We reviewed for YWAM Publishing last year (Columbus), so when the chance to review again this year came up, I knew we'd be getting another quality biography to enjoy. This year, I selected C. S. Lewis, Master Storyteller from their Christian Heroes Then & Now series. Paul is currently reading the Chronicles of Narnia aloud to the children after dinner, and I thought this would be a perfect fit for us. We received the physical book and the digital unit study that goes with the book.
I began reading the biography aloud to Jack and Hannah (ages 12 and 8), but when we got to C. S. Lewis' time in WW1, I read when Eli (age 14) would be around to listen in, too. Although the website says ages 10 and up, the vocabulary is pretty advanced. There were plenty of words Jack would not have been able to define, but from the flow of the story, he could pick up the gist of what happened. You can read a sample chapter online to get a feel for the vocab level.
C. S. Lewis was born in Ireland, but educated at some rather horrible boarding schools in England. Academic life suits him, however, and he goes on to teach at college, where he makes friends with another of our family's favorite authors, J. R. R. Tolkien (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings trilogy, etc).
His name was actually Clive Staples Lewis, but he commonly went by Jack. (I think I would, too!) His mother died when he was a child, and he was closer to his brother, Warren than to his father. During The Great War, he makes a pact with a friend, Paddy Moore, that if either of them die, the other will see to his family. Paddy does not survive the war, and Mrs. Moore (Paddy's mother) and Paddy's little sister, Maureen become Jack's family. I kept expecting Jack to marry Maureen, but in fact, Maureen marries someone else, and Jack doesn't marry until late in life, when he marries the same woman twice!
Hannah points out where the events of the book took place.
The digital unit study that goes along with the book has maps, pertinent Bible verses, comprehension questions, ideas for a display corner and further study within your community. It also lists related themes, books and other resources, and makes suggestions for a culminating event at the end of your study. Honestly, the chapter questions, while written with 2 levels of difficulty, are all a bit advanced for the academic level of my current students, but the study guide would be great for teens.
One of the neat things I really appreciated within the digital resources was the extensive list of YWAM biographies organized by country/geographical area. It also lists the relevant time periods of each book. This would be a great reference for adding a biography to history or geography studies! In fact the main curriculum we use calls for the addition of some of these fine books in 3 of the years of their 5 year cycle.
Authors Janet and Geoff Benge do a great job of bringing C. S. Lewis' life story to tweens and teens in a story-like but fact filled manner. I enjoyed this book, and I feel like I have a deeper understanding of the life experiences that he allowed to peep out of the pages of his writings. I think I will get more out of reading the Chronicles of Narnia this time around, now that I know the back story behind them.
You can connect with YWAM Publishing via their Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Other Crew families received many different biographies, and you can read their reviews by clicking the box below.
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