Barbour Publishing sent us two new titles Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? which are part of their Kingdom Files series. These Christian books for kids are definitely worth reading. Our family has been enjoying their books for quite a while. So we were excited to have the opportunity to review two books from this new series.
Kingdom Files is a Bible-based book series for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Every book in this series examines the life of a Biblical character and helps children become excited about learning about key people in the Bible who were part of God’s plan and kingdom. The books are written by Matt Koceich, who is an elementary school teacher and creator of the “Imagine” series of books. He makes his home with his family in Texas.
Each book has a FACT FILE – which includes general information about the Bible character. This includes their name, what work they did (their occupation), where they lived, what work they did for the kingdom of God, a timeline along with key statistics. Next, there is an ACTION FILE – this is where the Biblical story is told in a way the child reading the book can understand. Finally, there is a POWER FILE – where the main lesson of the story is broken down to where the child can see and understand that the Bible stories from ancient times do apply even in today’s time.
One of our family’s favorite parts of both books are the fantastic line art drawings that help capture the imagination of the readers. The books are written with a font that is easy to read regardless of age. Personally, I think these books would be perfect to use as a read-aloud for the entire family – regardless of age. Our youngest child is 15-years-old, so we each read the books independently. However, if she was in the age range of 8 to 12 years old, I would probably have required her to read some parts of the books out loud to me. I also would have had notebook sheets and possibly coloring pages to go along with the stories as well. Or since our daughter loves to draw, I may have had her draw what inspired her as I read the story aloud to her.
The possibilities are endless. “Who Was Jonah? examines the life of Jonah beginning when God wanted him to become a prophet. Rather than doing God’s will, Jonah instead decided to run away. Matt Koceich does an excellent job of telling the story in a way that captures the reader’s attention. He also does an excellent job of explaining ideas that may be hard for children to understand – such as when the sailors casting lots (meaning using either sticks with markings on them or small, flat stones with symbols on each one. The descriptions and explanations are perfect for children of the intended age range. The clue boxes are easy to spot and provide an excellent opportunity for students to engage in a meaningful way with the book. I could see these being used for oral narration, writing prompts or even family discussions at the dinner table. There are even note pages that the reader can use to record their own thoughts, the memory verses and more to help with retention.
Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? examines the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus played in the Kingdom of God. It discusses how the angel Gabriel visited Mary in her hometown. It also discusses how she and Joseph probably felt about what was going on as a result of the pregnancy. It goes through Mary’s encounter with Elizabeth – her cousin. It examines the sacred night when Jesus was born and how it came to pass that Jesus was born in a manger. Our family loved how Bible references were included throughout the book. It talks about the magi, King Herod, Jesus at the temple when he was about 12 years old, and more. One of our favorite parts of the book was the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at his mother’s request. We appreciated how the book discusses how Jesus wanted to honor God’s wishes before his earthly mother’s wishes. But he did end up performing the miracle in the end.
The Power-Up Files at the end of the book provide a Bible verse to memorize along with informative commentary. There are 10 files for each book. One of our family’s favorite Power Up Files is the one entitled “God doesn’t Abandon”. It talks about how Satan tries to convince us that God does not care about us, but Jonah’s story proves that God does provide. It uses Hebrews 11:1 as the memory verse. I have included a graphic of this verse below. Our family felt like the amount of information along with the memory verse provided a perfect balance for children who are ages 8 to 12 years old.
You can find Barbour Publishing on social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. So if you are looking for Christian books for kids, and especially biographies for kids, check out the Kingdom Series, including Who was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? for yourself. These books from Barbour Publishing by Matt Koceich are definitely worth reading.
If you would like to read reviews from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.