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

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale

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Title: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tale: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale

Notable: Book #4 in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series

Premise:

Nathan Hale teaches readers all about World War I through the medium of a graphic novel.  Each nation’s characters are portrayed by a particular animal (i.e.: Britain is the English Bulldog) to help keep the characters straight.

My thoughts:

So far, this is my absolute favorite book in the series!  The author told an amazingly cohesive story, considering it spans years and involves many nations and many battles.  The book doesn’t cover all of the battles or even touch on all aspects of the war, but it gives you a well-balanced overview of the entire war and the reasons behind the decisions that were made.

Prior to this book, I had never read anything about WWI.  This was an excellent introduction to the subject, because it gave me a basic, broad understanding of a very complex subject.  It’s certainly enough to start kids with, and if you’re older you’ll want to do further research.  I will definitely be reading more books about WWI in the future, because now it’s not just this big, confusing war which gets jumbled up in my mind.

The thing that most struck me in this story was the sheer wastefulness that resulted from WWI.  It started from a situation which could have been resolved with some wisdom and diplomacy.  Unfortunately, hotheads won out and 9 million people lost their lives in the end.  NINE MILLION–all because of the assassination of one man!  Think about that for a while.  I think this book is an excellent way to show kids the true nature of war, the huge toll that it takes, and the value of resolving conflict peacefully.  It’s a very sobering story.

I recommend Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood to kids, from elementary through the teen years.  Even for older folks, it’s a fun way to learn about history.

A favorite quote:

“Humanity is mad.  It must be mad to do what it is doing.  What a massacre!  What scenes of horror and carnage: I cannot find words to translate my impressions.  Hell cannot be so terrible.  Men are mad!”  (p. 87, from the journal of a French lieutenant, WWI)

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori