Jury Coordination and Notes

The Miracle Club * Truly A Gift To Watch – It Is The Definition Of Hope And Faith

July 13th, 2023

There’s just one dream for the women of Ballygar to taste freedom: to win a pilgrimage to the sacred French town of Lourdes. With a little benevolent interference from their local priest, a group of close friends get their ticket of a lifetime.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ari P. comments, “If you like dramatic movies with comedic relief and you believe in Lourdes, The Miracle Club is the perfect film. Alongside its thorough plotline, it stars many known celebrity figures, such as Maggie Smith, Laura Linney and Kathy Bates.” See her full review below.

The Miracle Club
By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

If you like dramatic movies with comedic relief and you believe in Lourdes, The Miracle Club is the perfect film. Alongside its thorough plotline, it stars many known celebrity figures, such as Maggie Smith, Laura Linney and Kathy Bates.

The storyline begins in 1967 in Dublin, Ireland and Lourdes, France with three women, Eileen (Kathy Bates), Lily (Maggie Smith) and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) participating in a talent show to win tickets to the Lourdes. Unexpectedly, Chrissie (Laura Linney), the daughter of Eileen’s and Lily’s late friend, shows up for the funeral of her mother. While grieving, Chrissie finds her mother’s voucher for Lourdes and decides to join them. Together, these four women experience the ups and downs of friendship and life and, although they all go to visit the Lourdes for different reasons, they have one thing in common: each prays for a miracle.

This movie is truly a gift to watch. It is the definition of hope and faith. Although the four actresses are all spectacular in their performance, my heart leans towards Maggie Smith playing Lily Fox. Lily struggles with the death of her son and her own health, yet always seems to make those around her happy. My favorite scene with Lily is when the women are at the Lourdes bathhouse and she hears Eileen scream. Then a nun comes out and says they are ready for Lily, to which she replies, “Well, I’m not!” which is kind of funny. I also love Agnes O’Casey’s portrayal of Dolly as a kind, but mentally struggling mom and wife, who takes her child Daniel (Eric D. Smith) to the Lourdes so she can make him speak. She believes it is her fault that he cannot speak, and tries her best to overcome his mental obstacle – that is my favorite characteristic about her. I also love the scenery of Lourdes; it is tranquil and peaceful, the perfect place to recollect your thoughts and find miracles.

The film’s message is that miracles do happen, although they may take time to occur. Please be aware that there is partial nudity, miscarriage and abortion references, slight suicide references, and some profanity.

I give The Miracle Club 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in select theaters on July 14, 2023.

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The Last Rider * The Comeback of the Century: How Greg LeMond Won the Tour de France Against All Odds

June 30th, 2023

The incredible story of the greatest cycling race in history, the 1989 Tour de France, and how American Greg LeMond faced down betrayal, childhood sexual abuse and death completing one of the most inspiring comebacks in history.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Avalon N. comments, “The Last Rider is a powerful and inspiring true story that truly touched my heart and I believe will touch many others as well. This life story is brought to the screen with captivating and impressive storytelling.” See her full review and interviews together with David E. below.

The Last Rider
By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The Last Rider is a powerful and inspiring true story that truly touched my heart and I believe will touch many others as well. This life story is brought to the screen with captivating and impressive storytelling.

This documentary is about Greg LeMond, a famous cyclist who won the Tour de France three times; he is the first and currently, last American to do so. It reveals his life story, starting from when cycling was simply a sport he did to keep fit for skiing in the winter.

The story progresses as he wins his first Tour de France in 1986. He gets shot in 1987, which puts his career and life in jeopardy. The documentary focuses mostly on his struggle to get back into cycling and winning the Tour in 1989 and 1990 after his near death — showcasing one of the greatest comebacks in sports’ history. The story is truly motivational and has many good messages. 

What makes The Last Rider so captivating due is the amount of actual footage they used. The footage came mostly from news broadcasts or LeMond’s personal collection — all from different events that took place, with perhaps a bit of stock footage. A lot of the footage has never been shown to the public before.

