By Julianna Dotten
Homeschoolers love to read, but it can be tough finding good books. That’s why we’re starting a new column on the CHEC blog: Recommended Readings. Here’s the place to find quality Christian books for family read-aloud times, literature assignments, and more.
Autobiographies, no doubt, are at the top of the list for the most inspiring genres of all time. If you can’t find a mentor in person, you can always find one in a book — and meeting the great Christians of history through the pages of their lives can’t help but leave you and your children inspired to build the Kingdom. Below are some of the autobiographies that have made the most impact on my own family.
1. God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew (with John and Elizabeth Sherill)
Andrew van der Bijl, like most boys, loved adventure. As a child, he would play tricks on the Nazi soldiers occupying his village in the Netherlands. At eighteen, Andrew joined the Dutch Army, desperate to find the thrill and excitement he longed for. Instead, while battling on the fields of Indonesia, Andrew was severely wounded. While recovering in a hospital, Andrew picked up his long-lost Bible and discovered the ultimate motivation for adventure: Christ. Brother Andrew would spend the next thirty years of this life smuggling Bibles to Christians behind the Iron Curtain, witnessing over and over the amazing work of God as he risked his life to serve the persecuted church. Visit Brother Andrew’s ministry site to learn more about the book here.
2. I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh (and Richard H. Schneider)
As the most prominent citizen of Wah, Pakistan, Bilquis Sheikh enjoyed a life of luxury and affluence. But something bothered her. When her husband deserted her, she turned to her religious pillar for help: the Koran. But instead of finding support, she discovered abandonment was the norm. But when Jesus appeared to her in a dream, Bilquis Sheikh was determined to find Him, whatever the cost. Risking her status and even her life, Sheikh visited the home of a Christian missionary and soon began to boldly declare her newly-found faith. Bilquis Sheikh’s story offers fascinating insight on the spread of Christianity in the Muslim world. Find more about the book here.
3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (with John and Elizabeth Sherill)
Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy grew up serving the downtrodden of society from their father’s watch shop dwelling in Holland. When the Nazi Third Reich seized their country and started eliminating Jews, the Ten Boom family couldn’t sit idle. Through an underground rescue system and even a secret room built onto Corrie’s bedroom, dozens of Jews found shelter until they could be smuggled into safety. But their efforts could only go on so long. When a Gestapo member masqueraded as a fleeing Jew, the Ten Boom family was arrested and sent to the Nazi Concentration Camps. Corrie Ten Boom’s story of love and forgiveness amidst tragedy is an inspiring reminder to love the least of these, whatever the risk. You can find the book here.
4. Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong
Lopez Lomong enjoyed a happy life in his Christian tribe in South Sudan, shielded from the ravages of the Sudanese Civil War. But at age six, rebel soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army kidnapped him as a child soldier. Fearing for his life, Lopez escaped, running 40 miles barefoot from Sudan into Kenya, where he settled in a refugee camp as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Join Lopez as he struggles to survive, builds faith, and through a providential set of events and the love of an American family, comes to America and becomes a Nike sponsored-American Olympian. Although this book focuses more on social justice than the gospel, Lopez Lomong’s story is a much-needed reminder of triumph in the midst of suffering. Find out more about the book here.
5. Missionary Patriarch by John G. Paton
John G. Paton’s life was hardly safe. As a missionary to South Sea island cannibals, Paton faced danger and death on a daily basis. Even through the illness and death of his wife and infant, Paton remained strong — strong in his love for God and for the savages that threatened his life. This is a classic missionary story, one that will leave you awed at God’s miraculous protection and encouraged to love the lost in your own life. You can get the book here.
6. Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Earekson Tada
Joni Earekson enjoyed the normal, happy life of any seventeen-year-old girl until a diving accident left her paralyzed from her neck down. For two years, Joni struggled through rehabilitation as God worked to transform her understanding of life and identity. Joni would go on to become an accomplished artist, author, and founder of Joni and Friends , a ministry that advocates for people with disabilities. Find the book on her website here.
7. Whatever the Cost by David and Jason Benham
While twin brothers David and Jason Benham dreamed of playing professional baseball, they had no idea of the adventures living a life of principle would take them. From competing in the minor leagues to building their own real estate business, the Benhams demonstrate how hard work and standing up for biblical principles matters, whatever the cost. This books is a great family read aloud, but especially relates to boys. You can find the book here.
Planning on coming to the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference June 15-17? This books would be a great way to prepare as we look forward to having the Benhams live to share with us!
Have any autobiographies your family loves? Comment below to share them with others!