Rebel Correspondent by Steve Procko

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Rebel Correspondent is the true story of a young man who joined the Confederate Army days after his eighteenth birthday and served bravely until the war ended. Wounded twice, he emerged a changed person. But he wasn’t just a returning veteran; he was also a writer.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Arba F. Shaw was a fifty-seven-year-old farmer. On a chilly December day in 1901, he put pen to paper to write his memories of being a Rebel Private in the 4th Georgia Cavalry (Avery), C.S.A. He completed writing his account in February 1902. His local newspaper, the Walker County Messenger, in Lafayette, Georgia, published his account in more than fifty articles from 1901 to 1903. Then it was all but forgotten. Until Now. Rebel Correspondent presents Arba F. Shaw’s account word-for-word, as first published in the Walker County Messenger almost 120 years ago. Procko annotates Shaw’s account with in-depth research, verifying it and uncovering the back story of his life and the lives of his Rebel comrades. Procko’s research offers a historical perspective on the many places and events Shaw so richly described.

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Why I Do VFX: The Untold Truths About Working in Visual Effects by Vicki Lau

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From the city of Singapore to working on over twenty Hollywood blockbuster films and TV series such as “The Walking Dead,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Aquaman,” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” comes one of the first books of its kind in the visual effects (VFX) industry.

With a unique blend of self-help, career strategy, and memoir-like elements, Vicki Lau speaks to the core of what it is like to work behind-the-scenes on some of your favorite Hollywood titles, covering strategies employed in order to maneuver her way into the upper echelons of the industry.

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Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want by Leslie Ehm

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Self-Help is a genre that continues to interest me. Swagger is focused on helping you to become your true, authentic self. As you go through the book, there are activities and ways to help you create goals.

I thought this was a really great book to help you become who YOU truly are. This is not about faking or pretending until you become what you think you are, it is about bringing out what is already inside you. The stories that are shared within this book are truly inspirational, and I found myself nodding over and over as I read them.

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Cerebral Palsy: A Story by Ilana Estelle

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Born the second of premature twins, Ilana knew she was different from a young age, but for all the wrong reasons. Part memoir, part motivational guide, this is Ilana’s open and honest journey, from an angry confused child, knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what, to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, positivity, resilience and change.

Just the Facts:

Cerebral Palsy: A Story by Ilana Estelle
Genre: Memoir
Page Count: 288 pages
Publisher: RedDoor Press
Pub Date: Feb 1, 2020

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Pennies from Heaven by Koedi Nealy

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Based on the true-life events that led Koedi Nealy to start changing lives one penny at a time at the age of seven, “Pennies from Heaven” teaches children that they are never too young to do great things for God. Koedi’s journey culminated in forming a non-profit that currently serves the homeless population in Houston, Texas, helping the most overlooked and undervalued people in the community.

Just the Facts:

Pennies from Heaven by Koedi Nealy
Genre:  Children’s Non-Fiction
Page Count: 27 pages
Publisher: Halo Publishing International
Pub Date: Nov 29, 2020

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon

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I had the chance to interview Koedi Nealy! Check out our conversation!

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

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Strong Like Water by Laila Tarraf

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is all memoir, self-help, and inspiration. I loved that while it discusses ways to be stronger in a business setting, this story really prepares you to be successful in life.

Tarraf takes the reader on her emotional journey of heartbreak and growth. I was saddened reading about Laila’s childhood where her parents’ fighting turned physical, creating a poor home environment for her. After she started her own family, she endured a devastating loss of her husband as well as both of her parents. Her story talks about her therapy and finding a way through her grief. The things that she learns, she speaks to us about applying in our daily lives, both personally and professionally.

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I’m So Glad You’re Here by Pamela Gay

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My Synopsis:

I’m So Glad You’re Here is a memoir written by Pamela Gay. She shares her very traumatic early life experiences and how those shaped her life. Pamela witnessed her father’s forced removal from their family home at a young age. He was restrained and wheeled out right in front of her, leaving a terrible mental imprint on her. Pamela’s family later moved to Florida leaving her behind, which further impacts her mental health.

Pamela shares with the reader that she was later diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She tries a multitude of methods to help her, but finally finds eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) as a therapy method and finds that it helps her. This leads her to the beginning of her healing process.

How I Felt:

Pamela Gay’s story was written with such an honest, emotional voice. I thought that she was very open about her experiences and her recovery process, and I appreciated that. She talks a lot about her family’s dynamic, how they interacted with one another, and also about their mental health history. I like how this information helped to shape her story, and I found it very interesting.

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Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Mikel Jollett wrote this memoir in a way that made me see how he felt going through these experiences. His narrative changes as he ages, so I really got a sense of the issues that he dealt with during each age range of his life. As a child, his story is written with a child’s narrative, and it was my favorite part. I loved how he chose to spell or write words, making me understand what this word meant or how it sounded to him as a child.

How I Felt:

I listened to the audio version of this book, so my review will discuss both the book itself, and the narration of the book.

