like the girl in the shade of a stone chapel was someone he couldn't wait to meet. At 83, Jimmy has decided that it's time to sell the property where his wedding chapel has been waiting...
"... to give the old chapel the life it never had.
It was too late for his heart but not for the chapel's."

In 2015, Taylor finds life as a newlywed a bit like "uncharted" ground. Her marriage to Jack was quick and not at all expected. Although Taylor might be the best photographer for any red carpet event, she is committed to a photo spread with the longest running soap opera's cast. A cast which includes her granny's sister, Colette Greer. When Jack announces that he has a photo shoot for her, Taylor is delighted, who wouldn't be excited about doing a shoot for Architecture Quarterly.

Colette Greer the leading lady from Always Tomorrow. Although it has been sixty-two years since she began her career on the soap opera, she still radiates a commanding presence. Contacted by her publicist, she has agreed to be the subject of a memoir. As the "curtain" closes on one era, another opens. Colette begins a journey back to her beginnings in Heart's Bend. As with any memory, life has a way of reminding us about unfinished paths. With determination and courage, Colette must return to the chapel, even if it means seeing Jimmy.

Quietly woven into the fabric of this story, is the complexity of each character's chosen path. Choices in which the heart will require mending, faith, trust, and love,
"Majestic with her stone walls and weather-worn beam trim,
the chapel drank in the sunlight through the cupola,
then reflected it back out through the windows.
The canopying beech and cottonwood trees stretched leafy branches over the slanted slate roof,
creating a thicket of serenity."
An enjoyable journey...
An opportunity for hearts to mend and dreams to find new life.
Meet the Author:
Rachel Hauck - Bestselling Christian Author 
Everything is… story.
Yet, what really moves my heart is the pure power of story itself. One reader wrote to me and said, “I work at a bridal boutique and after reading The Wedding Dress, I’m going to changed the way I’m going to do my job. I’m going to see each bride as beautiful and unique.”
David wrote in Psalm 45, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer!” He was a psalmist, I’m a novelist. My prayer is, “My heart, O Lord, is the pen of a ready writer.”
Since I started writing full time in ’04, I’ve discovered dreams are best realized when running in partnership with a living God. And I’ve never looked back.
So what’s your dream? Whatever it is, partner with the living Lord
My first novel was published in 2004, and since then my books have won awards, written bestsellers and I believe have given readers the chance to escape into worlds where they can breathe in the fragrance of Jesus’s love. My hope is my novels take what is true in heaven and make it real on earth in our every day lives.
My prayer is that you will know true JOY and the pleasure of your dreams coming to life! And if my stories can ease your heart for just a moment from what ever load life is laying on you, then I am honored and blessed.

"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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