Saturday, September 8, 2012

Breaking Through by Grace: The Bono Story

As a mom who has her computer screensaver set to a U2 concert photo, how could I not love Kim Washburn's book, Breaking Through by Grace:  The Bono Story? One of several modern biographies published by Zonderkidz, Breaking Through by Grace begins with Bono's growing up years, and continues through the band's most recent concert tour.

Washburn writes in a friendly, conversational style, so kids can relate easily. First, she draws them in by describing U2's 2002 Super Bowl halftime performance. Then, she explains Bono's childhood in working-class Dublin, Ireland. Not only does Washburn write about Bono's journey from music appreciation to famous musician, she also writes about Bono's faith journey.  

Bono did not start out life as a musical prodigy. Rather, he was a frustrated young man, whose enthusiasm and love for music eclipsed his talent. However, when Larry Mullen Jr, (U2's drummer) put up signs at school looking for bandmates, Bono (then Paul Hewson) was one of the first to respond. Bono's passion for writing lyrics quickly became a healthy, creative outlet.  Songwriting helped Hewson deal with his mother's death, his father's strict parenting, and his questions about God.  Soon, his songs became prayers and began to resonate with listeners.

As U2's fame and fortune grew and Bono's faith matured, he sought ways to use his influence to make a difference in the world.  Early in the band's career, Bono and his wife, Ali, traveled to Africa with World Vision, and were moved when a man asked them to adopt his son, in order for him to live. Whether on a secret trip to Africa, or influencing politicians at the White House or economic summits, Bono still strives to follow Jesus' example of caring for the poor.

What I Like:  Since the band has always been my favorite, I was thrilled to see a book for kids explaining their powerful, intelligent music, and the way they have used their gifts to serve God, as well.

I like the way Washburn shows how an ordinary kid with lots of challenges can respond to a dream and be used by God.  I also like the fact Washburn spends as much time talking about Bono's faith and humanitarian efforts as U2's famous musical career.

Washburn includes many fun photos highlighting changes in the band over time.

What I Dislike:  Every now and again, Washburn switches from past to present tense, and back, within the same section. Her intent is probably to make the action more immediate for readers, but it is confusing, nonetheless.

Also, this isn't a dislike, but I don't know whether readers would be interested in the book unless they (or their parents) are fans of the band. 

Overall Rating:  Excellent if you like the band, Very Good otherwise

Age Appeal:  8 and up

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-310-72123-9; Paperback, 144 pages, $6.99

Buy it Now at for $5.99
OR Buy it at for $6.99.

Special Note:  Click here to check out other biographies by Kim Washburn we have reviewed.

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