Monday, December 12, 2016

Martin Luther

The year 1517 is widely considered the start of the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther penned his 95 theses and nailed them to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral.  Since next year will be the 500th anniversary of this momentous occasion, you can expect a lot of attention to Martin Luther in the coming months. It's fitting, then, that Simonetta Carr, author of the excellent Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, has released her tenth title on this Reformer.

You don't have to look far to find a decent biography of Luther. I've watched some on YouTube, listened to countless sermons and lectures available online, read books, and even listened to audiobooks. With so many resources available, what does Simonetta Carr have to offer? Plenty.

First, her biography on Luther is a high-quality work in it's own right. It's a durable hardcover that, when combined with other titles in her series, looks beautiful on a bookshelf. The beauty only starts with the cover. Inside on each of its wide pages are period artwork, historical maps, photos of important places, and Troy Howell's fantastic illustrations of moments from Luther's life. They constantly remind readers that these events really happened to real people. My kids always seem more surprised by reality than by fiction, and their genuine interest and surprise at hearing these facts for the first time always gives me the joy of seeing their wonder.

The writing is aimed at children in the 7-12 age range, but even my 5-year-old stays interested as I read to her and show her the pictures. Carr does not whitewash Luther's history, though she does reserve the more negative information about Luther (such as his harsh language and verbal attacks against the Jews) for the Did you know? section at the end of the book. Given the scope of the book and it's size, it's not surprising that Carr didn't dwell on the more controversial moments of Luther's life.

I wish I had read more biographies when I was a kid. Actually, I wish I had read more, period. As a Christian parent, I want my kids to learn about my faith, and I pray that one day they will embrace it as their own. By sharing these biographies with them, they learn not only from my example, but from the examples of believers throughout history.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

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