Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / California Bookwatch

California Bookwatch

Volume 11, Number 12 December 2016 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Needlecraft Shelf Technology Shelf
Crafts Shelf Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Coloring Book Shelf
Education Shelf Autism Shelf Sports Shelf
World History Shelf International Studies Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Computer Shelf Biography Shelf
Political Science Shelf California Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Miles and Miles of Texas
Carol Dawson and Roger Polson
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623494568, $39.95,

Miles and Miles of Texas: 100 years of the Texas Highway Department outlines a century of history and pairs that with new and rare photos that cover the development of the Texas Highway Department, which began in 1917 when there were only about 200,000 cars in Texas. Paved roads were rare and the new agency was charged with fostering in the age of the auto in an era where rural landscapes were more common than cars. Austin writer Carol Dawson and former executive assistant in the Texas Dept. of Transportation Roger Polson provide a thorough and engrossing coverage that charts the history, politics, and evolutionary influences on the Texas Highway Department in a vivid survey that will appeal to Texas collections and any interested in U.S. highway history.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Crochet Cowls
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811716741, $21.95,

Crochet Cowls: 15 Bold & Beautiful Designs provides a range of designs that crocheters can follow to create cowls of varying looks and textures, and is recommended for a range of crochet workers from newcomers to advanced users looking for new ideas. The cowls vary in skill level and approach and because of this, beginners have access to projects that look more complicated than they are; while those with more experience will find more intricate crochet designs. The result is a collection of colorful, fun projects that belongs in any crochet worker's collection, requiring only a basic knowledge of crochet instruction abbreviations to prove accessible.

Sewing Custom Curtains, Shades, and Top Treatments
Susan Woodcock
Creative Publishing International
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781589239319, $26.99,

Sewing Custom Curtains, Shades, and Top Treatments tackles home projects many needleworkers may initially believe to be far from their skills levels, and teaches the basics of crafting customized window treatments. These often involve not just fabric but incorporating hardware and pairing window covering style to both window and overall home decor. All are covered in the course of a comprehensive guide that gives attention to a wide range of options, from Roman-style shades to gathered curtains, arched panels, ruched drapery, and more. The step-by-step directions are perfect for beginners who may have prior sewing skills but no specific background in window coverings. Step-by-step color photos leave little to guess about and enhance an instructive set of window ideas easily customizable by any who like to sew.

The Technology Shelf

Advanced Technology for Smart Buildings
James Sinopoli
Artech House Publishing
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781608078653, $159.00,

Advanced Technology for Smart Buildings comes from an expert in his field and provides a resource to engineers working with smart buildings, from power and control systems to information technology within the building industry. It pairs this technology with building standards and processes and offers new insights into the concept and applications of smart buildings, providing overviews of different topics ranging from microgrids and FDD implementation to communication protocols. The result is a recommendation for a variety of collections, from engineering and IT technology professionals to builders' references.

The Crafts Shelf

Simple Metalwork Jewelry
Judy Freyer Thompson
Kalmbach Publishing
21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
9781627002509, $22.99,

Simple Metalwork Jewelry advocates learning through a series of projects that involve cutting, piercing, and putting together metals without the need for a torch, and offers a wide range of over twenty projects that are designed to not only produce professional-quality jewelry, but to encourage learning different metalworking techniques and tools. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces and more receive close-up color photos, step-by-step explanations, and complete coverage of everything needed to produce winning, professional-quality results.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

A Guide Book of Peace Dollars, third edition
Roger W. Burdette with Barry Lovvorn
Whitman Publishing
4001 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama, 35630
9780794844134, $19.95,

A Guide Book of Peace Dollars covers the history, collectability, values and grading of peace dollars and appears in its third updated and revised edition to cover the silver Peace dollar issues from 1921 through 1935. Every date and mint mark of this silver dollar and its patterns, trial pieces, and varieties are covered in a reference that pairs the latest market values with historical background and biographies of those involved in the Peace dollar's making and promotion. Good-sized color photos throughout round out an outstanding reference no coin collector should be without.

