BOOKS

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

I Am Malala is a rare and moving first-person account of Malala Yousafzai’s fight for her right to an education when the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan. At age fifteen, Malala was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school; few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York.

At sixteen, Malala became the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to an education. She is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. (Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2013)

Black Beauty

by Anna Sewell

This 1877 novel, narrated from the horse’s point of view, follows Black Beauty from his carefree days as a colt through a variety of experiences at the hands of many owners — some sensitive and gentle, others thoughtless and cruel. Although written as an appeal for the humane treatment of horses, Anna Sewell’s beloved classic reveals as much about human conduct as it does about the treatment of animals.

With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. A memorable story for animal lovers of all ages. (Publisher: Dover Publications, 1999)

Rooms: A Novel

by James L. Rubart

This modern day morality tale is an allegory about the choices we make in life. The protagonist, Micah Taylor, a young software tycoon and self-made multi-millionaire, thinks he has it all, until he receives a letter from a long dead uncle he’s never met. This mysterious, twenty-five year old letter informs him that he has inherited a newly-built 9,000 square foot beach house. Taylor thereupon begins a journey of self-discovery in which he slowly becomes aware that there may be better and more spiritually fulfilling ways to live.

James L. Rubart is a best-selling author and professional speaker. (Publisher: B&H Books, 2010)

Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story

by Howard Means

This engaging and lively book tells the story of John Chapman (1774–1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, an American nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia. Because of his generosity, kindness, and leadership as a conservationist, Appleseed became a legend during his own lifetime.

Well written and thoroughly researched, this book strips away nearly two centuries of rumor and myth to give us a clear portrait of an American icon and the rough and tumble world in which he lived. (Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition, 2012.)

Cradle Tales of Hinduism

by Sister Nivedita

Sister Nivedita rewrote these classic Indian stories in order to introduce Westerners to Indian culture. Written for both adults and children, Cradle Tales of Hinduism is an excellent introduction to Hindu mythology.

Sister Nivedita, also known as Margaret Noble (1867-1911), was a Scots-Irish teacher and disciple of Swami Vivekananda, who gave her the name Nivedita (meaning “Dedicated to God”). She had close associations with the Ramakrishna Mission in India, and dedicated herself to uplifting the status of Indian women. The Nivedita Girl’s School, founded by her in Calcutta, stands as a monument to her efforts.

MOVIES

Heaven Can Wait, 1978

This whimsical romantic comedy is about an athlete who, through a bureaucratic mix-up in heaven, is prematurely taken from his body after an auto accident. After much debate it is determined that he must be sent back to earth. However, since his remains have been cremated, he is sent back in the body of a multimillionaire whose wife is planning his demise.

A popular comedy of the 1970s, this film won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, and was nominated for numerous other awards.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Two Brothers, 2004 (English)

This UK/French production is a heartwarming adventure family film about Koumal and Sangha, two tiger cubs who are separated shortly after birth when their father is killed. One cub is sold to a circus and the other becomes the pampered pet of a governor’s son. A year later, both tigers escape captivity, reunite, and embark on an incredible journey to find their way back to their jungle home.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

A Civil Action, 1998

Based on a true story, this inspiring drama stars John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann, a personal-injury lawyer who sues a major corporation after the drinking water in a small New England community becomes contaminated with high levels of industrial solvents. Convinced that the contamination is causing the large number of leukemia deaths among the town’s children, Schlichtmann soon becomes engaged in an epic legal battle in which he puts his career, reputation, and all he owns on the line for the welfare of his clients.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

My Best Friend, 2007

This hilarious and poignant French comedy is about a successful Parisian antique dealer Francois Coste who, in middle age, is blindsided by the revelation that he has no friends, which he vehemently denies. To prove the point, a colleague gives him ten days to produce a best friend or lose a high stakes bet. Coste turns to an outgoing, gregarious taxi cab driver to teach him how to attract true friends, but discovers that true friendship is not so easily won.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, 2008 (Hindi with English subtitles)

In this Indian romantic comedy, Taani, in order to please her father, marries Surinder, a shy, awkward introvert whom she doesn’t love. Surinder, however, is deeply in love with her. With the help of a make-up artist, he disguises himself as Raj, a dashing extrovert who sweeps her off her feet at a local dance class.

Reminiscent of some of the best Hollywood musicals from the past, this touching, heartfelt film broke many box office records.

Available: DVD; Not Rated

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