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Category Archives: Biography 4 Kids

Countdown to Christmas 11, 12, 13

The three books in this post all have a link to the Christmas season… one is more obvious than the other two.

The Christmas Story by Carine Mackenzie

The subtitle to this is The Bible Version. Simply because we need to be clear that the story we quite often see portrayed in nativity plays and on Christmas cards isn’t the story we read in the Bible. When we read the scripture the shepherds and the wise men are not in the same part of the story. And there is a lot more to Jesus’ birth than simply the little town of Bethlehem. If you want your children to see that the birth of Jesus is important but that the child in the manger becomes the saviour on the cross then this is the book for you.

And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas, at least in the U.K., without a Narnia blockbuster on the T.V.  Clive Staples Lewis has worked his way into the festive season like Carols at Candlelight or a giant tub of office chocolates (I’m still hoping we’ll get one of those this year.)

So in honour of one of the 20th centuries greatest story-tellers we have two books that introduce different ages to his life and christian testimony.

The Little Lights Series has a title: Can You Imagine?

and the Trailblazer series for 9-14 year olds has: The Story Teller



Countdown to Christmas 7, 8, 9, 10

Four book recommendations in this blog post and not a Christmas book amongst them!

I don’t want to be accused of stereotyping … but pretty much boys will be boys and girls will be girls and everyone likes a best seller. That’s what this blog post is saying today.

  1. Boys Like Monkeys. …  Saturday proved that for me when I was doing a kids story time at church. Instead of picking the book myself… I would probably have picked a Christmas book, something seasonal … I let the children choose the book. An eight year old called Aiden immediately pointed to The Jungle Doctor Fable Book and I read the cracking story about the monkeys who didn’t believe in crocodiles. As always there is a moral to the story – and as always Paul White doesn’t mince his words. Just as the monkeys in the story foolishly refused to believe in the reality of the dangerous crocodile – we can ignore at our peril the danger of sin. Thankfully the monkeys are saved just in the nick of time by Twiga the giraffe. And Paul White clearly identifies our saviour in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Girl’s Like Dolls… they do. And with all the types of dolls there are these days there always seems to be a style for everyone. It’s no longer just barbies … I really like the look of some of the American girl dolls that are more realistic. But it is the truth – generation after generation of girls like their dolls. If you’ve got a little girl whose heart just warms at the sight of one of those crying, peeing, all be it, plastic babies the book: What’s in the Parcel about Helen Roseveare is just the ticket. This is a missionary story, that involves a baby, a little girl, a parcel and a doll. It’s a great read.
  3. Everyone likes a best seller… And if these two books are new titles to you then you need to get in on the act. The Lightkeepers biographies have been our top sellers in children’s books for years now. Ten Girls who changed the World and Ten Boys who Changed the World – are a great way to introduce your 7-12 year olds to real life Christian heroes and heroines. Ten short bios in each book, with extra features that make these books ideal devotionals. A really good gift that keeps on giving.

Competent, Confident Readers

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I was at a Barbeque over the weekend which was a real traditional one – a pile of logs, lots of natural flame and masses of sausages. There were heaps of kids charging around relishing the outdoors and the extra calories provided by the protein and carbs. They burned it off alright along with the help of two rather friendly dogs.

The adults stood around the bonfire chatting and before too long we’d all introduced ourselves, worked out who was connected to who, whose kids were in school, which ones were going to school next year or were moving up to the academy.

During those conversations I was introduced to a mother who had what was rather a good problem… her oldest boy devours books. He reads well above his age range but finding books that suit his reading ability and his emotional stage is tricky. It’s a problem I’ve come across before with confident able readers. You have eight year olds with  good reading skills and a great vocabulary but they are not ready to read many of the books that are published for twelve year olds.

The mother who was speaking to me about this at the Barbeque got an email from me this morning recommending the following series:

History Lives. It has a great narrative style and doesn’t shrink away from solid historical teaching. If your youngster seems ready to go to the next stage this could very well be the series you’ve been looking for.

Jungle Doctor series. This is a cross between a hospital drama and a safari adventure – written by a missionary doctor, Paul White. They are based on true life stories from a selection of missionaries in Africa.

History Lives – in French

ImageOne of our mission partners Editions de la Colline have started to translate the History Lives series into French. I received on my desk this morning a pleasant surprise – the French edition of Peril and Peace: Les Fondateurs – La Chronique d’Ecclesia. Follow this link to see these books in English.

If you are interested in purchasing a French edition for yourself the publisher’s email is

the website is

the French ISBN is 978-2-918495-15-4

Bestsellers: Ten Boys who Changed the World; Ten Girls who Changed the World


I remember having lots of discussions about these books with the editorial team. Inspiration for the series – Lightkeepers – had been coming from all sorts of angles.

‘Wouldn’t it be good to have a book of short chapters on different Christians – something that a child could read on their own?’

