Christian Biographies for Young Readers

It’s no secret that I love books, history, and theology. So imagine my delight at the opportunity to review a book from a great new series called, Christian Biographies for Young Readers. The series, by author, Simonetta Carr, was written to teach children about the lives of Christian men and women who had an impact on church history. The website for the series explains the goal:

The series of Christian Biographies for Young Readers was born in response to a need for simple but accurate and informative books on men and women of church history, emphasizing God’s preservation of His church and doctrines rather than moral samples to follow. Masterful illustrations capture the imagination of readers, and photos help them to realize that these stories are really true.

To get a feel for the series, you can watch the trailer:

The author, Simonetta Carr, is a member of Christ United Reformed Church. She lives in San Diego with her family, although she was born in Italy. A homeschooling mother of eight and an author of newspaper and magazine articles, Mrs. Carr has translated the works of many Christian authors into Italian.

The CBFYR series includes six volumes on the lives and contributions of John Calvin, Athanasius, John Owen, Augustine, Lady Jane Gray, and Anselm. Each of the volumes is available through a number of online book retailers. All of the books include beautifully exquisite illustrations that make reading a pleasure for all ages.

The biography I’ve had the opportunity to read is Anselm of Canterbury. As a student of Medieval history, I was pleased to review Anselm’s biography. While Anselm is best known as the Bishop of Canterbury, in England, he was actually born in Aosta, a little town on the border of France and Italy in 1033. As a child, he prayed that he could become a monk and join the church. His father, however, disagreed.

Anselm traveled to France and became a student of the well-known teacher, Lanfranc. After many years, Anselm became a teacher, eventually taking over for Lanfranc. Anselm loved to learn and to write about God, and he is considered to be one of the greatest theologians of the Middle Ages. Anselm’s quiet life as a scholar changed when King William II of England named him Archbishop of Canterbury.

One of Anselm’s greatest contributions to the church was his book answering the question, “Why did God have to become man?” The book, Cur Deus Homo, or Why God-Man?, explained the necessity of a sacrifice that could save people from their sins. To pay the debt of sin, the sacrifice must live a perfect life and take the punishment for the sins of others. In other words, only one who was fully God could pay the penalty. But, because it was man who sinned, the sacrifice must also be a man. And that is why, Anselm reasoned, that Jesus, who is fully God, became fully man: to save us (43).

I highly recommend the Anselm biography, as well as the whole of the CBFYR series. Our children need to know about the lives and contributions of those who have gone before us. Mrs. Carr’s series does an excellent job of presenting accurate historical accounts in a very accessible way. The series would be an excellent addition to any home library.

My ten year-old son read the book on Anselm and thoroughly enjoyed it. He was excited to hear that there were other books in the series. I look forward to reading them all with my family.

You can find out more information about the series on the website: Christian Biographies for Young Readers.

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