Friday, July 21, 2017

God's Smuggler

Reading is always a favorite pastime in my house, but in the summer we really up our reading time.  What better way to beat the heat while learning and letting our imaginations soar?  The biggest challenge for me is to find books that are interesting enough to hold my 10 year old's attention. He reads at a higher level than he is age-wise, so finding subject matter that he is interested in that also fits his maturity AND reading level can get tricky.

When we were contacted about reviewing God's Smuggler, Young Reader's Edition by Brother Andrew, I knew we had found a gem for our collection.  This classic book, one that has sold over 10 million copies, is now abridged for younger readers. Written for 9-12 year olds, this 219 page soft-back book about a true hero of faith will inspire your kids with Brother Andrew's many adventures.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Brother Andrew grew up in the Netherlands around the time that Germany was sweeping the countryside.  He served in the war until a leg injury sidelined him.  During his struggle to heal physically and emotionally from the war wounds, he had a come-to-faith conversion.  At that time he dedicated his life to Jesus and eventually found himself serving believers behind the iron curtain.  By smuggling Bibles into areas that were not open to the gospel, he gave people the hope they were in such great need of. Now, at age 89, Brother Andrew no longer travels, but his work continues throughout the world through his ministry, Open Doors.

I had all intentions of my having my 10 year old son read this book independently.  So much for those plans!  To get him interested, I agreed to read the first chapter with him.  We were BOTH hooked.  Since then, we have been taking turns reading a chapter to each other, making it part of our afternoon quiet time together.  He is more than capable of reading and understanding it on his own but we have enjoyed the time together.  Simple pen and ink drawings every few pages help hold a young reader's attention as well.

There are some sensitive issues, such a war and drinking, discussed, but I believe it is done in as much of a family-friendly way as possible.  Reading the book together has provided us the opportunity to talk about our beliefs and feelings on the subjects.  A few names are hard to pronounce due to the fact they are names we are not familiar with, but we did our best not to butcher them.  I did have to stop a few times to explain what a word he was not familiar with meant, but it did not slow us down nor deter him from reading.

When I asked my son what he liked most about the book, here is what he said-

 "I like that the book is adventurous.  He had a lot of adventures when he was young AND old.  It made me laugh when he stopped up his neighbor's chimney by putting a glass window over the opening.  I also liked it when he set off firecrackers to scare soldiers.  I think Brother Andrew was pretty brave.  He worked hard for God!"

In this day and time when true heroes are often a bit harder to find, I love that I have found the book God's Smuggler to show my son what a true hero of faith looks like. I think you will enjoy it as well!


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