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We recently had the opportunity to review two Christian biographies for kids from the Barbour Publishing series Kingdom Files – Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? and Who was Jonah? This felt like perfect timing because we have struggled to find a new church after our move. Churches are just so different over the summer – attendance drops, children’s programs take a break, and some services are even cancelled. I’m hoping that we will find our new church home now that school is back in session, but in the mean time I have been doing more Bible studies with the kids at home.
The Kingdom Files series focuses on the lives of 6 biblical characters :
Christian Biographies for Kids
These Christian biographies for kids are aimed at the 8-12 year old age range. The books are not long, only about 80 pages, and they are easy to read. My daughter recently turned 13 and she read the entire book in one quick sitting. All Kingdom Files books follow the same basic structure:
Fact File – Basic, key information about the biblical character
Mini Timeline – A timeline of their main mentions in the Bible (This is one of my favorite features. It is so easy to just think ‘biblical times’ without really thinking about how much time is covered. For example, there are about 750 years between Jonah and Mary!)
Action File – Chapters that tell the characters story
Power File – Connect the story and scripture to every day life
Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? tells the biblical story of Mary, beginning with her angelic encounter and ending with the day Jesus rose from the tomb. While I am always curious about Mary outside of her life as mother, I very much appreciate that the story line does not stray from the biblical teaching.
Clues are scattered throughout all 10 chapters. They provide guidance on how to be more like Mary – more trusting, obedient, and bold in approaching Jesus for help. It is all backed up with Bible verses, but clearly laying out the message is very helpful for children.
The Power File in the back of the book contains 10 ‘Power Ups’, short Bible study discussions. We read and discussed one a day. It didn’t take long at all, but it provided an opportunity to relate the Bible story to our normal life. The Power Ups also include memory verses. We read them, but did not practice the memorization.
Who Was Jonah? starts off with the familiar story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale. He is running away, or sailing away, from God’s command to go to Nineveh and spread the good news when a hurricane hits. Most children’s stories of Jonah seem to end when Jonah is released from the belly of the whale. Not this one!
This is a biography after all, so we get to see a bit more of the big picture. First, we understand why Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. It was really far away, a large city, and the people were not very nice. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to go either! This book shows the human emotional side of Jonah and that makes him so much more relateable.
We also see what happens to the town of Nineveh. The people change after hearing Jonah preach. They begin to worship God! Big changes occur when we trust God.
My children and I really enjoyed these Christian biographies for kids. The stories made the Bible characters more relateable. They didn’t possess super human qualities. They were real people being used for the glory of God.
Check out the Kingdom Files website for additional games and educator resources!
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