Hero Tales is a series of nonfiction books for children written by Dave and Neta Jackson and published by Bethany House Publishers (2005). It’s subtitled “A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes.” I bought volumes 1-3 for my children when they were in elementary school. The books are available from such vendors as Amazon and CBD.

The books are a collection of mini-biographies about Christian people striving to make a difference in the world. These people come from many different backgrounds and ethnicities. Some are women; some are men; some are married; some are single. Each section begins with a line drawing of the people involved. The language is easy for children to follow. I learned a great deal reading the stories myself.

Some of the people included in this collection are Gladys Aylward, an unusual missionary to China; Samuel Morris (Prince Kaboo) from Africa; John Newton, the slave trader who found Christ and wrote “Amazing Grace”; Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing; Betty Greene, a pioneer missionary pilot; Adoniram & Ann Judson, America’s first overseas missionaries; Amanda Smith, a former slave who became an evangelist; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Jim Elliot; Eric Liddell; Watchman Nee; Martin Luther; and, Luis Palau. These mini-biographies tell the stories of  educators, evangelists, writers, speakers, musicians, explorers, advocates for social change and peacemakers. It is beautiful to see the variety of people God uses and the unique opportunities each life affords for service.

At the end of each story is a saying about faith, such as the one at the end of a story about Gladys Aylward, “Confidence is being sure that God will help you do His work even when people think you can’t do it.”  Each saying is followed by a scripture quote and a set of questions for the reader’s reflection. The questions help children think through the ideas brought out in the story, how the people apply faith to life.

Such books can inspire young people to respond to God’s call on their lives.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

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