Another thing that impressed me is the amount of interviews that are used. There are interviews with Greg and Cathy LeMond as well as a few other people that were impactful in LeMond’s life such as Laurent Fignon. The film can be very confusing at tims due to the use of a lot of cycling terms, which are not explained.

The film’s message is to never give up and keep trying, because you never know what might happen and the race isn’t over till you cross the finish line. It does contain a lot of more difficult topics that aren’t necessarily appropriate for younger audiences.

I give The Last Rider 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters now.

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The Cat-Faced Cat * Cutest Children’s Book With Messages About Family, Love And Finding A Home

June 19th, 2023

We love cats because they are fun, playful, warm, soft, and cuddly animals! There is a lot of fun in The Cat-Faced Cat, a book about a cat looking for a place to live and a family to love. The Cat-Faced Cat Named Benny is the first of a series of inspirational tales. It’s time to start the journey of The Cat-Faced Cat with this first book. Children will love following him on his exciting adventures with his wonderful new family!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ari P. comments, “Do you adore cute cats? Do you enjoy reading about them? Well, you’re in luck! The Cat-Faced Cat is one of the cutest children’s books you will find…about cats! It has cute graphics and a hidden message about family, love and finding a home.” Alma K. adds, “The message of The Cat-Faced Cat revolves around themes of perseverance, companionship and the search for a place to belong. It highlights the importance of not giving up, even in the face of loneliness and adversity.”  See their full reviews below.  

The Cat-Faced Cat
By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Do you adore cute cats? Do you enjoy reading about them? Well, you’re in luck! The Cat-Faced Cat is one of the cutest children’s books you will find…about cats! It has cute graphics and a hidden message about family, love and finding a home.

This wild, heartwarming adventure follows the Cat-Faced Cat, who starts life alone, wanting to find a family of his own. He finds different places to sleep, new toys and eventually a new friend; but in this case, not everything is permanent. All the Cat-Faced Cat wants is a new family and, when you read the book, you will answer the main question: does the Cat-Faced Cat ever find a place to call “home?”

The elements I love most about this book are the graphics. The cats are absolutely adorable and, even though there isn’t much detail in the drawings, it makes it so much better for younger children who read this. The people also have simple facial expressions, which helps clarify things for the reader. The only shortcoming for me is the lack of rhyming or alliteration. There are small segments of the book where it does rhyme, but the majority of the book does not, so the “younger child” in me missed that. Other than that, what I like about this story is that it promotes perseverance and the importance of family, human or not.

The message of The Cat-Faced Cat is that, at one point in life, you will find people that are like family to you, blood related or not. This book proves this because at the end, the struggling, lonely cat finally finds a place, and a family, to call home.

I give The Cat-Faced Cat 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5. It is available in both paperback and e-book format at online bookstores, so look for this cuteness overload!

The Cat-Faced Cat
By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The Cat-Faced Cat is an adorable book by Arlette Thomas-Fletcher about an adorable cat. It’s written in a rhyming style which makes it much fun to read aloud and the illustrations by Kristina Stansell are so cute.

The Cat-Faced Cat is a tale that follows the journey of a little kitten in his quest to find a loving home. Benny is a cat that longs for companionship. As time passes, he grows older and starts exploring the town in search for it, going on adventures, seeing all sorts of things and meeting all kinds of people.

While this may not be the most complex story, its simplicity and heartwarming message make it a worthwhile read for young children. The illustrations are great. I especially love the detailed appearance of the cat. At the beginning, he’s a young kitten and, at the end, an adult cat. I don’t know how Kristina did it but you can clearly tell it’s the same cat, just older. Ms. Thomas-Fletcher’s writing makes the readers feel something. This book, although not for my age group, even made me feel bad for the poor kitten that wanted some friends, family or a home. He’s so cute, how can anyone not want him? My favorite part is the illustration on page 7. And I know that doesn’t say much because you can’t see it -the illustration of Benny in that page melts my heart. He looks so happy and adorable.

