Friday, April 29, 2011

Hero of Faith books

My children enjoy reading, but it is challenging to find books on their level about faithful men and women who share our beliefs.  I see value in reading about people of varying faiths and backgrounds, but I especially want to introduce them to others who share our Lutheran faith and heritage.  The new Hero of Faith series  from Concordia Publishing House enables me to do just that. The Hero of Faith series introduces children to important men and women of faith who have made lasting contributions to the Lutheran Church.

Profiled in the series are: C.F.W.Walther, Katharina von Bora, Rosa Young and Johann Sebastian Bach.  Some of these names maybe familiar to you while others are not.

C.F.W.Walther was a young pastor who came to the United States from Germany and would go on to be the first president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and its Seminary as well as pastor of four churches. He did not have an easy life and faced many struggles and heartbreaks personally and professionally.  Yet through it all he remained faithful to His Lord and calling.

Katharina von Bora was the wife of Dr Martin Luther, the German reformer.  It is from him that the Lutheran church took its name, although this was not his desire. The reader learns of her life in the convent as well as Dr Luther's wife and the challenges she faced before and after his death.

Rosa Young was a black woman from Alabama with the great desire for her own education and to educate other black young people.  She was influential in opening and maintaining Lutheran schools, congregations, and a college in Alabama.   She was a pioneer in education, but more importantly in Christian Education.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a famous German musician whose music we still enjoy today.  While he was orphaned at an early age, he used his talents and abilities to serve others and glorify God through music.

Each book is paperback book is  52-59 pages long and includes several chapters detailing the subjects entire life.  Chapters vary in length from 4 to 12 pages. The texts also place each person into the historical context of  their time in an engaging, non dry manner.  A lot of information is shared yet each author keeps it interesting and moving.  Each book also includes a time line of the subjects life and significant world and US events. Two of the books have maps showing locations which are significant to the subject and text. There are many full color pictures throughout all the books.  Not actual photos, but they remind me of detailed water color paintings.

You can find more information about each of these books by visiting Concordia Publishing House's website. The direct link for each book can be obtained by clicking on the highlighted name.

My Thoughts

I have enjoyed reading all four of the books and will definitely encourage both of my children to read them.  My 7 year old could read most of the books on his own, but I have a feeling he would struggle with some of the proper nouns.  For this reason I will need to sit with him when he reads, but he will certainly be interested.  My 10 year old daughter is looking forward to reading them. She was so excited to see them in the bookstore and wanted to purchase them right away.

I am so happy to have these simplified, yet substantial biographies available to share with my children.  With the exception of Bach, there are not many resources available about these people of faith which are at a young persons comprehension level.  Many of the Bach resources do not highlight his faith, rather just his musical accomplishments. While these books are uncomplicated to read the present a lot of information and do so in a way that is respectful of the reader no matter what their age. They teach a lot without boring the reader and causing the book to be set aside.

All of this being said I do wish all the books included maps of locations. Only the Walther and Bach books have maps showing locations from the text. Having a map handy in the same volume makes it so much easier to look up places while reading the book without having to drag out another resource.

The Bach book has vocabulary words highlighted with a glossary at the end. This would have been great for the other books also, especially the von Bora book, as some of the terms particularly relating to the convent maybe new to younger readers.

When you go to the website to read more details about each book you will see a box on the left which says this book is included in the 5th grade level religion curriculum.  Do not be turned off by this if your children are not 5th grade age.  I believe they could easily be read by younger children, particularly if they are strong readers, and enjoyed by older children as well.   They would also make lovely family read alouds.  They do not have to be used with the curriculum materials.  Each book is independent of each other and needs no additional resources to be beneficial.

My husband is employed by Concordia Publishing House. I  received a copy of each of these 4 books to read, share with my children, and use to write this piece.   All of the above opinions are solely my own and I have not been compensated in any other way for this writing.

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