Archive for March 29, 2013

Whatever: A 90-day Devotional for Livin’ the True, Noble, and Totally Excellent Life!

Written by Allia Zobel Nolan

Whatever: A 90-day Devotional for Llivin’ the True, Noble, and Totally Excellent Life! is another trustworthy book in the faithGirlz series from ZonderKIDS.

The word “whatever!” has a new meaning for tween-age girls. It usually means something like “I don’t care. Do what you want.” The author, reminds girls that the word, “whatever” was used in scripture long before it became a slang term and it had quite the opposite meaning. Geared for tween girls, this devotional is based on Philippians 4:8; “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

This devotional is focused around the point that our thought life counts and if we want to live as Christ wants us, we must focus our thoughts on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent, just as Philippians 4:8 says. Whatever is divided into sections each focusing on these points. The author, Allia Zobel Nolan writes in a way not only easy to read, but that draws girl’s attention right from the start. She uses language tween girls understand like “ROL” (Roll on Floor Laughing) or “BFF” (Best Friends Forever) to relax girls and help them feel as they are having a conversation. She also uses examples in nearly everyday’s devotion that relate to a young girls modern life. She doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and gives gentle warnings about things like boys, alcohol, mean girls and even the snare of gossip. Nolan takes modern day situations our girls face and guides them to what God’s Word has to say about it. She tackles other topics like modesty, generosity, pride, humility, kindness, choosing good friends, media and much more. She has a wonderful way of drawing other scripture into each day and giving girls ideas to think about later in the day. She also includes prayer suggestions each day. Its obvious Nolan has a deep desire to draw young girls to the Lord and that God has gifted her with a knack for speaking their language. Don’t be fooled by the tween-language. Every devotion is full of scriptural meat!

Whatever would be a great devotional for any tween girl in her personal devotional time. While it’s written at about the 5th grade reading level, some topics might be a little too mature for girls of that age. It would be a wonderful devotion for mother and daughter to read aloud, bringing up topics that might otherwise have been overlooked or that might be difficult to address. Camp Counselors or other leaders of girls could also use Whatever in lessons or quiet time.

faithGirlz has a terrific website ( that offers similar content, but in much greater detail and lots of fun too! It would be a meaningful addition for any tween girl. Whatever: A 90-day Devotional for Llivin’ the True, Noble, and Totally Excellent Life! would make a special gift for any tween-age girl.

Bibliographic Information

  • Title: Whatever: A 90-day Devotional for Llivin’ the True, Noble, and Totally Excellent Life!
  • Author: Allia Zobel Nolan
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Reviewer: Pamela Wagner
  • Softcover: 295 pgs
  • ISBN# not listed
  • Genre: Contemporary, Christian
  • Lexile Score: 910

Blue Banner Biographies: Tim Tebow

Written by John A. Torres

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“Nothing seemed to come easy for Tim Tebow, including being born.” This is the story of how he overcame difficulties to become one of the most successful college football players. As part of the Blue Banner Biographies brought out by Mitchell Lane Publishers, these books have a standard format of five well organized chapters with plenty of additional information provided in the back matter. The print is easy to read, and the photographs are sure to attract fifth grade sports fans.

Tim Tebow was born in the Philippines, the youngest of five children. His parents moved back to the United States when he was three years old. Five year old Tim told his parents he wanted to play sports. This was nearly a problem for Tebow being a homeschooled child, but  luckily the law changed in 1996, allowing homeschooled children to play for their local high school.

Tebow’s toughness keeps him going in the face of adversity. While in high school he played nearly an entire game with a broken leg bone. His success in high school football made him a sought-after college recruit, eventually choosing to play   the Florida Gators. With Tebow’s talent, the team gained its second national title in three seasons. He was the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the coveted Heisman Trophy.

We learn that there is more to Tim Tebow than just being a great football player. Even while in college, he went on mission trips around the world. Currently, to give back to the world, Tebow started the WISH Program to grant wishes to sick children, as well as, “Timmy’s Playroom” for children with a terminal disease.

Tebow now plays forthe New York Jets. What’s next for this amazing athlete?

The book is written for ease of comprehension and gives young sports enthusiasts a reason to read and find out.

Additional Resources

The Official Website of Tim Tebow:

NFL Beginner’s Guide to Football:

Bibliographic Information



  • Tim Tebow  Title: Tim Tebow
  •   Author: John A. Torres
  •   Publisher: Mitchell Lane Publishers, Inc.
  •   Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  •   Hardback:  32 pages
  •   ISBN: 9781612283173
  •   Genre: Nonfiction/Sports
  •   Lexile Score: 1000

Squirrel Rescue

Written by Jennifer Keats Curtis

Illustrated by Laura Jacques

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Andy quite unexpectedly becomes an animal rescuer one afternoon when he and his friend Matt are tossing the football around. A baby squirrel climbs up his pants and keeps climbing until he is perched on Andy’s shoulder.  The boys think the baby could have been blown out of its nest in a thunderstorm.  When they look around, they find another juvenile.  Fortunately, Matt knows what to do.  He gets a box, an old blanket and heavy gloves.  The boys carefully make a temporary nest for the babies and then go in the house, so the mama squirrel will feel safe.  They watch the mama through binoculars while she repairs her nest and carries her babies to the fixed nest.

This book provides a model for how to handle injured animal.  There are cautions and warnings in the text such as ‘Matt knows squirrels don’t make good pets.’  Coming from a young character, rather than an adult, this warning is more likely to make an impression on a young reader.

The paintings that illustrate this book are beautiful and capture the personalities of boys and animals.

It is an effective class read aloud with its cute baby pictures and could be especially helpful if a group is going to visit a rescue center or doing an environment unit.  A good reading activity or discussion starter is to list all the things the boys do to help the squirrel family.  If a field trip is out of the question, check out the link in the back of the book to Chris’ Squirrels and More.  She has a video tour of her squirrel rehab clinic: (
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  • Squirrel RescueTITLE: Squirrel Rescue
  • AUTHOR: Jennifer Keats Curtis
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Laura Jacques
  • PUBLISHER: Schiffer, 2012
  • REVIEWER: Risa Brown
  • EDITION: Hardcover, 32p.
  • ISBN: 978-0-7643-4246-2
  • LEXILE: 1010