In the midst of attending a children’s dance camp this summer, Sarah Beth (age 7) returned home to pronounce, “That’s so good, it’s like you’re one of the saints.” Nearly the same day, she asked, “Why do people draw Mary with things coming out of her head?” These comments awakened me to my responsibility to give my young daughters a biblical understanding of church history. I began searching around and these are a few of the more helpful resources that I found: Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World, by Paul L. Maier
This beautifully-illustrated book helps children understand the difference between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – specifically why Luther and other Reformers felt biblically constrained to break from Rome. Recommended to read aloud to ages 5 and up.
This series divides up church history into short stories based around significant historical figures. The books can be read aloud to children as young as five years old. (On the back, the books say they are written for children ages 9-14.) My seven-year old loves to act out stories, so after reading the story of (Saint) Patrick, we acted out the story ourselves. She played the role of Patrick. As her slave owner, I questioned her, “Who is this God you serve? Tell me more about him!” “Home theater” of this sort is a great way to get your child to verbalize the gospel while coming to value the heroes and heroines of the faith.
Each of these books gives ten short stories about boys or girls who grew up to live as faithful Christians and have a significant impact on the world. (Books are titled: Ten Girls Who Made a Difference, Ten Girls Who Didn’t Give In, Ten Boys Who Changed the World, etc.) In attempt to relate to the intended readership, the books begin with the famous individual’s childhood. Books are written for ages 8-12. Recently, on a visit to the local history museum, Sarah Beth bought a coloring book entitled, “Famous Women of the Civil War.” I realized my need to help provide her with the stories of Christian heroines that she could look up to – and thus I bought the Lightkeeper Girls Boxed Set. So far, she seems to enjoy them.
This book is organized around a great idea – providing a brief introduction to 26 major figures in church history (one for each letter of the alphabet). The book is nicely illustrated and there are helpful additional notes for parents/teachers in the back. My children have enjoyed this book, but the information on each historical figure is so limited that I have been disappointed in this work’s limited value. Young children seem to learn best through story, and this book does not provide enough memorable narrative in my opinion.