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April 2016

I Can’t Define Art, But I Know It When I See it: Or, See You in the Funny Papers

Click on images to enlarge. Jan Kaarsvlam has recently discovered a new genre that he would like to call “graphic novels.” He is excited to expand the concept to include “graphic grocery lists,” “graphic memos,” “graphic lesson plans,” and “graphic comic books.” He can even imagine a day in which the written word is dispensed […]

Hollyhocks, Books, and Comebacks

One of my favourite flowers in the garden is the hollyhock. It splashes its colours all around, attracting birds, butterflies, and other little creatures. I don’t plant them; they just reappear every year from the seeds that have dropped into the rich, organic soil. They grow to a magnificent height of eight or nine feet, […]

The Long and Short of CliffsNotes

Most of us have been cornered by friends and family who insist on telling an old story that seems to go on and on. Generally, these stories can be squeezed into about a tenth of the words used without an appreciable loss of the story’s meaning or its essence. Reader’s Digest and therapists have made […]

LGBTQ and You: It’s Time to Read Different Books

Gender stereotyping and gender related bullying are growing concerns in our schools. Gender confusion and transgender identification are real challenges for children and families today. Alternative families and same sex parents are legal in Canada and becoming increasingly socially accepted. So, how do we talk to our children about these things? Where can we find […]

The Temple Curtain

Moblard DeYoung, Ruth. The Temple Curtain. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2014. What would it have been like to be a child who lived during the time of Jesus and the early church? Ruth Moblard DeYoung helps us imagine those days from the point of view of Nathan, a priest’s son, who, because he is healed […]

The Good and Beautiful Community

Smith, James Bryan. The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love. Downers Grover, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010. James Bryan Smith’s The Good and Beautiful Community is the third and final installment in his Apprentice Series, which, as Smith writes, “is designed to help people in their efforts to grow in Christlikeness” […]

A Compact Guide to the Whole Bible

Wall, Robert W. and David R. Nienhuis, eds. A Compact Guide to the Whole Bible: Learning to Read Scripture’s Story. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015. This book was written by a number of members of the faculty at Seattle Pacific University who were unsuccessful in their search for a short and readable textbook that would […]

Beyond Measure

Abeles, Vicki, with Grace Rubenstein. Beyond Measure: Rescuing An Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015. The best things in life can’t be measured. At least that is what I have heard repeatedly and what I think the title of this book is trying to say. Our recent federally mandated attempts in […]

Bible-Shaped Teaching

Shortt, John. Bible-Shaped Teaching. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014. Lately I have been contemplating the act of remembering. Not just as related to memory, but as it applies to reassembling the “members” that make up human beings—the attributes of our physical, mental, and spiritual selves—into a coherent and flourishing wholeness that we bring to […]

The Reason You Walk

Kinew, Wab. The Reason You Walk: A Memoir. Viking, 2015. Ningosha anishaa wenji-bimoseyan (I am the reason you walk). These Anishinaabe words form the title of author Wab Kinew’s first book.  How fitting that this accomplished CBC journalist and media spokesperson would use the ancient language of his people to title this book, the same […]

Beyond Control

Bandstra, Alan. Beyond Control: Heart-Centered Classroom Climate and Discipline. Sioux Center, IA: Dordt College Press, 2014. “Finally, the spirit behind our actions and words is closely tied to our beliefs and hopes.” (Preface, iv) In Beyond Control, Alan Bandstra writes in a style that is similar to an engaging memoir. Rather than taking the textbook […]

The Top Six Lists of the Best Books That You and Your Students Need to Read as Soon as Possible

This year as I looked over the books that I have read in the past year and I tried to figure out whether to do a list of the best graphic novels, picture books, or young adult novels, it occurred to me that it might be best to do a series of short lists. So […]

Reading Good Books and Learning About the World

“A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” —C. […]