Recently we were asked, by Christian Focus for Kids, if we would like to review this book:
Turns out we would really like to review this book!!! It is the third book in a fabulous looking series of five books called History Lives. In this series they cover the history of the Christian church in a way that is easy for kids to read (recommended age 9-14) and understand. To be honest my understanding of the Reformation was from a history lesson when I was in grade 9, and perhaps a paragraph was read aloud about a man named Martin Luther. I wanted to explore some church history with my kids this summer because during the summer we have time to tackle topics that we don’t typically cover during the school year.
So we settled in and immediately I noticed that this was not your typical book on a historical topic… It is not the dry “this happened and then that happened and then the next thing happened…” This book takes you through the topic by introducing key persons along the route… by meeting the people you have a much clearer understanding of life during those times. We all love meeting people and reading about their lives – their trials and tribulations… and this book draws you in to find out more and read on about the rich lives of these men and women… You will read about how one man found a wife, how another refused to deny his belief… the queen who, afraid as she was, considering that she was the sixth wife in a long line of wives… was tenacious enough to keep on talking to the king about the reform.
Let’s take a look at the folk you will meet as you travel through this book… each chapter brings a personal story about these folk, providing a hook onto which to pin knowledge and make it so much easier to remember “who was who” and “who did what”:
- Desiderius Erasmus
- Martin Luther
- Menno simmons
- John Calvin
- Katherine Parr
- Thomas Cranmer
- John Knox
- Jeanne d’Albret
- William Bradford
- Samuel Rutherford
- John Bunyan
- John Eliot
In between the biographical chapters are snippets on happenings around the world at that time, what was happening in science and art, and world exploration. These snippets place the biographies into perspective and provide a deeper understanding of the events surrounding the reformation. This is not a quick read, it requires a certain amount of digesting!!! As a family we have managed a chapter a day – we didn’t ever want to end mid-chapter, they were just too interesting. But each chapter was complete in itself and it was easy to take a break from the book and think about what we had read more carefully. The book also contains a useful map and a timeline includes world events relevant to the Reformation.
I don’t want you to think, just because we used it for school, that this isn’t a great book to read for fun… I noticed that when I wasn’t reading the book my three oldest readers took it off and devoured it! The chapters are long, my bravest beginner reader (age 7 so under the recommended age) did not wish to tackle it, but in this instant long means far from uninteresting!!! The chapters are long because these stories must be told!!! It is a lively read and historically interesting to meet the folk from all walks of life who made such a huge difference to the church and what it is today. Men and women who gave up everything so that we can have the Bible and enjoy our christian walk today.
The fabulous thing about these books is that they have all become available on the Kindle which is so brilliant, it means you can start reading them just as soon as you buy them.
We were not paid for this review, which is our honest opinion of the book, but once again, we would like to thank you to CF4K, for giving us this book to review.