The book fosters a sense of compassion and understanding as it encourages readers to empathize with the cat’s longing for a loving home and family. Additionally, the story emphasizes the impact of simple acts of kindness. It demonstrates how a chance encounter and a genuine connection can change someone’s life. The book promotes the idea of finding one’s place in the world and serves as a gentle reminder to appreciate the importance of human connections and the joy that comes from finding a place to call home.

The message of The Cat-Faced Cat revolves around themes of perseverance, companionship and the search for a place to belong. It highlights the importance of not giving up, even in the face of loneliness and adversity.

I give The Cat-Faced Cat 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus parents. It’s available now at online book retailers.

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Planning Your Dreams * Valuable Resource For Teens Mapping Out Their Future Careers With Practical Advice And A Clear Strategy

June 8th, 2023

Are you concerned about your future? Do you feel the pressure of picking the right career? Do you think about the future all the time? Have you thought about a way to map out your career choices? If you said yes to any of these questions, then you should look at Planning Your Dreams book, which gives you the strategy to understand how to make your dreams a reality.  This book gives you a jump on thinking about how to find your dream career. Whether you are 12 or 18 this book can guide you to looking at your dreams and planning your career for the future.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “The insightful book, Planning Your Dreams, is a valuable resource for teens seeking guidance in mapping out their future careers. With practical advice and a clear strategy, it empowers young readers to make their dreams a reality.” Kendall B. adds, “If you’re concerned about your future or feeling unsure about what you want to do after high school, there are many ways you can prepare for life beyond your teenage years. This book examines ways to turn hobbies into careers, and how to turn dreams into reality by setting goals and making plans.” Gavin S. wraps it up with, “This book teaches the reader many skills they could use in life to find a job and be successful in life. I like how it gives you steps towards achieving your goal and teaches kids to have an entrepreneur mind set, even at a young age.” See their full reviews below.

Planning Your Dreams
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19

The insightful book, Planning Your Dreams, is a valuable resource for teens seeking guidance in mapping out their future careers. With practical advice and a clear strategy, it empowers young readers to make their dreams a reality. The author presents compelling reasons explaining why planning for a successful career is essential, capturing the concerns and pressures many young people face in choosing the right path. By addressing these concerns head-on, the book immediately connects with its intended audience.

Planning Your Dreams provides a concise overview of the book’s intent. It emphasizes the importance of starting career planning early and highlights the benefits of doing so. While it doesn’t delve into every detail, it offers enough information to spark curiosity and encourage readers to explore the strategies presented.

One of the book’s strengths lies in its relatable examples and personal anecdotes. The author introduces the concept of understanding dreams and aligning them with career choices. The book goes beyond conventional advice, encouraging readers to identify their passions and translate them into viable career options. The book also addresses various aspects of career planning, such as mapping out goals and developing a strategic plan.

The author’s guidance on these topics is clear and practical, providing readers with actionable steps to follow. Planning Your Dreams carries a positive and uplifting message, emphasizing the importance of pursuing fulfilling careers that align with one’s passions. It successfully motivates readers to take action and offers a realistic approach to achieving their dreams. The book is entirely suitable for its target audience. It promotes positive social behavior by encouraging self-reflection and personal growth.

I give Planning Your Dreams 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as it specifically targets teenagers who are navigating career choices. However, adults who are seeking career guidance may also find it insightful and beneficial.  You can purchase the book online at various bookselling platforms or directly from the author’s website.

Planning Your Dreams

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The book Planning Your Dreams is super educational and beneficial for teenagers. It focuses on thinking ahead and what you want to do with your life to make you happy and fulfilled.

Planning Your Dreams focuses on thinking ahead in your life and finding things you’re passionate about and ways you can turn them into careers. It looks at finding things that combine your skills and your interests.

