Our 2018 faves


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“A Star Is Born”

This was a story of tragic love; the following of fame will leave one isolated and addiction will leave one hopeless. It is an important warning that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope, the only freedom. As you watch the story play out, you can see that even the deep love and bond through music that the main characters shared was not enough to heal them or set them free. ~ Kim Kirkland Allen

(Rated R for “language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse.”)


“Creed II”

There are few surprises in this sequel to the “Rocky” spinoff, but all the punches land, from father/son drama to Rocky/Creed drama and a fantastic performance by Michael B. Jordan. The beating heart of the “Rocky” franchise is family, and this film is no exception. Note: Creed and his girlfriend live together before marriage, with all that that entails. Otherwise, this is a flick you can watch with the kids. ~ Katie Eubanks

(Rated PG-13 for “sports action violence [read: boxing], language, and a scene of sensuality.”)


“Equalizer 2”

My sentiment and heart seemingly are drawn toward rooting for the underdog to overcome life’s mountains and valleys and succeed with a healthy attitude and desire give back, pay it forward, reach down and help others up or out of a dreadful or compromising situation.

Movie plot: While retired to a life of seclusion and Isolation, this character (starring Denzel Washington) finds himself again using and utilizing the skills of his past life to rescue a friend who’s been kidnapped. He is a kind of an avenging angel — the kind that helps the defenseless overcome the bulging and nauseating arrogance of a society gone unchallenged and unchecked. ~ Larry Nicks

(Rated R “for brutal violence throughout, language, and some drug content.”)


“A Quiet Place”

Yes, ideally you would’ve seen this one on the big screen. But if you didn’t, grab a friend or two, open your snacks before pressing “play,” and strap in. John Krasinski’s directorial debut is full of suspense, but it’s PG-13 for a reason: The whole crew (minus younger kids) can enjoy this one. Plus, poignant family moments that you never saw coming add a whole other layer of meaning. ~ Katie Eubanks

(Rated PG-13 for “terror and some bloody images,” the latter of which are brief.)


“The Hate U Give”

This movie gave an inside perspective on how people view race relations. ~ Kari Thomas


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“Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’”
by Zora Neale Hurston

This posthumously published book is made up mostly of one man talking — but what a story he tells. The last living survivor of the last known slave ship that came to America talks about his life in Africa; the five and a half years he spent as a slave until the Civil War ended; and the community he and others carved out for themselves in Africatown, Alabama. Hurston interviewed Oluale Kossula — who changed his name to Cudjo Lewis so his slave master could pronounce it — in 1930. Viking wouldn’t publish the book unless Hurston toned down Kossula’s “vernacular,” and she refused. Now, nearly 90 years later, we can finally read about this man’s remarkable life. ~ Katie Eubanks


by Michelle Obama

Because of her message of hope for young girls. ~ Carol Burger


“Believe It”
by Nick Foles

He was the No. 2 quarterback for the Eagles. The No. 1 quarterback got hurt so Nick had to take his place. No one had any faith that he could do the job. He took them and won the Super Bowl! It was all God and he gives him the glory. ~ Janet Franklin


“Heavy: An American Memoir”
by Kiese Laymon


His memoir is one of the best I’ve ever read and reminds me of so many of the students I encounter daily. It also gave me fire to keep doing what I do serving youth in the community. ~ Tonja Murphy


“It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength
When Disappointments Leave You Shattered”
by Lysa Terkeurst

God has been teaching me a lot about disappointment this year and this book is THE BEST there is on it! ~ Kelly Sayle



My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food”
by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

My favorite that I read this year was Lidia Bastianich’s memoir, “My American Dream.” She is a chef and it’s her life story of coming to America and her career. ~ Barbara Harris DeShane


“One Blood: Parting Words to the Church On Race”
by John Perkins

He challenges the (in some cases, willful) ignorance of people, as well as those who knowingly propagate and promote lies about divisions within society and the Body of Christ — solely based upon the skin color of people. He challenges, even dispels the myth and lie that has been used as a tool by Satan to divide and keep us suspicious of one another — that God has preferences based upon the melanoma of our skin — which has allowed certain groups to think themselves superior and others subordinate. It speaks truth in that while there is only one race, the human race, we are many tongues, nations and ethnic groups with gifts and talents intended to glorify God and edify one another. The book gives credibility to the fact that we are one body with many parts, each needing one another to bring health to the “community” as a whole. ~ Larry Nicks


“The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide
to Resolving Personal Conflict”
by Ken Sande

I really love this book. It helps me to understand how to resolve a dispute in biblical ways without taking sides. ~ Mlungisi Sibandze


“We Were the Lucky Ones”
by Georgia Hunter

A memoir written by the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, it’s a depiction of family from the writings and storytelling of the author’s family members. Hunter presents the book with historical nuances and personal tragedy and triumph. ~ Kim Parrish