One of the great benefits of a biography series is that readers can become accustomed to a reading level that works for them, and learn about a variety of people without worrying about difficulty or writing style. Some of our favorite biography series are the work of many authors, but even then there's usually a series editor to ensure consistency.
This sameness can also be a pitfall: readers (especially kids) can just get in a rut of breezing through the volumes without growing much or learning a whole lot. If you have kids who read a lot, however, this is potentially the case no matter what they're reading, and at least with a series you can have a pretty good idea where the individual authors will be coming from, whether you're familiar with them or not.
Most of the series we offer are written from a Christian perspective. While many might assume this makes them okay across the board, we do offer a caution: not all of these series offer the same level of discernment. For instance, while the Sowers Biographies are generally very good (and very popular), the editors chose to include a biography about Johnny Appleseed, a known heretic of the Swedenborgian variety.
For the most part, however, we can get behind the series we offer. Our favorite right now is probably the Christian Encounters series, which offers short but incisive biographies of great Christians who may not get as much attention as they should (like St. Patrick, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and William F. Buckley).
We do encourage you to mix things up now and then. It's easy to get in a rut, and it's easy to get familiar with an author or group of authors, and then to simply accept everything they say as Gospel truth. Reading across a spectrum of biographies will fill in gaps that may exist in your understanding, and offer different interpretations of people and events.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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