We can’t be everything to our kids because we weren’t meant to be. And we can’t teach them EVERYTHING because we haven’t experienced everything. We are one person that has limited experiences and can’t possibly be everywhere all of the time. I can’t know what it’s like to be a young girl in a country that doesn’t value girls and refuses to educate them. I also can’t know what it’s like to fight against that firsthand.
I can’t know what it’s like to live in the South American rainforest trying to reach the locals with Jesus and his love only to be met with hostility. I didn’t live through the Chinese cultural revolution or live through the civil rights movement leading the charge for equality. I wasn’t ever a child hiding in an attic hoping and praying that my family would make it through a devastating war.
That is why biographies of people who have done these things, lived these circumstances and fought these fights are so important not just for us but for our children. Biographies can broaden their perspective and worldview. It can give them compassion and empathy for those who live differently from themselves.
I put together a list of some of my favorite children’s biographies to share with you and your family. Some of them will give evoke big feelings. I know there were tears when I read many of them.
Jim Elliot: A Light for God
Many of you will probably know who Jim Elliot was. He and 4 of his missionary friends we martyred in South America by an unreached tribe of people in the 1950s. He left behind his wife Elisabeth and their daughter Valerie. Elisabeth continued on with trying to reach this tribe and was successful. Her love for them in spite of the fact that they killed her husband, showed them the power of Christ’s love and ultimately won them over for Jesus. Jim’s story is a powerful one about sacrificing your life for what you believe.
Diary of Anne Frank
Okay, parents, many of us read this in school and our kids will probably be reading it as well if they haven’t already so I won’t go deep into the reasons why they should read this. It is just a must.
Red Scarf Girl
This book brought forth tears, outrage, sadness, joy, wonder, and lots of questions. This book is the autobiography of Ji-li Jiang. She was a little girl at the start of the cultural revolution in China. She writes about her experiences in school, her neighborhood, and her family as major changes swept through China as the government and supporters destroyed the “five olds.” It is written in a way that young readers can read it and understand or have it read to them.
A Place to Land
This is a young reader’s book about Martin Luther King Jr and his famous “I have a dream” speech. There is so much our children can learn from his bravery and commitment to the Lord and equality. This is a good book to start with.
I Am Malala
The bravery of this young girl to fight for her education and the education of other young girls in her country is awe-inspiring. We forget that the education our girls have access to is not the norm globally. But this brave young woman is taking strides to make it so. She has overcome so much and it is all recorded in this phenomenal biography.
I would encourage you to read these biographies first before sharing them with your children. That is what I did. That way you can discuss, be prepared for some of the questions that may come, and just build a deeper insight.
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