This great little book is part of a 10 book series by Irene Howat, each one takes 10 Christians and looks at how God used them for his glory and sharing of the gospel. They are a great introduction to the wonder of reading Christian biographies and brilliant way to introduce even the youngest to some of the great names who have gone before us.
10 boys who changed the world has a particular focus on boys who grew up to become men who saw the gospel they proclaimed transform cultures and situations around the world. From William Carey and David Livingstone to George Müller and Billy Graham.
The mini biographies are carefully crafted to keep young readers, or listeners, engaged. Each opens with a story from the childhood of the great man of God, which helps to captivate the imagination of a child with something they might be able to relate to, I thought was particularly helpful given how ‘other worldly’ the rest of their lives often appear. From dashing round dining room, to falling in mud and being more interested in football than school, these figures of Christian history and made personal and alive through Irene’s clever retelling of their lives. And from these starting points unfold 10 high pace adventures.
I also enjoyed the way that Irene retained a good sense of reality in these mini biographies. Given all the great things these “boys who changed the world” did, it would have been easy to remove any sense of hardship or challenge from their lives, to have sanitised them and overlooked the difficulties they faced. But Irene hasn’t in the few pages each biography is given you really get a true sense of the person, their joys and successes, their relationship with God and also their struggles, the times it all went wrong, the times they were sad and thought they might give up. All of this goes a long way to show the realities of following Jesus and helps to make the gospel even more marvellous.
After each of the 10 biographies there is a short section to help you think and consider the life you have just read about. Irene gives four headings each time. Fact File: this paragraph helps shed some light on an aspect of the story that might not be clear to a younger reader, such as what Communism is or how cotton is grown.
- Keynote: this is essentially a summary of the story and the one thing the author wants her readers to remember.
- Think: this section is particularly poignant as it draws the reader from the story of then to the life they live today.
- Prayer: a short reflective prayer that asks God to help the reader the to take on board and live out an aspect of gospel living seen in the life they have just read about.
The addition of these sections to the book is a wonderful addition to this book. It really helps to reinforce that these stories and the lives they speak about are not just a dusty truths from the past but something that can speak to us today.
Overall this book and the others in the series are brilliant. A great way to get older children to start reading Christian biographies themselves or an easy way of sharing the lives of Christian heroes with those not yet able to read for themselves.
We‘ve got the whole set and are looking forward to our son hearing the stories and taking on board what they teach him, if you’re still looking for Christmas presents for the younger members of the family look no further!
Chris Watts – UK Communications Manager