If you're looking for typical less-than-excellent fiction for your kids, stay away from these. The Jacksons have put all their dedication to Christian missions and their ability to tell a rousing tale together into a series of 40 historical novels full of the Gospel and breathtaking action. Each book follows the adventures of a young person who becomes involved with a famous Christian leader or missionary at a critical moment in his or her career.
These are the kind of books young readers can't put down. The Jacksons are able to evoke a sense of place and time without getting bogged down in flowery or long descriptions. Kids like that the action doesn't flag and there's plenty of dialogue; parents like the Christian emphasis, character building elements, and constant reference to biblical passages and important doctrines.
Be aware that the Trailblazer Books are not biographies. The stories are fictional, and while real people and events figure into the plots and receive considerable attention, these are novels. That said, they are each well-researched and offer good renderings of the Christian heroes depicted. Some parents supplement Church history, Bible, or world history with these books, though they shouldn't be used as primary texts.
One of the best things about this series is that you can legitimately hand any of the Trailblazer Books to your kids and not worry they'll encounter anything they shouldn't, and that in fact they'll be edified and strengthened in the faith. It would be difficult to find books that unite such a wholesome approach so well with a genuine ability to engage and delight readers of all ages.
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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