If you’re concerned about your future or feeling unsure about what you want to do after high school, there are many ways you can prepare for life beyond your teenage years. This book examines ways to turn hobbies into careers, and how to turn dreams into reality by setting goals and making plans. It explains how to have a career that truly makes you feel fulfilled. The entire book is based on how to plan your life in a rewarding way. This is a useful thing for kids to know and think about.  Plus, it has great information about careers and jobs. The author has a spectacular way of talking about things that kids love doing such as playing video games or exploring nature and turning them into exciting careers. It can help even the laziest kids think ahead in life. All this is important for teenagers to learn and will help them think about careers they might want to pursue in the future.

The book reminds us that it’s never too early to think about what you want to do with your life, and there are many careers that can focus on your passions.

I give Planning Your Dreams 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find it online at book retailers.

Planning Your Dreams: Dreams Are The Plans Of Our Future

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Planning your Dreams is very inspirational. What I like most about this book is how the author uses pictures at the start of every chapter.

This book is about having dreams, and planning them. It teaches you the steps to take toward achieving your goals and, gives you options if you do not achieve your goals.

This book teaches the reader many skills they could use in life to find a job and be successful in life. I like how it gives you steps towards achieving your goal and teaches kids to have an entrepreneur mind set, even at a young age. It reminds you that if you do what you love, you won’t have to work a single day in your life. It gives options of jobs for certain interests and encourages people to try new things and find new interests. I like how it emphasizes that it’s okay to fail and that, even if you don’t have the talent to do something, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it — you can always get trained.

The book flows very well. Plus, I like how it teaches you what to do if you fail to achieve your goals. The vocabulary is definitely suitable for kids as well as adults. The illustrations are bright and colorful. One special feature I like is the sidebar where you can scroll through different chapters and pages. Another practical thing is that it has pages where you can write down your own goals and the steps needed to achieve them.

The book’s message is that if you know what you want to do in life you have to work hard.

I give Planning your Dreams 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It is available online at many online retailers.

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Fast X * An Unabashed Next Step In This Series’ Mission To Depict Escalating Vehicular Mania

May 20th, 2023

Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto and his family have outsmarted and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they must confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced. Fueled by revenge, a terrifying threat emerges from the shadows of the past to shatter Dom’s world and destroy everything — and everyone — he loves.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Fast X is an unabashed next step in this series’ mission to depict escalating vehicular mania. It’s certainly enjoyable and even thrilling at points, but it does lack some novelty. As Fast X speeds the Fast and Furious franchise into its final lap, it can’t help but feel like we’re going in circles.” See his full review below.

Fast X
By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

(l-r) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Isabel (Daniela Melchior) in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

Fast X is an unabashed next step in this series’ mission to depict escalating vehicular mania. It’s certainly enjoyable and even thrilling at points, but it does lack some novelty. As Fast X speeds the Fast and Furious franchise into its final lap, it can’t help but feel like we’re going in circles.

Fast X follows Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) as they raise their son away from their enemies and the battles that have taken up much of their time for decades. Dominic’s friends and soldiers of the wheel—Roman (Tyrese Gibso), Tej (Ludacris), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) —all go on a mission to Rome, Italy, for an underground government organization. However, the mission isn’t real and both the agency and Dom’s pals are duped by an old foe that emerges from the shadows to exact revenge on Dom and his family. This villain, Dante (Jason Momoa), threatens to break Dom’s family into pieces, so the family must figure out how to save themselves from Dante and new government agents who have Dom in their crosshairs.

(l -clockwise) Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Han (Sung Kang), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Dom (Vin Diesel), Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), Abuelita (Rita Moreno), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Roman (Tyrese Gibson, Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

These Fast and Furious characters used to steal TVs off of moving trucks—now they save the Vatican. These movies succeed most when they know what they are and what you want. It’s a rollercoaster, so at a certain point you just throw your hands up and enjoy the ride. Dominic Toretto is basically inhuman by now; nothing can kill him and he can bend the laws of reality and science to his will. Action is the primary draw of these films—story has become secondary as the saga of Dom and his band of street racers turned superheroes cruises into its 11th entry. Fast X, however, goes all in on plot, which feels like a miscalculation. Especially as the second half refuses to reach any kind of conclusion, barreling towards a silly cliffhanger that does little to maintain the stakes the first half establishes. None of the racers we’ve come to know and love are safe, but the way Fast X wraps up, it’s hard not to feel like all of them are.

