Friday, November 26, 2010

Sophia Institute Press Review: The First Christians

The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children by Marigold Hunt

A friend had suggested I blog reviews for Sophia Institute Press ages ago, but I thought I had enough to do. Then I realized just how many of my favorite books were coming from this publishing house like Angel in the Waters, A Mother's Rule of Life and The Young People's Book of Saints, among others. So I requested a book and continue to be thrilled!

In The First Christians, Hunt retells the history recorded in the book of Acts. She has a gentle encouraging tone, perfect for reading aloud to younger children.

This book is not meant to be a substitute for reading the book of Acts itself.
You will find all that Peter said in the third chapter of the Acts of the Apostles: I don't want to give you all of it here, because if I put in everything that is in the real Acts of the Apostles, you may wonder whether you need bother to read it. The sensible thing to do is to read each chapter of Acts before you read what I say, and then read it again afterwards to see if what I said was helpful.
The Apostles are real people to her (as, of course, they should be for us all) and she delights in asides to bring them to life for children. For example, she mentions how much she likes the name Tabitha and wonders why there aren't more girls with the name. Comments like these make it seem like the author is sitting with us, cozy before a fire (which I mention because I wish I had a fire in the fireplace right now) telling us a story of danger and adventure. Hunt often reminds us how exciting the time of the Apostles must have been.

The book was originally titled The First Catholics and it is certainly written with young Catholics as the audience. In general, I believe this book could also be enjoyed by non-Catholic Christians. You may want to read it aloud, though, as there are a few places where alterations in the text may be warranted. For example, she mentions at one point that Christian always means Catholic. There are also a few statements about Peter as the first Pope that might be strange for non-Catholics.

I am very much looking forward to reading this book with First Son when we study the New Testament next year!

I received a free copy of this book from Sophia Institute Press as part of their Books for Bloggers program (which is currently on hiatus). I did not receive any compensation for the review and it is my honest opinion.

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