Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: Revolve 2010: The Complete New Testament

 Title: Revolve 2010: the complete New Testament
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2009)
Editor: Amy Weiner
Paperback: 288 pages
Rating:  4 stars
Copy provided to me from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Product Description:
 GOD'S WORD ROCKS…IN REVOLVE 2010! Now in its sixth edition, the Revolve series has proven effective in reaching teenage girls by featuring the Bible in a cool, magazine design. Interspersed throughout the scriptures, girls find articles and images that speak to their concerns and interests: how-to articles, lifestyle features, beauty tips, quizzes, and more. Everything about Revolve 2010 relates directly to teen girls, making it the New Testament they can understand in a format to which they can relate.

My thoughts:

I grew up in a Christian home, but I  know that when I was a teenager, Sunday morning church was more of a chore than a blessing. As a teen, I was so involved in school and sports that I longed for a Sunday when I could sleep in, a favorite teen pasttime. It wasn't that I didn't want a relationship with Jesus, but  I felt removed from the sermons and the concerns of the other adults in church.  What kept me at church was a loving youth group leader and a small, but active youth group. In youth group we learned about a living and contemporary God who cared about us and was with us in our challenges. Our youth group spent all year fundraising to get to our state youth conference and there we learned about the living God who knew our concerns. We learned that although the Bible is old, God's message is now. I think any teen Christian product needs to show the relevance of this living God.

Revolve 2010 is a timely product aimed at the teenage girl. This "Biblezine" is eye candy for girls with the familiar fashion magazine type of cover of beautiful, clear-faced, smiling teens, pops of color, a promise of quizzes, articles on real teens sharing real stories, celebrity articles and of course, the free music download promise.

What I found most attractive about this new testament Biblezine is that the layout was familiar, especially if I'm used to reading magazines like Teen Vogue or Seventeen. There is a lot of information, mainly because they have to include the whole new testament from Matthew to Revelations, but I really liked the colorful info. boxes, brightly colored headings, graphics, pictures and some kind of side story on every two-page spread. If was a nice visual rest from the text.

I think this Biblezine does a good job of reinforcing the role that Jesus can play in a teenager's life, and when teens have to think about WWJD (what would Jesus do?), Revolve 2010 is a nice source to find specific Bible-centered advice for many typical teen dramas and traumas.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Celebrating Local Literature

I haven't posted in so long I needed to reassure myself that I'm still alive, but I only have a minute before I need to get back to the grindstone.

I'm running a Big Island Celebrate Reading Festival geared toward tweens and up, so once that happens on Friday, I'm all good! This festival is open to the public and it's FREE! All I ask is that the students come having read at least two of the authors on the list (I also give the schools books and my list came out in October). We're having it in the Volcanoes National Park, home of the erupting volcano, Kilauea, constantly erupting for 25 years.
I am bringing in two authors from the mainland: Neal Shusterman (Unwind, The Schwa Was Here) and Terry Trueman (Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control), but today I wanted to celebrate the lesser known Hawaii writers that will be coming.
Patricia Wood (she's not lesser known, just that she lives in Hawaii): Lottery
From Amazon:  The action centers on how winning a $12-million lottery jackpot complicates the life of 32-year-old Perry L. Crandall, the dedicated employee of a marine supply store in the harbor city of Everett, Wash. With an IQ of 76, Perry emphatically proclaims that he is slow, not retarded! Wood's dichotomy of Perry's impaired cognition does present some challenges for Michael, especially as the unsuspecting protagonist recounts—but does not grasp—the devious conversations among his money-grubbing relatives.

Brandy Nalani McDougall: The Salt Wind: Ka Makani Pa'akai (poems)
From the publishers: This postcolonial collection of poetry is the first by Native Hawaiian poet, Brandy Nalani McDougall. Of the collection, Samoan novelist Albert Wendt writes: "Once in a while a collection of poetry comes along and grabs your eyes, heart, and na'au and makes you see and feel more deeply than you've done in a long, long time. For me, Brandy Nalani McDougall's collection is one of those. And I keep rereading it. Her poems have a unique and hugely inviting surface simplicity and elegance that immediately hook you into them, into their profound and complex depths of imagery, lyricism, political and historical savvy, feeling, thought and vision. These are woven together with unusual wisdom, perception, control of language, and intense aloha for her people and islands. You have to read this collection. It will lift you and make you feel you are more."

Chris McKinney - Tattoo and Mililani Mauka
  This is the story of Ken, a new inmate at Halawa Correctional Center, who in exchange for his tattoo tells his story. This is a violent story of another side of Hawaii.  “The other Hawai’i, the one tourists never get to see.”—Ian MacMillan

   Secretly, a man welds steel to a bulldozer. Later, another watches a ghost walk along his dry-walled hallways. A woman raises her teenage son in a homeless encampment where the boy has to fight to survive with the help of a strange, lonely cop.

In Mililani Mauka, the lives of two families, the Motts and the Krills, come together as they try to keep afloat in a changing Honolulu, a city with growing suburbs and homeless camps. The Motts, new home owners in one of suburban Mililani’s fastest growing enclaves, crave the American Dream while the Krills, now homeless in Wai‘anae, are nearly destroyed by it.

Robert Barclay: Hawaii Smiles and Melal

  These short stories take a light-hearted look at the idiosyncracies of different groups living in Hawaii.

 On Good Friday, 1981, Rujen Keju and his two sons come face to face with their complicated inheritance -- one that includes years of atomic testing and the continued military presence of the U.S. in the Pacific. In this highly original work of history and adventure, novelist Robert Barclay weaves together characters and stories from mythological times with those of the present-day to give readers a rare and unsparing look at life in the contemporary Pacific.

Living on an island, we are often isolated from each other, so the web presence on the ning has helped to start these conversations ahead of time, and on Friday, authors will do readings, then do two breakout sessions with the students. It's an exciting time, but I can't wait until it's over and I can go back to participating in memes and catching up on my reviews.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Break for Hula

There are times when books save us,
a time when the world between the pages
is the only safe place,
a place to hide,
a place to be found,
a place to dream and hope
exalt, mourn, love.
But there are also times when the world asks us
to participate, share,
exist in this place at this time,
to store experiences like acorns
fuel to write
breath to be.

My little town of Hilo is just buzzing with activity. There are many "wish you were here" moments in Hawaii, but in Hawaii's city by the bay, Hilo, the Merrie Monarch hula festival is the week where we invite the world to the most prestigious hula competition - the grand dame of hula competitions. Living on the Big Island of Hawaii, we are known for our active volcano, the gold coast of Kona dotted with exclusive resorts and world-class golf courses, and the black sand beaches of Puna. But on the week after Easter, the rainy port town of Hilo is a standing room only concert of ancient and modern hula. Now is not the time to read. Now is the time to be.
 I'm taking a break to enjoy the dances, the Hawaiian crafts, the foods, the scent of the flowers. Until then, here's some old photos from our newspaper archive: The Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Enjoy and wish you were here. If you're interested in more, please go to their site for extended coverage this week.


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