Jason Momoa is unbelievable in this movie as Dante. He’s easily the best villain Dom and the crew have ever fought against. This level of gleeful, over-the-top evil is hard to find in any movie, but it’s a gift in the heightened world of Fast and Furious. He gets all the movie’s best laughs—you almost wish he would crush Dominic’s world so we could watch him laugh, twirl, and dance as it all goes up in flames.

Jason Momoa as Dante in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

John Cena’s a lot of fun, too. He takes a page from Momoa’s playbook, an action hero who loses the self-seriousness and has a good time playing uncle to Dom’s young son. Tyrese Gibson is ever a delight as Roman. Gibson always has a lot fun with this role, and he understands exactly what energy he must bring to keep the franchise full of life. Practically every time he comes on screen, the audience erupts into laughter.

I give Fast X 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, for some language, frequent intense action and some graphic violence.  Fast X zooms into theaters on May 19, 2023. Vroom vroom.

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Frog and Toad * Love How This Show Reminds Us Of How Opposites Complement Each Other

April 28th, 2023

Frog is a frog. Toad is a toad. They have a lot in common … but they are also very different. Frog and Toad are best friends who know that the true secret to friendship is not only enjoying the things you have in common, but embracing the things that make you different. Since our differences are what makes us special, Frog and Toad celebrate what makes them unique! 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keila V. comments, “I love how this series constantly reminds me of how opposites really do complement each other. The animation is adorable, although some scenes are quite unrealistic. The storyline is terrific and the voice actors are fantastic. The voice actor for both Frog and Toad (Kevin Michael Richardson) is so enthusiastic.” See her full review below.

Frog and Toad
By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Frog and Toad is a new TV series based on the classic fictional children’s story. In every episode Frog and Toad go on a new adventure and each adventure provides a valued life lesson.

The story follows a very joyful Frog and a groggy Toad on unique journeys around their neighborhood. Frog and Toad are the best of friends and spend every day together. Toad loves to bake, relax and enjoy his life at a slow pace; while Frog, on the other hand is an outgoing, upbeat and cheerful character. The main theme of the story in all the episodes is how Frog and Toad always help each other and never leave one another’s side.

I love how this series constantly reminds me of how opposites really do complement each other. The animation is adorable, although some scenes are quite unrealistic. The storyline is terrific and the voice actors are fantastic. The voice actor for both Frog and Toad (Kevin Michael Richardson) is so enthusiastic. Throughout the series we see the characters really being authentic to what they are trying to say and, in one particular scene, Frog is trying to convince Toad to wake up from hibernation on the first day of spring (even though toads hibernate until late spring).

My favorite scene of the series is in the episode called “The Letter” where Frog hears Toad say that he has never gotten mail before. Frog goes back home to write Toad his very own first letter and after he finishes it, he brings it to the town’s post office and tells the little postman (a snail) to take the letter as fast as he can to Toad’s house. As you know, snails are awfully slow, so when Frog goes back to see Toad he is lying in bed and feeling upset that he isn’t getting any mail and thinks he never will. Little does he know Snail is on his way, but definitely taking a while to bring his letter. Frog is a true friend to Toad because he waits two days with Toad waiting for Snail to come and bring his very first mail. You just have to see it!

The message of this series is to always enjoy our friends and appreciate our life; we only have a certain amount of time. Another message is to love the outdoors, just as we see Frog and Toad love spending their time going on walks and having a picnic. This teaches children not just to be on their electronics but to also savor the great outdoors!

I give Frog and Toad 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. It is releases on Apple TV+ April 28, 2023.

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Chevalier * Stunning Story About A Black French Artist Who History Forgot

April 23rd, 2023

Inspired by the incredible true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr. in a tour de force performance) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic David E. comments, “I really like Chevalier, because of its story about segregation in France when Black people were slaves. I like the violin aspect of it as well.” See his full review below.

