Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In A Different Key -- The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

I have not had much experience with autistic individuals but in the past five years I have had three friends who have autistic children.  This book was very informative in a captivating way. It is written in a chronological format and documents the history of autism.
The beginning years in the 1930s and 1940s were difficult to read about because there was not a diagnosis other than "lunatic".  Usually these individuals were placed in insane asylums and stayed there for most of their lives.
There were a couple of families who sensed that this was not the answer and tried to work with their children with autism, seeing bits of success as far as small changes.  But this was enough hope for these parents to look harder for understanding and help and cure.
For many years mothers were made to feel that they were to blame for their child's diagnosis by not being a good mother.  Yet several mothers again were able to rationalize that if the diagnosis was caused by the mother then why did ALL of her children not have autism?
The story of how these parents fought for answers and help is inspiring for other parents with children with "incurable, hopeless" conditions today.  Nothing is hopeless.  The answer just has not been found yet.
I found the history fascinating, sad, exciting and inspiring.
Other topics covered include the difficulties in getting autistic children any education at all.  Today this has all changed due to the efforts of parents and doctors and scientists who continued to fight for the rights of children to education. Also, the question of how to communicate which was originally seen as impossible but many improvements have occurred over the last few decades.
In addition to a history of the disorder, its battles and victories, there are also success stories of those who are living a so called "normal" life with this diagnosis.
The bibliography is impressive and full.  Also included is a timeline of autism which puts the highlights into a shortened version easy to refer too.   Throughout the later chapters resources are listed that would be valuable today for families and individuals with the condition.
I found it a fascinating history and reference book regarding this disability.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Fun Family Devotional Book - Kingdom Family Devotional- 52 Weeks of Growing Together by Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans

Kingdom Family Devotional
by Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans

This is a nice hardcover book with that would make a great family gift.  There are 52 topics, one for each week of the year.  For five days, the devotionals are "devoted" to that topic. :)
The devotions are worded for the parent to read to the family.  Within the devotional are italicized words, which are instructions to follow for an activity that goes along with the devotion.  I liked this because it makes the information for that day stay with you and your children longer.  
Each day's devotion is only one page so it does not take that long to do.  Of course, the devotion is supposed to just be a started to get good conversations going within your family as well regarding the topics.  
There is a Scripture reading at the beginning of each day and sometimes other Scriptures to read are referenced in the actual devotion.  

I think this would be a great devotional for families with children that are a variety of ages because it works for discussion with all ages.  I also think it would be good for parents who may never have had family devotional time before or for parents who are new Christians themselves.

One thing I liked is that for each Wednesday of the week the devotion is very focuses on Scripture.  The other days may have one to two verses but Wednesdays have many verses in Scripture to read and discuss.  Also on Fridays there is a focus on "fun" as a family and activities are suggested that are fun as well as help to bring home the point of the devotional.

Some of the topics included are love, purity, salvation, spiritual warfare, faith, money, friends, family, manhood, womanhood, forgiveness, peace, perseverance, teamwork, communication, church, fear, obedience, humility, temptation, and many more.

There are some really great activities in this family devotional.  If you are looking for something to start spiritual discussions in your home with your children, this would be a great book.  If you are looking for something that delves deeply into Scripture, this is not that book but you are free to do that part on your own and use this book as a guide, then share what God showed you through study to add to what is given here.

Overall this was a really good family devotional book. 

No Fear by Tony Perkins

No Fear  by Tony Perkins

First, the purely aesthetic parts of the book that I like are :

  • The font chosen for the table of contents...easy to read, as is the font for the actual chapters
  • The preface that gives information about the author that truly relates to the content of the book
  • The use of pull quotes within the chapters 
  • The "Making It Real" question section at the end of most chapters
Secondly, the book itself is a wonderful collection of stories about real young men and women who are standing up for God's truth.  I like how he uses a modern day example of a young person who has been called by the Lord to do something and boldly does it, no matter the cost.  The title of the book No Fear shows that these young people know in whom they trust and they know who to fear (God) and who not to fear (mankind).  In the face of adversities and persecution, the people Mr. Perkins writes about have received the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit and mighty things have happened in their lives.

I also like that not only does the author share these current stories, but also he compares each story with a historical account from the Bible of someone in similar situation.  So the reader comes away with a Biblical role model, a modern day role model and a desire to become a role model themselves.

I believe this book to be not only an excellent read for high school and college students but for adults as well.  We can be encouraged to continue on in the work God gives us by the passion and zeal for the Lord that these young people today have been given.  

I think many Christians share a bit of fear when it comes to sharing their faith with others.  I like what Mr. Perkins says, "The only way to counter the fear of man is with faith in God."

There are plenty of Scriptures scattered throughout this book.  One of my favorite sums up the lives of the men and women, both ancient and present, who put their faith in God.

"Be strong and of good courage;  do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  (Joshua 1:9)

The issues dealt with in the book include the sanctity of life, our passions and dreams for life, prayer in schools, seeing that we can make a difference in this world, playing it safe rather than playing to win for the Lord, the false gods that can distract us in today's world, our motives, and how to handle fears of being rejected, made fun of, bullies or persecuted.

I thought it was an excellent book and would make a great study for a youth group or a family with middle school or high school age children.