Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes

My children and I have just finished reading Hero Tales by Dave and Neta Jackson for our morning devotions. This inspiring book has prompted many meaningful discussions over breakfast and on the way to school. The book gives an overview of the lives of 45 Christian heroes, and highlights three character attributes exemplified by each hero. Each attribute is covered in a separate, brief story, followed by a description of the attribute, a corresponding Bible verse, and "Let's Talk About It," which lists three discussion questions.

The list of heroes is quite diverse, spanning centuries and continents, and includes missionaries, evangelists, preachers and Bible translators. We read lots of historical information, as well as interesting anecdotes about people such as Harriet Tubman, D.L. Moody, Amy Carmichael, Martin Luther, Hudson Taylor, and William Tyndale.

The Jacksons do a fabulous job integrating historical facts and lessons about character. We learn about trust, repentance, forgiveness, creativity, dedication, and mercy, to name a few. The last question in "Let's Talk About It" is always a personal question, asking children to apply what they are learning to their own lives and relationship with God.

Each chapter includes a brown and white sketch of the person featured.

What I Like: I love the way the Jacksons present historical information and set the stories in context, while still making them exciting and appealing to children. My kids would often remind me to do devotions or be disappointed if we ran out of time. They always wanted to know "what happens next?"

I also appreciate the skillful way the character attributes were worked into the stories. Reading about these heroes' lives was inspiring, but not heavy-handed or didactic. For example, in the story of African missionary, Samuel Morris, we read, "Encouragement helps others do more than they think they can do." The verse is Hebrews 10:25, "You should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day approaching." The last question in this story is "Tell about a time when someone encouraged you to do more than you thought you could do."

What I Dislike: The only complaint I have is the book is heavily slanted towards Protestant heroes. While state churches of several denominations are implicitly criticized, the Roman Catholic church is only mentioned in terms of reforms needed or abuses committed. I wish the Jacksons would have included a couple of Catholic heroes, such as Pope John Paul II or Mother Theresa, in an effort to be more well-rounded.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 6-12

Publisher Info: Bethany House Publishers, 1996; ISBN: 978-0-7642-0078-6; Paperback, $14.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $11.99

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $10.19.



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1 comment:

Kristina Seleshanko said...

This sounds like an awesome book!