Katie Luther: The Graphic Novel: Mother of the Reformation by Susan K. Leigh

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Title: Katie Luther: The Graphic Novel: Mother of the Reformation by Susan K. Leigh

Premise:

Katie Luther was a former nun and the wife of the chief architect of the Reformation, Martin Luther.  This book talks about her childhood, her time in the convent, and her life after leaving the convent.  She worked tirelessly beside Martin Luther to care for her family and allow Martin to focus on his work with the church.

My thoughts:

If you’ve read the graphic novel from Concordia called Martin Luther: Echoes of the Hammer, you’ll notice a lot of similarities between these two books.  Some of the illustrations are the same, as well as the information about Martin Luther which is pertinent to both stories.

Katie took her vows as a nun at age sixteen.  She later read some of Martin Luther’s writings and started to question the accepted church doctrine of the time.  Martin Luther actually helped facilitate the escape of Katie and several other nuns from the convent where they resided.  Katie helped manage a couple of households before she and Martin married and started their own family life.  She worked tirelessly to provide for her family, keep their large home provisioned and cared for, hosted many guests and students, and opened her home as a hospital when the plague swept through.  Martin Luther’s work would not have been so successful without the support and unsung labors of his wife which allowed him to focus on the work of the Reformation.  Like its companion book, this one is not without bias.  However, it focuses more on Katie’s role than on the disputes between the Protestant and Catholic churches.

I recommend Katie Luther: Mother of the Reformation to kids who want to learn about the Reformation and those who contributed to its success.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Luther: The Graphic Novel: Echoes of the Hammer by Susan K. Leigh

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Title: Luther: The Graphic Novel: Echoes of the Hammer by Susan K. Leigh

Premise:

Martin Luther becomes an Augustinian monk, under the leadership of the Catholic church.  When he starts studying the Bible for himself, he comes to question some of the church’s teachings.  Luther seeks reform within the Catholic church to return to a form of worship and practices which more closely mirror that of the early church.  Eventually he is excommunicated and ends up being a very important contributor to the Reformation.

My thoughts:

This is a dense graphic novel!  It includes a lot of Luther’s timeline and other facts which have a bearing on his story, so it can feel more like textbook reading than a comic book at times.  Even though the interest factor wanes a bit when they have to provide some deeper explanations, I think they did a fair job of balancing the action with the information.  The illustrations were very nicely done, too.

The story of Luther’s life was quite interesting.  I didn’t remember much about what he accomplished, except that he translated the Bible into German so that everyday people would have access to it.  I think this is an excellent book to introduce young people to Luther’s life, but it is not without bias.  I noticed a few statements when the author inserts their personal opinion into the narrative, instead of just sharing the facts.  I’m not too surprised though, since the book is published by Concordia.

I recommend Luther: Echoes of the Hammer to parents who want to introduce their kids to the history of Martin Luther and the Reformation.  Personally, I would talk with my kids about the fact that the book is a bit biased.  It’s good for kids to be able to identify when opinion is being presented as fact.  😉

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

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Title: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Premise:

What will happen when the Christmas pageant is infiltrated by the Herdmans, the town’s most unruly and notorious kids?  Hilarity and the most unique retelling of the Nativity story you’ve ever witnessed!  Their unique take on the story ends up producing the best Christmas pageant the town has ever seen.

My thoughts:

My son and I just finished reading this book together for school and it was an absolute hoot!  We laughed so much at all of the Herdmans’ antics–Imogene as a hoop earring-wearing, cigar-smoking Mary, and Gladys as an Angel of the Lord who yells at the shepherds and stomps on their feet.  Though these kids may be lacking in the finer points of politeness, they latch right onto the Christmas story and internalize its true meaning.

If you’re really particular about not letting your kids read books with children who misbehave, this may not be the book for you.  The Herdmans smoke cigars, hit people, burn down a shed, steal and generally act “naughty.”  Their behavior isn’t glorified, though, so I’m not afraid of my kids following their example.

Throughout the book there’s a smattering of drawings which help bring extra life and humor to the story.  The picture of Imogene smoking in the ladies room while she’s dressed up as Mary is just priceless.

I recommend The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to children and families to enjoy together during Christmas.  It’s our family’s favorite Christmas read aloud!

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters: A Children’s Guide to the Old & New Testament by Garrett Romines & Christopher Miko

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I spotted The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters at the library and had to bring it home to check it out.  My boys are very into Minecraft, as I’m sure many other kids are.  What better than to illustrate Bible stories using Minecraft illustrations?!

Premise:

This book contains an assortment of Bible stories which are illustrated Minecraft-style.  The illustrations are actual builds which somebody did in the Minecraft game.  The choice of stories is random and this is by no means a complete Bible.  Also the text of the stories is vastly shortened, resembling the style of comic books.

My thoughts:

Personally, I wouldn’t choose to sit down and read this book because Minecraft doesn’t appeal to me.  However, my boys love Minecraft and I can see how this book would hook them into reading about the stories of the Bible while enjoying the visuals of the Minecraft world.

Kids will not gain great understanding of the Bible by reading this book, but it is a fun way for them to enjoy the stories in another format.  I’ve found that younger boys in particular seem to gravitate towards a comics-style Bible versus a regular one.

This book would make a great gift, or addition to a church’s library.  It would also be a good way to get a child to read who is interested in Minecraft, but not much of a reader.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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