Chevalier
By David E., KIDS FIRST!  Film Critic, age 12

Kelvin Harrison Jr. in the film CHEVALIER. Photo by Larry Horricks. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

I really like Chevalier, because of its story about segregation in France when Black people were slaves. I like the violin aspect of it as well.

The story takes place in 18th century Paris and is inspired by the incredible life of composer Joseph Bolognue, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bolognue, rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court.

Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving and Alex Fizalan in the film CHEVALIER. Photo by Larry Horricks. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

I really enjoyed the storyline. It is amazing and really shows us what life was like in the 18th century. The pace is intentionally slow and that’s what makes it so good. It reminds me of a great meal that you would just want to savor. You can really imagine it taking place in your mind. The camerawork is excellent; it makes you feel as if you are in parts of the scene. Production on this film began on September 7, 2021, in Prague, Czech Republic and ended in November 2021. The setting was supposed to take place in France and the sets and locations really look very French. Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives a tour de force performance as Joseph Bolognue / Chevalier. He blew me away with his performance.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. in the film CHEVALIER. Photo by Larry Horricks. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

Samara Weaving’s portrayal of the Queen uses a rude and not too shabby voice and she changes sides like when you flip a light switch. Lucy Boynton, the love interest of Bolognue, seems to be a typical woman who men fall in love with. I didn’t feel the inclusion of her as his love interest added much to the storyline. I don’t particularly care for the film’s ending, but it does kick off the French revolution.

The message of this film is never try to get rid of a Black man.

I give Chevalier 4.5out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available in movie theaters beginning April 21, 2023

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Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior * Very Inspirational!  

April 15th, 2023

Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior  is a book designed for Christians and Christian leaders that discusses the importance of showing the love of God. Oftentimes Christians’ behavior does not reflect the type of love that God wants us to show. This book addresses the importance of taking time to assure that we show loving behavior and uses Bible verses to illustrate that.

KIDS FIRST! reporter Gavin S. comments, “This book is very inspirational! Something that I enjoyed about it and I think others will enjoy, is how the author uses Bible verses in every chapter and how they explain what it means and gives a lesson based on it.” Ashleigh C. adds, “This book provides excellent guidance on how to show the love of God through our behavior. Author Arlette-Thomas-Fletcher skillfully highlights the importance of reflecting God’s love in our actions and reactions towards others, emphasizing that it is not enough to know the right scriptures, but we also should live them out in our daily lives.” Eunnet C. wraps it up with, “Giving God’s Love To Others is a simple book, but detailed enough for someone to understand and reflect on ways of giving a Christian type of love to others. It’s suitable for kids because they can easy understand the content and it even includes pictures that most will find entertaining.” See their full reviews below.

Giving God’s Love to Others
By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Something that I enjoyed about Giving God’s Love to Others and I think others will enjoy, is how the author uses Bible verses in every chapter and how they explain what it means and gives a lesson based on it. This book is very inspirational; I believe it will encourage others to turn to God in tough times.

This book reminds us how important it is to show your love of God, and to behave in a way that reflects the love that God wants us to show. We are sometimes unaware of how out of line we are in our behavior toward others and, by quoting scripture this book reminds us of how God wants us to behave. It teaches us to love everyone the same way God has loved us.

This book is an awesome way to learn new things, with lots of entertaining elements that make learning fun. It makes it easy for kids to learn new words. I enjoyed the stories from the Bible, like the story of Joseph, The King of Dreams, and I like the use of Bible verses throughout the book. As the title says, it is about spreading god’s love and loving others. I also like that the author explains how she went through some tough times, and then ultimately turned to God, and she explains how God helped her. She also explains that people who are hurt need time to recover.

The storyline flows very well, however sometimes the words get very advanced, words such as wherewith or thenceforth, but I still enjoyed the book. The book itself teaches lots of positive life lessons, like loving everyone. During one of the chapters, it talks about Joseph and how his brothers hated him, but later they forgive each other.  The problem solving in this book is definitely suitable for young people and we can relate to the stories like the one about Joseph and his brothers. The cover of the book is very attractive; it shows people holding hands in the sunset. One thing that I like about the book is how pictures are used at the start of each chapter. Also, there is a sidebar that lets you scroll through different chapters and pages. What makes this book suitable for a youth audience is how it teaches positive lessons, and how it teaches to love everyone.

