Sunday, November 1, 2015

Book Review: When Lighting Struck: The Story of Martin Luther by Danika Cooley

As you've probably noticed, if you've spent any time with us, or read much on my blog, my older girls and I are obsessed with history. We love reading biographies, true stories, and historical fiction, as long as it's well written (if it's not, we'll probably notice, and complain about, the inaccuracies).

This year our focus is Early American history, but when we got the opportunity to review a brand new book about Martin Luther, we were more than happy to jump back to the reformation!

Danika Cooley is already a favorite of ours as we wrap up our third year using her Bible Road Trip curriculum for Bible (our "years" are a bit off since we school year round).

And now she's written an exciting new book, When Lightening Struck: The Story of Martin Luther. This book tells the story of Martin Luther for teens and tweens to read on their own, or families to read aloud together to children in 3rd grade and up.

I opted to read this book aloud to my two twelve year olds, so that we'd all get a chance to hear it, and give our opinion, during the review period.

All three of us enjoyed the book.  Some specific things we liked:

  • The author draws from letters and historical documents in such a way that she shares much of the story in his own words.
  • The book gives a balanced picture of Martin Luther. He wasn't perfect, he had a quick temper and could be arrogant when crossed. We appreciated that the book didn't hide or gloss over these aspects of the man.
  • There are themes to the imagery used throughout the book. As you might guess, from the title, one such theme is lightening. The book begins with Martin Luther's fateful close call with a lightning bolt during a storm on his way to school, at which time, he vowed to change course and become a monk. The book comes full circle and near the end of the book, quotes someone comparing him to a lightning bolt that struck the organized religion of the day .
  • Another imagery that I especially loved, was the image of Satan as a dragon. Throughout Martin Luther's life, he imagines he hears dragons' wings beating, and feels the hot fiery breath of the dragon in moments when he is engaged in spiritual warfare of some sort. I appreciated this imagery for myself, and think it is also an effective imagery to help young people see that we truly are in a fight, not against flesh and blood. For homeschoolers who, like us, tend to approach history chronologically, the dragon imagery will fit nicely with the middle ages/reformation time period that this book falls into. 

I honestly don't think we had any complaints about the book, and that's saying something. The book was easy to understand, and read, without being overly simplified. It was well-researched and we didn't find any discrepancies with what we learned about Martin Luther and this time period when we studied it last spring.

I am thrilled to have this book in our library and have no doubt that we will read it again next time we cycle around to this time period in history. If you're looking for a great family read aloud, I'd highly recommend When Lightening Struck: The Story of Martin Luther by Danika Cooley.

Good to know:
Danika is having a HUGE SALE right now, check it out!!!!

Don't forget to enter the $500+ Reformation Giveaway, including When Lighting Struck!

Be sure to attend When Lighting Struck's FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY on Tuesday, November 10 at 9pm EST.

Danika is generously offering a FREE Discussion Guide AND a FREE 12-week Unit study on Martin Luther (for subscribers to her blog)!! Information on both can be found here.

No comments: