Monday, 7 September 2015

Church History for Children

We've used these books to introduce some Church History to our children when they were about 8  years old and up. Some of them I read aloud but they are all suitable for children to read on their own. Moozle (10 years old) has just finished going through all the Louise Vernon titles again recently. Vernon's books are fictional but they are mostly set in the time of the Reformation and introduce the great events and people of Church History in a way children can understand and relate to. There are twelve books that I know of, illustrated every now and then with black ink, and they are on average about 125 pages in length. Here are a few that have been well read in our home:

Ink on His Fingers

An exciting story centred around the printing of the first Bible after Johann Gutenberg's invention of moveable type in the 1450's.

The Man Who Laid the Egg

The story of Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) who has been called the intellectual father of the Reformation, seen through the eyes of a young apprentice.

'Erasmus laid the egg, and Luther hatched it.'

Thunderstorm in the Church

Martin Luther seen through the eyes of his son. 'Through Han's eyes you will learn to know Martin Luther - not only as the great Reformer-preacher, but also as a father with a sense of humor and as a friend.'

A Heart Strangely Warmed

Young Robert Upton was peddling his father's goods when he meets John Wesley, a fiery little man who is preaching on the streets of London. Heend Wesley's meetings and gradually Robert begins to understand Wesley's message and feels like Wesley described in his Journal below, that his heart is strangely warmed.'

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

Other books by Louise Vernon which are all good and cover some lesser known aspects of Church History are:

The Beggar's Bible (JohnWycliffe)
The Bible Smuggler (William Tyndale)
 Key to the Prison (George Fox & the Quakers)
The King's Book ( The King James Bible translation)
Peter & the Pilgrims (English Separatists & Pilgrims)
Night Preacher (Menno Simons)
The Secret Church (Anabaptists)
Strangers in the Land (Huguenots)
And one which we haven't read, and don't have - Doctor in Rags (Paracelsus & the Hutterites) 

The River of Grace by Joyce McPherson 

Published by Greenleaf Press and 171 pages, this is one of the rare biographies of John Calvin written for young people. I've read a couple of the author's other books and thought they were very well written and I appreciate that McPherson brings history alive but also illustrates how Western Civilization has been influenced by the Christian worldview. I also like the quotes at the beginning of each chapter:

'Ambition deludes men so much that by its sweetness it not only intoxicates but drives them mad.'
John Calvin

Augustine: The Farmer Boy of Tagaste by P. De Zeeuw 

A short, engaging biography of Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) this little book (93 pages) would be interesting for anyone, adult or child, to learn about the wonderful story of Augustine's conversion to Christianity and the faithfulness of a mother who never gave up praying for her reprobate son. 

In the farthest corner under a fig tree he fell to his face, and panting, full of hesitation, Augustine uttered his first real prayer: "How long? Oh, how long? Tomorrow? Always tomorrow, why not right away? Why can I not put a stop to this sinful life right away?"

But listen-what was that? The garden next door was separated from him by a wall, and from behind that wall came the voice of a girl singing, "Tolle, lege," which meant "Take, read!'

...He jumped up from the ground and went to the bench...There were the Epistles of Paul, which Alypius had taken with him into the garden. Augustine picked them up, and the first words he read hit him like lightning.



Annie Kate said...

We love these too! Thanks for reminding me. Have you seen Simonetta Carr's great church history books? I know you would enjoy them as well. They are nominally for the same age range, but even adults learn from and enjoy them. I've reviewed many of them on my blog.

Carol said...

I've seen one or two of her books advertised but they are so expensive here - $30 each. I just saw that her bios include people such as Anselm which I hadn't seen before. I'd be tempted to get that one.

Catie said...

Oh man! Thanks for this list! :) We started Trial and Triumph last year in AO Year 1, but I decided to drop it this year and pick it up again next year. These look like a great alternative and I've never heard of them before, so thank you! :)

Betsy said...

These look like wonderful books! We have Bible Smuggler, but I didn't realize there were so many others. I can't wait to collect some more of these!

Carol said...

You're welcome, Catie

Carol said...


Unknown said...

We've read through many of these over the years! They're wonderful books. :-)

Tina at said...

This is a wonderful post with a lot of books I've never heard of. I'm pinning it and will be returning to it often! Thanks for being a part of Booknificent Thursday this week!

Nat said...

Dear Carol. We are doing Trial and Triumph. Thanks. Nat

Carol said...

We’ve used that also, Nat. 🙂