The message of this book is that we should treat everyone the same, with love.

I give Giving God’s Love to Others 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available now through online booksellers.

Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19

Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior is an excellent resource that, as a Christian, I found valuable. The author’s use of relatable language, clear scriptural references, and practical examples makes this book a practical tool for anyone who desires to live a life that reflects the love of God.

This book provides excellent guidance on how to show the love of God through their behavior. Author Arlette-Thomas-Fletcher skillfully highlights the importance of reflecting God’s love in our actions and reactions towards others, emphasizing that it is not enough to know the right scriptures, but we also should live them out in our daily lives.

The book is well-written and easy to understand, making it an excellent resource for both seasoned Christians and new believers alike. Ms. Thomas-Fletcher uses relevant examples and anecdotes to drive home the message that showing love is a deliberate action that requires intentionality and mindfulness. The book also provides clear scriptural references that serve as a roadmap for those who desire to walk in love. The book also does not shy away from addressing the common pitfalls that Christians encounter.

The message of this book is that love should be at the core of every Christian’s life and it should be reflected in their behavior.

I give Giving God’s Love to Others: How to Show Christian Love Behavior 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available now at online booksellers, so check it out.

Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior
By Eunnet C., KIDS FIRST!

Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior is a simple book, but detailed enough for someone to understand and reflect on ways of giving a Christian type of love to others. It’s suitable for kids because they can easy understand the content and it even includes pictures that most will find entertaining.

Giving God’s Love To Others shows ways in which Christians can properly spread the type of love that God wants us to have. It includes Bible verses Bible and stories that help you to further understand the topic and also grasp your attention.

The book begins by discussing the history of how the book came into being. As Christians we might unintentionally act against our way of truth in spreading love. The various Bible verses help reinforce the concept of love and how to properly obtain it at your own pace. It gives a clear explanation on what love is and how to achieve it. The Bible verses help you stay on track. The story line flows well from the beginning and held my interest from the very first page to the last page. I like that there even is a place to write your thoughts or to journal your thoughts at the end. I read it as an E-book and it doesn’t have any special features; however its table of content is quite useful. Its educational impact is in helping someone understand the importance of giving Christian love and how to even achieve that. Readers will clearly take away an understanding of how to show love to those around them and will be able to recognize and remove any bad behavior they might have in spreading love.

The book’s message is about what love is and the different types of love a Christian is meant to portray.

I give Giving God’s Love To Others: How To Show Christian Love Behavior 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to18, plus adults. It is available now through online booksellers.

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Jane * Full Of Imagination, Thrills, And A Whole Lot Of Education, Inspired By Conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall

April 8th, 2023

Jane, a 9-year-old budding environmentalist on a quest to save endangered animals. Using her powerful imagination, Jane takes her best friends David and Greybeard the chimpanzee on epic adventures to help protect wild animals all around the world because, according to her idol Dr. Jane Goodall: “Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, can they be saved.”

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D. comments, “To all nature and environmental enthusiasts, sit tight because a great mini-series is coming your way! Jane, a new 10-episode action adventure series is the “complete package” full of imagination, thrills, and a whole lot of education, inspired by the work of famous conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall.” See his full review below.

Jane
By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

https://youtu.be/JCwpjWrc1pM

To all nature and environmental enthusiasts, sit tight because a great mini-series is coming your way! Jane, a new 10-episode action adventure series is the “complete package” full of imagination, thrills, and a whole lot of education, inspired by the work of famous conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall. Viewers are in for a real treat.

