Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kingdom Files Book Reviews

As a homeschooling mom, I am always on the lookout for engaging and wholesome books for my kids to read.  Recently, I was given the opportunity to review two books by Barbour Publishing that are part of the Kingdom Files series.  The Kingdom Files are a series of Bible-based biographies for 8-12 year olds written by Matt Koceich.

These books explore the life of a person from the Bible through "files" that show the person's life and how they apply to our lives today. Each book has three files:
  • FACT FILE - This is key information, such their their name, occupation, hometown, and other key facts about their work for the Kingdom
  • ACTION FILE - This is a retelling of the Biblical account of the person's life
  • POWER FILE - The main lessons of the person's life are discussed as we learn how even ancient lessons can apply to our lives today.  These are approximately two pages of discussion along with a memory verse.

Who Was Mary, Mother of God?
Emory (9) chose to read this book first.  This book starts with Mary as a young teenager, learning that she has been chosen by God to give birth to His Son.  We learn how confused and scared she must have been.  We also learn about the time that Mary lived, with small explanations given about things like the census, a young Jewish boy's preparations for a religious life, or interesting facts about different rituals and ceremonies of the time.  The Power Files includes Power-Ups like "God Gives You His Mercy" or "God is Helpful" and these are designed to show us how these truths are applicable to our own lives.

Who Was Jonah?
In this book, we learn about Jonah, the prophet who was to preach to the people of Nineveh.  We learn how Jonah was asked to step out of his comfort zone in order to obey God, but tried to choose his own path.  Of course we read about the time Jonah spent in the belly of a fish and his praying, and of his time when he finally reaches Nineveh.  Again, the author explains little tidbits of information, like the meaning of tempest or casting lots.  These are things that some children may just not know, so I like that small explanations are worked into the texts.  The Power-Up section of this book gives us lessons on obedience, not being afraid, prayer, and God's grace, among other lessons.

What did we think?
These, and the other stories in the series, are familiar stories to children who have grown up in church and learning the Bible, but familiar stories also make comforting and easy independent reads.  For children new to church and the Bible's teachings, these are a good introduction to some of the most well-known figures in Biblical history.  I also think, because of the target age range, the language and sentence structure is a bit simplistic.  Again, this makes it an easier read.  Emory could easily read through a chapter or more in a sitting.  It is almost conversational, but to me it felt a bit choppy and awkward as a read aloud.  That being said, the books are informational and interesting, and I like how they focus on real people, doing real things, living real lives for God.  I appreciate how Bible verses and references are included for support.  I also really appreciate how the author clarifies when the Bible does and doesn't specify something; he states simply "The Bible doesn't say..." and then goes on to what we do know directly from the Bible.  If you use the Power-Up sections as Bible studies, these books can go a long way for family or small group devotions.

Currently there are six books, and the others focus on Jesus, Daniel, David and Esther.  To find out more about what other crew members thought of the books about Jonah and Mary, be sure to read more reviews!

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}

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