I said to the Lord, “Your are my Master!
Human beings love to have heroes. We’re just built for it. Our need for heroism is truly the only way to explain the obsession grown men have with other men dressed in spandex, swinging from tall buildings. …Right?
The heroes we pick for ourselves can be silly - damaging, even. OR, our heroes can inspire, edify and direct us. What better than to learn about men and women who have lived lives sold out for Jesus Christ? Hebrews 12:1,2 says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Our children are running a race for Jesus. It’s important for them to know that they don’t run alone, and that others have crossed the finish line, having run well.
There are a few wonderful middle grade book series we’ve found that share these heroes of the Christian faith with kids:
Dave and Neta Jackson’s “Trailblazer Books” (ages 8-12; Bethany House Publishers) are historical fiction that introduce children to real historical figures from the viewpoint fo fictional children. They’re fun, they’re exciting, and the kids learn about someone who loved Jesus.
Christian Focus 4 Kids’ “Trailblazers” (ages 9-14) are exciting biographies with fictionalized dialogue. They’re wonderful!
“Torchbearers” (also Christian Focus 4 Kids; ages 8-11) is a fictionalized biography series covering the lives of Christian martyrs. These are some exciting books… I enjoyed them greatly (and I’m not 11!).
Janet and Geoff Benge have two series: “Christian Heroes: Then and Now” and “Heroes of History” (ages 10+; YWAM Publishing). These are fascinating biographies with dialogue.
Don’t let the target ages concern you too much. I’ve read these aloud to my younger children, and I’ve enjoyed reading them myself. These are four series truly worth owning.
Truly, rather than continuing to debate what our children shouldn’t be reading, let’s start investing in some quality material that they can read. These books fit that bill: they’re inspiring, they’re edifying, they’re encouraging.
Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.