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Recommended age 6-18
120 minutes
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Author Genie Valen writes camp stories in a very unconventional way. This book sets itself apart from other popular stories such as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Ms. Valen tells important and modern life lessons for an evolving world where future generations are facing different issues that call for a different type of campfire stories.

Campfire Stories for an Evolving World uses bookending where two stories are happening simultaneously. The story starts off with a family traveling to go camping. As issues arise a prayer from the father of the family creates the start of a mystical storytelling. This then ignites into the telling of different stories with different lesson. Will the family be able to learn from this lesson and navigate this evolving world?

This book is such an interesting approach to telling a camp story. It really challenges the idea that the real monsters we should fear are the fear to dream and to not be afraid of change. In the age of social media this is a great guide for younger kids who may need help with self-worth and image. That brings me to my favorite part of this book. I love the story of Lizard Boy best. It really captures the message of being comfortable with your circumstances without letting it define who you are and how you feel. My favorite character, however, is the elder who appears at the campfire to tell the stories. Her character represents any person you may look up to.

There are so many messages in this book. The main message is to be confident in navigating this modern new world. Make sure you take advantage of the people around who can help you on your journey, highlighted in the story entitled Lellie's Adventure. This book promotes positive social behavior.

I give Campfire Stories for an Evolving Stories World 5 out 5 stories. I recommend for ages 6 to 18, plus adults.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Exciting, educational, powerful, delightful, and so many other adjectives can be used to describe Genie Valen's new book, Campfire Stories for an Evolving World. This collection of inspirational short stories not only serves to provide readers with ways to critically think about the ever-changing world we live in, but also gives us strategies to help us face the unknown challenges of an evolving society. This is a book that people of all ages should keep within arm's reach to read when times get tough.

Author Genie Valen has created a small masterpiece of literature built on a foundation of love. Her book starts off with an author's note that sets the stage with, "if every cloud has its silver lining, then every silver lining is a doorway to transformation." Life has its many challenges and these challenges only get more complex in an evolving world. Stories in the book help readers get through difficult times and offer positive strategies to transform us--to help conquer our battles, and to make us better people altogether. Her practical stories of overcoming fear, finding one's self, embracing friendship, and having a strong connection to nature are all great reminders of how we should live our lives.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that the stories are short yet chock-full of uplifting messages for teachable moments. The stories reflect the reality of what kids and adult face within our society today. With critical thought and strategies built on understanding and love, we should all feel empowered to move beyond those challenges. The stories are engaging and written such that kids of all ages can connect and interact with them. Leslie Cook's illustrations are a simple yet enjoyable bonus.

Each story in Campfire Stories for an Evolving World carries its own message; however the overall message of the book is that if there is love in our hearts, there is love in this world. Our evolving world can appear "ugly," hardened, and hopeless at times, yet each of us has the ability to change that. Love runs deep within us all and softens the heart, which is the most powerful tool for transformation! This book is more than a book to be pulled out and read around a campfire, but rather its powerful messages are a great tool, and can be read and shared on any given day.

I give Campfire Stories for an Evolving World 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults will also love and appreciate this book. The book is available now and you can purchase a copy wherever books are sold.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

This is a book to share with young people for those times when they need an uplifting story -- and keep a copy for yourself. You will feel the pulse of family and the sense of community, and you'll recognize Genie Valen's need to get these stories out -- to share with an evolving world. I thank her for how she makes us examine our own accountability. By R. Levy, KIDS FIRST!
The child in us yearns for simple answers to complex questions. How do we open to new ways of thinking? How can we live in community and still respect the individual? Who are we, and do we have the ability to transform ourselves and, perhaps, each other? This book starts with a set of values that can be true for anyone and a reminder that our hearts hold goodness waiting to be revealed. These stories and drawings are for our children, our future, and they are for you, too. Let the magic transform you and inspire a world filled with unity, compassion and love.
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