Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Simonetta Carr has written a series of "Christian Biographies for Young Readers." This book, as the title suggests, introduces children (and their parents) to Athanasius, the Father of Orthodoxy, a key figure in church history.

The book begins with Athanasius as a child and details how he came to be mentored by the bishop Alexander. Alexander was a defender of the deity of Jesus Christ while others within the Roman Empire taught otherwise. Emperor Constantine, desiring peace within the church, called a special meeting of bishops. This led to the composition of the Nicene Creed. Unfortunately, however, it did not lead to peace.

Upon Alexander's death, Athanasius was named bishop in his place. He almost immediately came under persecution, both for his position (he was young to be a bishop and did not do all things the same as his predecessors) and his convictions (that Jesus was fully God and fully man). The conflict spread throughout the Roman Empire, both in political and religious circles, and often incited violence. Athanasius lived in and out of exile. He was forced into hiding on more than one occasion. Through it all, he remained true to his understanding of God's Word and the truth of the Trinity.

Athanasius was the author of several books, writings still considered crucial in Christian literature and accurate doctrine. He wrote about the incarnation, the deity of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit and affirmed all 27 books of the New Testament commonly recognized today.

At the back of the book, readers find a timeline of Athanasius's life, a "Did you know?" section of interesting facts and a complete copy of The Nicene Creed.

The book features images of various style and medium. Paintings by Matt Abraxas offer lots of color and high contrast. The book also includes representations of historical works of art (paintings, drawings and sculptures), maps and photographs of architecture, specific places and artifacts.

What I Like: I love history and believe that church history is neglected far too often! This is a wonderful series of books that highlights persons who played key parts in the formation of church and doctrine. This one, in particular, is critical in church history. I like that the book starts with Athanasius as a child. This draws kids into the story quicker, and lets them know that they, too, can do big things for God right now. They don't have to wait to grow up to serve Him. I love that Athanasius continued to send people back to the Bible and back to truth. This teaches kids that to test all teachings against God's Word.

What I Dislike: My kids (on the lowest end of the target audience) aren't particularly attracted to this book. They like the photographs and maps, but struggled to sit through a reading. The illustrations are highly skilled, but a bit too dark for my taste, and the text, while accurate and informative, proved difficult for my kids to follow.

Overall Rating: Very Good, but best for the older set within the 8-12 age group.

Publisher Info: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011; ISBN: 1601781512; Hardback; 88 pages; $18.00

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $13.99!
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $18.00.

Special Info: Read our reviews of other biographies for Christian children.

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