The Coloring Book Shelf

Country Life Coloring Book
Michael Lumsden, Editor
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612128849, $12.95,

Country Life Coloring Book contains templates for a range of country scenes, from farm and wild animals to harvests, that can be used for coloring and display by all ages. This book holds relatively simple coloring landscapes and scenes, so it's accessible from children to adults, while the lay-flat binding and detachable pages are easy to color either in the book or separately. Anyone interested in depicting and embellishing country life will find this a winner.

The Education Shelf

Dream Wakers
Ruth Culham
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781625311115, $38.60,

Dream Wakers: Mentor Texts That Celebrate Latino Culture takes the author's love for children's literature and writing and blends it with a special focus on Latino life and culture to provide teachers with new strategies for incorporating some of the best new children's books into writing inspiration. Over 120 such books are paired with lesson ideas designed to emphasize different creative writing processes in a survey packed with insight. Over half of the recommended books are bilingual or offer choices between English and Spanish editions, while advice on charting, encouraging student dialogues from specific readings, and synopses of each book's approach provides plenty of detail educators will find useful for classroom applications.

Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218

Jonathan Osborne,'s Arguing from Evidence in Middle School Science (9781506335940, $32.95) provides 24 activities geared towards deeper learning practices, and shows teachers how to help students develop critical thinking skills based on scientific arguments and evidence. Lessons incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards as they present proven strategies to help students think and learn, with chapters covering learning goals, including references, and providing extension activities and notes to support the exercises. The second updated edition of Rosalind Wisema's Owning Up: Empowering Adolescents to Confront Social Cruelty, Bullying, and Injustice (9781506343679, $39.95) appears in its second updated edition to help teachers design a curriculum that can be used in the classroom or by school counselors and small group leaders to combat social cruelty. From games and discussions to role-playing scripts, teachers and students learn about flexibility and social interactions that can turn the tables on bullying. Brad Gustafson's Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students (9781506334219, $27.95) takes an unusual approach in equating 'renegade' with the teaching process, but provides educational leaders with concrete tools for digital instruction that encourages applying leadership abilities to student-centered instructional choices. From different ways of connecting leadership to innovation strategies to a wealth of inspirational case histories and stories, this is an appealingly different kind of call to action that refutes the chaos that the title word 'renegade' would bring to mind. John SanGiovanni's Mine the Gap for Mathematical Understanding: Common Holes and Misconceptions and What to Do About Them (9781506337678, $34.95) is directed to teachers of grades 3-5 who are concerned about the state of math education for their grade levels. It identifies the sources of common student misconceptions and outlines nearly two hundred tasks designed to support the standards and ideas of this grade level, offering downloadable options and discussions on how to modify them for different applications. Chapters that focus on the often-blurry line between right and wrong answers provide a treasure trove of details. Leslie Blauman's Teaching Evidence-Based Writing: Fiction Texts and Lessons for Spot-on Writing About Reading (9781506360706, $30.95) offers a set of strategies based on the teacher author's efforts to guide her students in building critical thinking skills, and here shares the process she used to combine ELA standards and her own book preferences with lessons structures that can be used in their entirety or as supportive excerpts for other work. Lessons can be used as demonstrations or for guided exercises, while discussions on the process and write-about-reading templates pair well with examples of student work and analytical approaches to it. Jared J. Covili's Going Google: Powerful Tools for 21st Century Learning (9781506325286, $32.95) appears in its second updated edition to give beginning and veteran K-12 teachers a set of tools to help develop and teach 21st century skills through Google Classroom, Google Drive, and more. Each tool comes with cautions and best practices recommendations, while basic structures, editing tools for text and photos, an introductory highlight of five basic things one needs to know about each Google tool, and classroom projects and applications makes for a thorough coverage. Laura Robb's Read Talk Write: 35 Lessons That Teach Students to Analyze Fiction and Nonfiction (9781506339573, $29.95) shows how to create a classroom structure that lend to productive student talks and collaborative processes. The strategies specific to this book include using short texts by popular fiction and nonfiction authors to teach students how to analyze texts, using six different kinds of talk in the instructional process, and adding reproducibles to encourage student discussions. The focus on guiding young readers through structured lesson plans makes for a series of tools key to developing young reader analytical skills.