Mikel Jollett spent the early years of his life in a cult called Synanon in California. Synanon started as a drug rehabilitation group, drawing Mikel’s parents to the cult, as his father was an addict. Synanon leaders soon forgot their original purpose, transforming into the cult Mikel grew up in. All children were separated from parents and raised in an orphanage-type environment within the Synanon encampment. Many children did not understand who their parents were, and some families rarely saw each other. Mikel writes about his brother in a description of the treatment of the children and it broke my heart.

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Bury Him by Doug Chamberlain

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bury Him is one of the most heartbreaking memoirs I have read recently. I was so invested in Doug Chamberlain’s story and I felt every single emotion that he described throughout his story. It’s a war story that shows the lifelong impact of war time events on soldiers.

Doug Chamberlain did an excellent job of writing his story. I felt the entire book was well-written and I appreciated his honest, open expression of his feelings and the events he had to endure. I liked that this story offered a view of this war from a soldier’s eye. This war was before my time, so it is one I only have books like this to learn from.

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Four Faces of Femininity: Heroic Women Throughout History by Barbara McNally

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Can I just talk for a minute about how beautiful this book is?!?!?! Just from the cover, you get a sense of how amazing the artwork is on the inside. It is a feast for the eyes! I loved taking in each lovely page in Four Faces of Femininity.

What I Felt:

Feminism is a weird thing to me. I grew up in a family-owned hardware store, so I learned how to unload a truck, stock shelves, mix paint, and help any plumber or electrician that walked through the door. On the other hand, I learned nothing about being in a kitchen. I have, on multiple occasions, baked a frozen pizza with the cardboard still underneath it. I am also the sole-worker in our household, with my husband being a stay-at-home dad. So, I’ve never really felt stuck in a gender role.

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Notes to My Son by Eric Lynn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the concept and execution of Notes to My Son. Written in the form of 25 letters to his son, Eric Lynn shares advice on life, being a dad, and so much more. I loved the way he put his feelings down as a tribute to his son.

How I Felt:

The letters, or notes, that Lynn has compiled for his son are broken up into 25 unique pieces. I have found that these really stayed with me after I finished. There is a lot of wonderful advice for people of all ages in this book.

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Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport – A Kid’s Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Wow! Can we just talk about the cover for a minute? The illustrated cover of Ruth Objects is a sneak peek of the amazing illustrations inside. This cover is so powerful, the title isn’t even on it! The artwork is doing all the work and it is perfect. What an amazing job illustrator Eric Velasquez did on this book. He doesn’t stop there with many more beautifully created images inside the cover.

How I Felt:

Ruth Objects is a biographical book on Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The story is structured in chronological order of Ruth’s life making it an easy-to-follow story for young readers. The book is filled with quotes from Ruth and more of that amazing artwork by Eric Velasquez.

Doreen Rappaport has done an excellent job of telling Ruth’s story to a young reader. She writes about Ruth’s challenges with the loss of her mother, being a woman in the workforce, equal pay struggles, and so much more. Her achievements are not forgotten either. Becoming the second woman to ever be appointed to the United States Supreme Court is such an inspiring and amazing accomplishment. I appreciate that this book can help a young person read about someone they can look up to.

Overall, this is an impactful story of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life thus-far. It is filled with wonderful quotes from Ruth and amazing illustrations to make each page worth devouring. You’ll enjoy reading this as much as your little one.

To Read or Not To Read:

This is a great book is targeted for a 6+ audience and I think that is just right. While the pages are not crammed with text, what is on each page is thought-provoking and will lead to a good discussion for a child of this age. An excellent book for schools, libraries, and the home.

Where to Find This Book:

Ruth Objects by Doreen Rappaport published on February 11, 2020. You can find the book at these places.

Amazon  | Kindle | Goodreads

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a trailblazer. A fighter. A public servant who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality.

When Ruth was a young girl, her mother encouraged her to read, be independent, and stand up for what she thought was right. Ruth graduated first in her class at Cornell University and tied for top of her graduating class at Columbia Law School. But she faced prejudice as both a woman and a Jew, making it difficult to get a job. Ruth eventually found work as a law clerk, and her determination, diligence, and skill led to a distinguished career as a lawyer.

In 1993, she became the second woman ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court justice, Ruth has inspired fierce admiration and faced fervent opposition for her judgments in high-profile cases, many of which have involved discrimination. She has been lauded for her sharp wit and boldness, even when her opinions differ from that of the majority.

As a student, teacher, lawyer, and judge, Ruth often experienced unfair treatment. But she persisted, becoming a cultural icon, championing equality in pay and opportunity. Her brilliant mind, compelling arguments, and staunch commitment to truth and justice have convinced many to stand with her, and her fight continues to this day.

This installment of the award-winning Big Words series brings a legendary figure into focus with Doreen Rappaport’s incisive prose combined with Ruth’s own words. Eric Velasquez’s dynamic illustrations infuse every scene with life in a moving tribute that will inspire young justice seekers everywhere.

  • Ruth Objects by Doreen Rappaport
  • Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
  • Series: Big Words
  • Target Reader: 6+
  • Page Count: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Hyperion
  • Pub Date: February 11, 2020
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I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving this honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

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