by Tanya Packer
Middle Grade Devotional / Religious
ages 8 to 12
Getting along with others can be difficult, especially if there is something different about you. In author Tanya Packers book Timothys Adventures, youll meet Timothy, who lives in a big multicultural city. Join Timothy, his puppy, and his buddies as they make new friendships while sharing Bible stories that help them deal with racism, bullies, and other difficult situations that they are dealing with. Each chapter includes a devotional with questions meant to generate meaningful discussions for the entire family while having fun at the same time.
This devotional demonstrates how the daily adventures and problems of an average child can find answers, inspirations and support in well known Bible stories.
Each of the fifteen chapters has Timothy explaining a situation he's run across during his daily life. A caretaker then loving reminds him of a place in the Bible and discusses with him how he can use that to help answer his questions or solve his problems. At the end of each chapter, there is a 'Parent/Child Discussion Time', which quickly sums up that chapter and then leads into several questions to help open up discussions and encourage children to think about what they've heard/learned.
Timothy is a calm and thoughtful boy, who is surrounded by loving family and friends. Still, he runs into situations which make him wonder about things and problems which he's not quite sure how to handle. The adults are always presented as being very patient and caring as they gently introduce the Bible passages, which relate to his situations. These verses are ones children will know well. I appreciated that not all 'answers' are the obvious ones, but the author does dive a little deeper at times.
A black and white illustration accompanies each chapter, which earns this book bonus points. The discussion hints at the end of each chapter also open up a nice variety of directions and offer guidance to whomever is using this book. It works best as a read-aloud and would work just as nicely in smaller settings as well as in larger groups.
The writing is simple, making it also useful for even slightly younger audiences, although the material itself definitely slides better into the middle grade. The wholesome atmosphere as one would expect with a devotional for this age group rings loud and clear, making it a lovely one to grab up and use.
These stories can each stand alone or be read as part of a sequence. The author brings together typical adolescent experiences, deep spiritual realizations, and inspiration that combine to move young readers to become genuine thinkers about their lives what I would call authentic theologians.
Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Reclaiming Youth at Risk
Tanyas devotional is a beautiful resource with elegant and accessible prose, charming, and warm characters that are most human. The questions at the end of each chapter invite further exploration of some of our most sacred stories.
Rev. Matthew Brown
Tanya has done it again! She has crafted a wonderful story that connects real life to scripture and reinforces good family values.
Rev. Mr. Trevor Klein