The Autism Shelf

Act It Out
Jeannie Stefonek
AAPC Publishing
11209 Strang Line Road, Lenexa, KS 66215
9781942197195, $27.95,

ACT It Out: One Year of Social Skills Lessons for Students Grades 7-12 - Social Skills for Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Disorders uses theater as a method to help ASD students to relate to the world, and provides a wide range of lessons that will help students in grades 7-12 with acting-based routines and learning opportunities. The program offers students the framework for exploring social skills using scripts and interviews, helping them understand and apply these skills as they work through skits and utilize theater routines to navigate real world challenges. Educator and health collections strong in ASD special education will find this an appropriate and clear, tested program.

Exploring Depression and Beating the Blues
Tony Attwood and Michelle Garnett
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849055024, $19.95,

Exploring Depression and Beating the Blues: A CBT Self-Help Guide to Understanding and Coping with Depression in Asperger's Syndrome (ASD-Level 1) is a workbook and guide recommended for any working with Asperger's and autism spectrum people, and offers a very specific self-help guide that explains the different forms depression can take in these individuals, and how to address them. Two clinical psychologists offer their backgrounds and experiences and translate them into an easy step-by-step CBT self-help program complete with fill-in workbook pages, charts, illustrations by Colin Thompson, and keys to developing better self-awareness. The result is a unique 'must' for any on the autism spectrum who struggle with depression.

The Sports Shelf

Human Kinetics
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076

Edward Howley and Dixie L. Thompson edit the seventh updated edition of Fitness Professionals Handbook (9781492523376, $97.00). This pairing of hardcover printed book and a web resource provides fitness professionals with specific instruction on how to screen fitness participants, apply and evaluate standard tests, assign appropriate exercises based on fitness results, and more, gathering the latest guidelines and research to a recommendation for any professional involved in physical activities. Accompanied by an online video library with over twenty video clips of key techniques and a web resource guide, this weighty reference's new chapter on working with recreational athletes makes for a winning update. Applying Music in Exercise and Sport by Costas I. Karageorghis (9781492513810, $45.00) is a blend of research and specific recommendations for using music for workouts and exercise, and explores how musical enhancements can supplement and support sports. From studies showing what kinds of music work best to case histories on developing a music program, applying it to various sports, and assessing its impact, Applying Music in Exercise and Sport covers various exercises (stationary bikes, running and aiming and shooting sports, to name a few), individual and group participation, measuring success, and more. Instructors will find the specific statistics and assessment parameters to be educational and key to developing their own customized music programs promising tested, measurable results.

The World History Shelf

Rebel Crossings
Sheila Rowbotham
20 Jay Street, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201-8346
9781784785888, $34.95,

Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers, and Radicals in Britain and the United States chronicles the lives of four women and two men who, as young radicals, made efforts to build lives centered around their ideals in a capitalist society whose structure often conflicted with these goals. All of them came of age at the turn of the 20th century and all faced social and political challenges to their choices of feminism, socialism, and culture. In juxtaposing six very different approaches to seeking a different lifestyle outside of and yet within the structure of capitalism, Rebel Crossings not only profiles six lives and their pioneering efforts, but displays how radical and non-confirming ideals can survive even under social and political constraints, making this a strong recommendation for history, political, and social science collections alike.

The International Studies Shelf

A History of the Modern Middle East, sixth edition
William L. Cleveland and Martin Bunton
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813349800, $55.00,

A History of the Modern Middle East covers some two centuries of changes in the Middle East and pairs a political history with accompanying details about economic and social influences in the region. This sixth updated edition includes all the major events that have taken place since 2012, from the Arab uprisings to the civil war in Syria and the rises of ISIS, and is a comprehensive survey that is recommended reading for high school to college level students serious about the region's politics, sociology, and background.

