Sunday school teachers may find this useful to supplement their students’ knowledge of the Reformation.



The story of the 16th-century German monk and the start of the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther’s life and work are presented as the origin of the modern social justice movement. Archival portraits, maps, and documents on glossy pages play a prominent role in this attractive book. Some design elements are problematic, however. A decorative initial “F” is easily mistaken for an “E,” making the line “Fast. Pray. Work” one that’s easy to stumble over: is it “East. Pray. Work”? “Eat. Pray. Work”? Short sentences and simple narrative suggest a young audience, yet the vocabulary—theology, heresy, edict, recant—assumes a working knowledge of church history, implying an older audience. Some clunky phrasing (possibly due to the translation) could lead to misinterpretation: of Lutheranism’s spread around the world, Elschner states that “as ships reached the coast of North America emigrants founded the first communities, many with Protestant churches.” A transition from Luther’s life to contemporary times is achieved somewhat awkwardly by equating Luther’s posting of his 95 theses with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, notwithstanding the possibly greater influence of Gandhi on King’s activism. Perhaps in an effort to make the Reformation feel relevant to modern readers, this biography opens with the words “Here is where it all began” and ends with “The name of Martin Luther lives on, now doubled, and continues to travel across borders.”

Sunday school teachers may find this useful to supplement their students’ knowledge of the Reformation. (Biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-988-8341-34-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.



The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A warm and inspirational holiday tale.



Petronelli offers an illustrated children’s book about a Christmas miracle.

After helping with decorating her home in the foothill village of Shiloh on Christmas Eve, 10-year-old Stephanie joins her father on the porch to drink hot chocolate and eat the last morsels of blueberry pie. She asks her father why a mountain near their home is called Faith Hill. He tells the story of how the name came to be 40 years ago, after a severe drought left no Christmas trees in Shiloh. However, on the other side of the mountain, Reidsville had plenty of water and plenty of Christmas trees. A law prevented any sharing of Reidsville’s resources, so from opposite directions, two groups of boys independently set out on a dangerous hike to get a tree for Shiloh. A nor’easter suddenly engulfed both groups of boys, and they had to stop and keep warm to survive. Then a man named Joshua miraculously appeared and brought both sets of boys to his nearby cabin and shared that the “true meaning of Christmas was giving and helping others.” He produces a red-and-green-painted box whose contents lead to a miracle. Over the course of this children’s book, Petronelli weaves a Christian-themed holiday tale that offers no hint of the ending, which is indeed a surprise, and will have young readers rooting for the boys as they try to save Christmas for Shiloh. Joshua comes across as a delightful Santa Claus-like character. Pritchett’s full-color, painterly illustrations are soft and muted with a pleasant glow that adds to the book’s overall charm. The illustrations portray mostly White characters, with a few people of color.

A warm and inspirational holiday tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73748-551-3

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Walnut Ridge Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2022

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