The Reformation was one of the most important periods of time in church history. How much do you know about the people of that time? What about the stories of how the Protestant Church came to be?
Martin Luther is one of the most well-known people and driving forces of the Reformation. He was a complicated guy and it was a complicated time. How do you teach your kids about Martin Luther and truly make the Reformation accessible to them?
It seems that story is always the best way to introduce and reinforce a difficult topic. The life of Martin Luther and the Reformation are no different. Danika Cooley, one of our contributors here at Kids in the Word, has set up to make this complicated person and topic accessible to our kids through story.
The Life of Martin Luther
Danika has written When Lightning Struck which was just released through Fortress Press. It's a fictionalized version of the life of Martin Luther. The publisher describes the book this way:
“Martin Luther's life was too exciting not to be written for teens and younger readers! In this fast-paced, action-packed novel of Martin Luther's life, teen readers (and more than a few adults!) will be introduced to a fascinating time when princes ruled Europe and knights roamed the countryside. They'll learn about a time when powerful forces lined up against each other and believing the wrong thing could get you killed.
When Lightning Struck! is far more than just an adventure story, of course. It also tells a theological story. Drawing carefully from Luther's own words, this book introduces readers to a kindred spirit who struggled with what knowing God through Scripture means for daily life. They will understand what was at stake and how powerfully liberating Luther's idea of grace through faith was–in his time and in ours!
In crisp, enjoyable prose, author Danika Cooley conveys both the drama and the meaning of the Reformation for younger readers like no one before her!”
The book is historical fiction written for middle and high school level students. If you like reading books aloud to your kids, those about 3rd grade and up should be able to follow and understand the story. Keep in mind that this is fiction based on history. There are many direct quotes from Martin Luther, but the blanks in Luther's story have been expanded upon and filled in to create the story.
I found When Lightning Struck hard to put down. I felt captivated by the story from the very first page. Danika has a way of drawing you into the story. She ends a chapter in a way that begs you to continue on to the next one.
I also felt that the story was thorough but not overwhelming. Creating a fictional narrative of someone's life is difficult. How much do you tell and what do you leave out? This story doesn't feel over run with too much detail but gives young readers enough to get the picture of the controversy of the times. The theological issues of the Reformation are covered without over simplifying them or going too far in depth for the intended audience.
When Lightning Struck is an excellent resource for Reformation Day studies, learning about the church of the middle ages, and teaching your kids about Martin Luther. It's great for any family wanting to learn more about the basic history and theological tensions of the middle ages and the rise of the Protestant Church.
When Lightning Struck is available at most booksellers, including Amazon. You can get a free discussion guide and/or unit study for your kids at Danika's site, Thinking Kids Blog. Danika also has a series called Bible Road Trip, to help you walk your kids cover to cover through the Bible, which is on sale to celebrate the release of When Lightning Struck.
Disclosure: I was sent an advance copy of When Lightning Struck.