This visually appealing introduction to Paul and his writing can serve as a useful starting point to help young readers...

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PAUL WRITES (A LETTER)

Caldecott Medalist Raschka examines the writings of the Apostle Paul, an early missionary of Christianity, with this interpretation of some selected words from his epistles.

A brief first page introduces Paul and his belief in the teachings of Jesus, but that is the only mention of Jesus, and God is never mentioned in the book. The book’s attractive design includes a double-page spread for each of the 14 books of the New Testament of the Christian Bible traditionally attributed to Paul. Each spread is structured as a letter, offering Paul’s advice from the relevant book on how to live a good life. As these recommendations do not specifically refer to Jesus or God, it is not clear from the text that Paul was spreading the new religion of Christianity in his letters. The text consists of a few short quotes from each book, rephrased and condensed, with pertinent chapter and verse references at the bottoms of the pages. While many of the rephrased quotations are familiar passages, other widely known verses attributed to Paul are not included, such as the famous words from 1 Corinthians often read at weddings. The words of Paul are hand-lettered in pleasing arrangements, with related elements such as palm trees and columns integrated within the text and a view of Paul on each spread in the act of writing his letters. Raschka’s loose watercolor illustrations show Paul as an aged man with brown skin and a white beard on the front and back covers; internal illustrations show him in different solid, pastel shades.

This visually appealing introduction to Paul and his writing can serve as a useful starting point to help young readers understand a key figure in the spread of Christianity. (map) (Picture book/religion. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5494-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A well-intentioned book that does not successfully grapple with the complexity and challenge of its subject matter.

COURAGEOUS WORLD CHANGERS

50 TRUE STORIES OF DARING WOMEN OF GOD

Redmond introduces readers to Christian women from all over the world who made an impact on society.

Well-known political activists, athletes, missionaries, and many more are included along with various other strong and brave women who are less known, such as Ni Kwei-Tseng Soong and Christine Caine. Each of these 50 women has a dedicated spread, with a full-page illustration on recto and text on verso that provides readers with a brief history of her childhood. With this background, readers can understand how each woman has come to be celebrated. In each minibiography, the subject is quoted testifying to God’s presence and influence in her life. While a book dedicated to empowered Christian women is enlightening to read, it portrays all of these women uncomplicatedly as heroes. The view of missionary work it presents is outdated and biased, betraying a fundamental lack of cultural respect and appreciation, a point inadvertently driven home in the profile of Narcissa Whitman, a white woman who, as she wrote, worked for the “salvation” of “benighted [American] Indians.” Probably unsurprisingly, the entry on Pocahontas (depicted in a skimpy buckskin dress) does not acknowledge the traditional Powhatan counternarrative that she was kidnapped and raped rather than voluntarily converting to Christianity.

A well-intentioned book that does not successfully grapple with the complexity and challenge of its subject matter. (Collective biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7734-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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An exciting and thought-provoking evocation of a strong, brave young woman.

A FEARLESS LEADER

A BIBLE STORY ABOUT DEBORAH

From the Called and Courageous Girls series

In a retelling of the story of Deborah taken from the Hebrew Bible, she emerges as thoughtful and trustworthy, with God’s words to guide her.

While on a hill overlooking her village, Deborah spots an army of chariots. She and her friends bravely rush to warn the villagers in time to escape. King Jabin, his general, Sisera, and his men destroy the village, but the people, including Deborah’s family, escape. The army continues to attack villages throughout the land, maintaining a reign of terror. Deborah definitely has God on her side, as he speaks directly to her, telling her that she has been chosen to lead her people to freedom. On God’s instructions the battle is joined with Deborah and the soldier Barak in the lead and with God’s intervention in the form of lightning, pouring rain, and floods. With their bravery and that of the Israelites, freedom is achieved. The authors employ accessible and poetic language to tell the tale, with careful attention to the characters and details as they appear in the Bible and with particular emphasis on Deborah’s faith in God. Elwell’s strongly hued illustrations capture the texture, light, action, and power of the tale. Deborah and the Israelites are depicted with dark hair and eyes and deep-toned swarthy skin color.

An exciting and thought-provoking evocation of a strong, brave young woman. (questions, author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7371-7

Page Count: 49

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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