The series takes us through the imaginative short journeys of Jane Garcia (Ava Louise Murchison) and her best friend and partner-in-crime, David (Mason Blomberg), who set out to save the world’s vanishing species.  While on their quest to help these species, this dynamic duo educates viewers about threatened wildlife and explains the importance of making a change for generations to come. Following each journey, these young environmentalists are joined virtually by a research scientist who not only shares so much information about specific species, but also shares their own experiences, which adds excitement to each episode. From bees to bats and bears, the Jane series is exceptional!

Each episode is so inspiring which is what I like most about Jane. Of course the adventure, action, and creativity are also enjoyable, but what makes this series stand out is the education we get about diminishing species and what can be done to save them.  The visual effects also deserve a mention. The live action/CGI-blended scenes are outstanding. Set locations are perfectly chosen, allowing viewers to feel they are right there alongside the animals.

The Jane series delivers a message of hope. Each of us, no matter what age, needs to be committed in order to make positive change for our ecosystems. Every species is important on our planet, and if we can gain a better understanding of the problems that exist within nature, maybe we can fix them.  We’re all in this together, and together we can make change –future generations are counting on us!

I give Jane 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12.  Jane makes its global debut on April 14, 2023 on Apple TV+.  Mark your calendars—this series is great!

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Tomorrow’s Hope * Fills You With Positivity And Gratitude And Inspires You To Tackle All Your Challenges With Tenacity

March 25th, 2023

Set on the South Side of Chicago; against a layered backdrop of systemic inequality, the documentary explores a community’s unique embrace of the possibilities of early education through the eyes of its first graduates who are now approaching young adulthood. The film reunites three present-day high school seniors who started out in Educare Preschool’s first  class, exploring the effects of early childhood education as they navigate their way through difficult circumstances. While today the Educare Early Education Center is going strong, the documentary shows its utterly harrowing, yet remarkable early stages as “The Beethoven Project” located within “Forgotonia” – a name the film’s Portia Kennel uses to describe what was at the time the largest housing project in the world.​ Exploring the contrast of promises kept against a pervasive backdrop of promises broken, Tomorrow’s Hope celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. Produced by The Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, Tomorrow’s Hope is “genuinely uplifting and inspiring in ways that even ‘feel-good’ fictional stories can’t often achieve” (Film Threat).

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “A film that will fill you with positivity and gratitude and inspire you to tackle all your challenges with tenacity, Tomorrow’s Hope is a wonderful experience for viewers of all ages.” See his full review and interview with director Thomas A. Morgan, below.  

Tomorrow’s Hope
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

A film that will fill you with positivity and gratitude and inspire you to tackle all your challenges with tenacity, Tomorrow’s Hope is a wonderful experience for viewers of all ages.

Tomorrow’s Hope tells the story of three high school seniors who all started their academic journeys as the first class of the Educare Early Education Center. Educare is one of the few early education centers in the violence-ridden South Side of Chicago. The organization’s journey from “The Beethoven Project,” located in the projects, to a pile of rubble, and now to one of the most successful early education programs, preparing kids for a future of success, is documented with a clear-cut narrative structure.

Every individual interviewed for this film speaks their heart and tells their story in the raw, real manner it was meant to be told. Their stories, the light and dark moments alike, carry great weight and truly make the film what it is. The interviews in the film do not just touch your heart but also educate you about a reality many might not know: the story of “Forgotonia,” the moniker given to the Chicago projects as they underwent gentrification, and the people of the South Side. The film represents black voices well, as most, if not all, of the characters, are African-American. The individual interviews are stitched together with ample historical and live b-roll to form a concise but detailed 45-minute story. I especially love how Jacqueline, who works at Educare, and the spotlighted seniors interact in the shots together; their attachment to and warmth toward one another is palpable.

Tomorrow’s Hope promotes keeping your hopes up and persevering even against broken promises and catastrophes. Each of the subjects of the film has seen gun violence or gang violence take away those closest to them—it’s clear that it would be easy to fall into these traps. But they kept at it; all three went to college and made their families proud. As far as parental advisories go, there are mentions of death and violence.

I give Tomorrow’s Hope 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Tomorrow’s Hope is available on VOD and digital beginning March 21, 2023.

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