‘Each chapter would be a complete story in itself which meant that the reader could feel a sense of achievement within quite a short space of time. Something like that would be the ideal bedtime story for a child just starting chapter books.’

‘Why not add in a devotional section and fact files? This would give the book multiple uses in family worship and education also personal devotions.’

And then there was another idea which I feel really set the series apart – ‘All these famous Christians were children once. Let’s start their stories with an incident from their childhood.’

‘Wouldn’t it be good to have a whole set of these books – some on boys and some on girls.’

The ideas kept coming.

‘It would be great to have a set of ten books…’

But that sounded too good to be true.

‘Perhaps we are overstretching ourselves,’ was the opinion.

To start off with we made a list of ten Christian men and ten Christian women… and then we decided on an author. An important decision but not in the end a difficult one.

‘We’ll need someone we can rely on; someone who knows how to write to a word count and a deadline and someone who can write for children.’

We didn’t have to look far because Irene Howat, the editor of the children’s magazine, The Instructor, was already one of our authors.

And that is the beginning of the story of Lightkeepers.

It’s strange to think of books having their own stories isn’t it? But they do. In the list of characters they have the people who wrote them, edited them, marketed them… there are a whole host of little anecdotes of how they came into being.

When we published Ten boys who Changed the World and Ten Girls who Changed the World – we soon realised that they were being received rather well.

Perhaps the idea of ten books in the series wasn’t so impossible after all.

The next challenge was to think up a list of characters for the next eight books that would eventually be printed… and to keep reprinting the titles that kept vanishing off the shelves.

Visit this link to experience the rest of the story.

Best Sellers: Little Lights – Gladys Aylward

ImageThis week another title that is on our Kids best seller list is one of the Little Lights Books – Gladys Aylward. She is a great missionary heroine. She was one of mine as a young girl. I loved the fact that she stood up for women, rescued orphans and did what God called her to do – despite what other people thought she ought to be doing. If it had been up to society, the church and even the mission organisations she’d have stayed a parlour maid polishing stair cases and beating carpets until she was married or too old to carry on. But God had called Gladys to a different life – a life of missionary service. Many people underestimated Gladys Aylward because she was small, a woman and from a working class background. The official missionary organisations certainly didn’t think she was the sort of candidate they were looking for. However, God proved them wrong.

This series of biographies is aimed at the early reader. You’ll see in our Kids best seller list at that Eric Liddell and C S Lewis also feature on the list.

These are quality gift book for under a fiver. Childhood heroes have never been such good value!

Family Heroes: George Muller

ImageI think, in the current economic climate, there would be an international outcry if the C.E.O. of a main high street bank or financial institution was found guilty of fraud. What then if he was given the responsibility for millions of dollars of charitable donations, as well as the day-to-day running of several children’s homes?

I can see the miles of newsprint now, endless blog articles and facebook entries, twitter would be going ape. There would be an outcry – and justifiably so.

Now George Muller was not the C.E.O. of a major financial institution but during his young adult life he was guilty, several times, of financial fraud – even close friends and family members were betrayed in this manner.

And then one day his crimes caught up with him as he tried to get out from paying his bills at a local hostelry. The police apprehended him and he spent time in jail for his misdemeanours. It appeared to many of George’s contacts and loved ones that this young man was bent on a life of petty crime.

However, something happened which changed all that – because the young man you wouldn’t have trusted with your pocket money became a Christian and a man entrusted with millions and the welfare of thousands of orphaned children.

George Muller had been someone who was out for personal gain and pleasure but the Lord Jesus Christ changed George, he was transformed. Now he trusted in the living God, followed his commands and prayed. Oh how he prayed!

George had always wanted money in the past – now he realised that he needed it but that he needed God to provide. Money didn’t just build up in a bank account to be used conveniently as and when George and the orphans had need of it. Often the coffers and the cupboards were bare. There were days, in fact, when George knew there was no food left – nothing for an evening meal. It was because of days like this that George Muller learned to rely on the one true God and on the gift of prayer. Muller’s life of prayer demonstrated his faith in his faithful God. Every time he and the orphans had a great need it was met by their great God.

One day the children’s home needed serious repairs. The heating system had broken down in the middle of winter. George Muller prayed to God about this. The builders agreed to work on the problem day and night until it was sorted. And just at that exact time unseasonably warm weather blew in meaning that the children could spend their time outside in the fresh-air letting the builders crack on with the job in hand.

Even small needs were met like forks and jugs for the orphanage and a much needed last penny to purchase bread. God, the loving heavenly Father used an ex fraudster to show the world that God can do anything, we can trust in him and that he is the hearer and answerer of prayer.

George Muller then should be one of your heroes and your family’s heroes. Introduce your children to this hero of the faith and the power of prayer through the following Christian Focus books:

Age 5+

Little Lights: George Muller – Does money grow on trees?

Age 8-12

Lightkeepers: Ten Boys Who Changed the World

Age 9-14

Trailblazers: George Muller – The Children’s Champion


History Makers: George Muller – Delighted in God