I don’t know how I missed On the Wings of the West Wind by Joni Eareckson Tada and illustrated by Michael Steirnagle (Crossway Books, 2002.) This book is a new classic that should be in every child’s library because it shows in a meaningful and unforgettable way how “the truth will set you free.”

Marcus, a slave with limited sight and hearing, is filled with shame as his chains of many years cut into his wrists and ankles. One day though, he dares to raise his head as he senses the west wind and freedom. He sees a blurred image of a young boy sent by the King. The boy asks him to follow if he wishes to be free. They cross brooks and green pastures and Marcus is no longer bound by his chains. He smiles at the face of the King who tells him you are no longer a slave but my friend. Marcus now has eyes and ears to see the truth along with other people that have been rescued.

However after a time, Marcus grows curious and slips out of the gate. He hears the growling voice of his old master telling him with the crack of a whip to get back in line. As Marcus is about to slip his chains back on, the west wind comes and with a quiet voice says, “The truth will set you free.” Marcus has to make a choice. Finally, he says, “I belong to The King. You have no power over me.” Like a snake the cruel master backs off. Once inside the gate the King puts a piece of paper in Marcus’ hands. It reads, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Marcus is reassured; he has made the right choice.

This dramatic story uses the imagery of chains and the west wind of freedom to show God’s greatest truth–His truth will set you free. But it is a choice to obey or not. The illustrations enhance the allegorical flavor of the story.

Parents and grandparents will be drawn in when sharing On the Wings of the West Wind with children. Its strong talking points of truth and freedom, presented not as the world sees them but as God sees, will stay with them long after the book is closed. What we read does impact how we think and the choices we make. This book will have a great and godly impact on many lives.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is married and the mother three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.”

She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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