The Cookbook Shelf

My Culinary Journey
Georgeanne Brennan
Yellow Pear Press
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9780997066401, $27.50,

My Culinary Journey: Food & Fetes of Provence covers the foods and festivals Georgeanne Brennan experienced in Provence, and differs from other cookbooks about the region in its refreshingly different blend of recipes, cultural observations, travelogue and autobiography. Part memoir and part cookbook, it's a lively discussion of her journeys through the region from the early days when she lived in France with her husband and children making cheese to her observations of some of Provence's most iconic food festivals. Readers seeking more than a recipe collection will find this a winningly appealing survey of the region that brings cultural and culinary flavors to life.

Big Green Egg Cookbook
Ray Lampe
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449475877, $25.00,

Big Green Egg Cookbook: Grill, Smoke, Bake & Roast provides 80 new recipes specifically created for the smoker/cooker termed "the big green egg", so, obviously, possession of this specialty item is the first prerequisite to successfully using this cookbook. One might think that not too many would have the "big green egg", but in fact there are over a million EGG owners in the U.S. and interest is great. While many may know the basics of smoking and cooking in it, few may realize they can grill, bake or roast using this device. Chapters provide a wide range of recipes to demonstrate just how versatile this cooker can be.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Collette Baron-Reid
Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781401948627, $24.99,

Uncharted: The Journey Through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility provides new age readers with a guided journey through five interconnected realms of the soul, and examines the different states of consciousness and experiences to be discovered in each. Chapters follow what happens when you let go of old patterns and stories to embark on a different kind of journey, and they provide guidelines and insights that will prove invaluable to those committed to facing their fears and regaining personal power.

The Computer Shelf

CSS3 Pocket Primer
Oswald Campesato
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781938549687, $27.95,

CSS3 Pocket Primer provides an overview of the features and source code for using CSS3, organizing information in a pocket primer format designed especially for self-learners who want to absorb the basics quickly. From material devoted to CSS3 on mobile devices to be used with other program applications and interfaces to meta tags, media queries, graphics and animation applications, and more, this is a powerful quick learning tool highly recommended for any CSS3 user.

The Biography Shelf

Ma Barker: America's Most Wanted Mother
Howard Kazanjuan and Chris Enss
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9780762796311, $16.95,

Ma Barker: America's Most Wanted Mother tells of the notorious mother of several criminals who oversaw the Barker gang during the Depression years. Kate Barker's thirst for the finer things in life was challenged by the economic pressures of her times, and her image has been virtually set in stone from FBI records depicting her as a controlling mother figure. Was she really as terrible as history claims? Two entertainment industry writers survey the real facts of not only Ma Barker's life and participation in family and crime, but the milieu of her era, and the reality of her situation. History and biography readers will find this a lively and different exploration.

The Political Science Shelf

What Washington Gets Wrong
Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633882492, $25.00,

What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and their Misconceptions about the American People provides a hard-hitting examination of federal administration and the increasingly large group of unelected officials who actually do most of the work of government. The authors interviewed and considered agency officials from the White House staff to congressional arms and found that most were lacking in knowledge and inaccurate in their processes. Policy issues took the biggest hit when it came to inconsistencies and failures. Any interested in Washington politics and government management must read this book: it's an eye-opening consideration of surprising gulfs between administrators and the duties they are assigned to carry out on behalf of the American people.

The California Shelf

The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast
Kirk Lombard, author
Leighton Kelly, illustrator
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597143578, $22.00, PB, 272pp,

In "The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast", author and California coastal resident Kirk Lombard combines a startling depth of knowledge with wry humor and colorful storytelling to guide readers' quests to hook fish, dig clams, and pick seaweed for themselves. Leighton Kelly's stunning, occasionally idiosyncratic illustrations complement practical instructions for gathering a variety of fish and seafood and delicious recipes for what to do with each catch. Drawing upon his years of experience and expertise, Lombard is a former staff member at the state Department of Fish and Game and founder of the foraging tour company/seafood delivery service Sea Forager Seafood. He insists that his readers follow all regulations and encourages sustainable practices above and beyond what the State of California requires. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast" is quirky and useful how-to is sure to inspire an empowering epicurean adventure -- and will prove to be a highly popular addition to all California community library collections!

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

Diane C. Donovan, Editor & Senior Reviewer
12424 Mill Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 1-707-795-4629

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design