Friday, November 2, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Grace & Truth Books

My daughter Gess loves books and spends much of her free time reading.  She also enjoys it when we read together.  I have noticed in reading along with her that it really is hard to find quality books and very rare to find good christian ones.  Thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was able to learn about an excellent resource for christian books, Grace and Truth Books.

Grace and Truth Books specializes in books that not only call themselves "christian" on the outside but they must be full of christian principles and truths on the inside too.  Books offered at their website must "glorify God, strengthen His people in their walk, and call all peoples to find joy in knowing His gospel and following Him."  They have about every category of book you are looking for including theology, christian fiction, spiritual life, men's, women's, family, children, and so on.  The books I reviewed were from the Character Building Collection.

The Children's Character Building Collection has 11 volumes that come from some of the American Tract's Society's children's stories written in the 19th century.  They are recommended for ages 8 to 12 but have lessons that are enjoyable for any age.  The stories in these books are not merely about morals and character, but are "Christ centered" and actually use Scripture to build upon each principle.  I found them refreshing, enjoyable, endearing and inspiring. 

The first book we read was The Little Medicine Carrier which is about a young boy named George who goes to work for a doctor carrying medicine so that he can help his mother provide for their family.  George soon finds that while having the responsibility is a good thing, it comes with challenges and temptations that could cause him to sin.  As he faces these challenges with the guidance and counsel of some good christian role models George learns lessons in integrity, honesty and faithfulness.  Gess and I truly enjoyed the book and I loved its real integration of Scripture into the story.  I even had the opportunity to bring the story up when Gess found herself being tempted to be disobedient.  I reminded her of an incident that George faced and how he remembered that "it is never right to do wrong."  Gess chose to do the right thing too.  I am glad I had that lesson ready to share with her!

The next book was The Reward of Childhood Truth.  This book actually contains two stories in them, both based upon solid biblical principles shared in the immediate text of the story.  The first one was my favorite and I even shared it's opening as a quote on my Facebook page because I found it both amusing and profound.  Part 1 was the story for which the book was titled The Reward of Childhood Truth.

"Boys will be boys," said Mr. Arnold. "Very true, Sir." answered Mr. Benson. "At least they are not likely to be girls nor women. This doesn't mean, however, that boys must necessarily be thieves and liars."

I loved that! "Boys will be boys" is often used as an excuse to explain away bad behavior.  Indeed, "boys will be boys" but that does not mean they must act sinfully.  The story continued on that jovial note, making the characters very enjoyable.  You see Mr. Benson's two young boys had accidentally destroyed Mr. Arnold's prize plant.  Mr. Arnold expected them to lie about it but instead they were honest, just as their father had taught them.  As you follow them through the years you see just how greatly that one simple truth impacted their lives.

The second story was Little Mary's First and Last Falsehood.  It does an excellent job pointing out how telling one little lie can begin to steal the joy from all areas of your life.  Poor Mary suffers through so much to avoid telling the truth until she eventually is reminded what the Scriptures say about about it in church.

I truly loved each of these books and thought about how sad it is that you don't find books for youth today that really tackle problems through the clear and vivid lens of God's Word.  We seem to water everything down.  My pastor has talked about that at my church.  Today we look at things through a lens of  "good and bad" rather than "holy and evil."  If you think about it there is a very stark difference in the two.  These books blatantly call sin what it is - evil and Satan is pointed out as the tempter and deceiver behind it all.  When Mary finally confesses her lie she rightfully says she has been "wicked."  Whoa, you certainly don't hear kids talking like that today!  How sad. 

Technically I really liked how the print in these books was nice and large which made it easier for Gess to read them along with me.  She probably could have read them on their own but they are longer than books she normally reads so I didn't try to make her.  I do have to say that while cover art is really well done the graphics inside the book are unimpressive, but that didn't seem to take away from the enjoyment of it.  Also you must keep in mind that these were written in the 1800s so there are some things that really would not happen today, like the fact that some bullies get whipped with an actual whip by an adult that was not their parent.

You can purchase The Reward of Childhood Truth and The Little Medicine Carrier for $4.75 each or purchase the entire 11 volume set of The Character Building Collection books for $49.00.  As I mentioned, Grace and Truth Books has a large variety of books to choose from so check out their website to see what else they have to offer.  The Schoolhouse Review Crew were also given a variety of selections to review so you can see what other members of the Crew thought about these and the other selections by clicking on the banner below.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the books The Reward for Childhood Truth and The Little Medicine Carrier for giving my honest opinion and assessment of them in my review.  
Note: All pricing is current at the time of posting and is subject to change.

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