Book Reviews & Extras - Missionary books

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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Book Reviews & Extras - Missionary books

Unread post by TNLisa »

Trailblazer books
Hebronmommy wrote:Has anyone used the Trailblazer books?
Hi! In ECC, we did YWAM books as read alouds, and my 3rd grader read a couple of the Trailblazer ones on her own for free reading. However you want to do it is great - but I don't recommend skipping the YWAM books --- they are GREAT!
Homeschooling since 2005!
Kim in MI
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Trailblazer books

Unread post by Kim in MI »

My daughter has read some of them on her own. The Trailblazer books are based on true happenings, but are not completely factual. The author does make note of some differences at the beginning of the books. They seem to be a bit more exciting as they are written in a story format rather than as a biography.

My daughter (age 10) just said that the Trailblazer books focus more on a person in the missionary's life rather than the missionary him/herself. She didn't feel that they are a good replacement for the ECC biographies, but she enjoys reading them. She would say to read both, but then she loves to read and be read to.

This has been our experience.
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Unread post by Willow »

My dd wanted to know more about Samuel Morris (we read about him in Hero Tales) so I got the Trailblazer book about him from the library. She was disappointed because the book did not focus on Samuel but rather on another person in his life. We both wish YWAM had written a biography about Samuel Morris.
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Unread post by Mommyto3boys »

I did trailblazer stories on some of the missionary stories. I read aloud Cameron Townsend and my ds8 enjoyed it, but ds5 and ds3 who were listening in did not enjoy this book. So I decided to find other books. They all enjoyed the trailblazer stories. I read all the missionary stories on my own. I figure my dc will get more out of them when we cycle back to ECC.


Debbie in NC
Mom to 3 ds (9, 6.25, and 3.9) and 1 dd (15 mo.)

The Little Woman -Gladys Aylward movie?

Unread post by cbollin »

Julie in MN wrote:We will probably watch the movie Inn of Sixth Happiness this year. I was thinking that was based on the Little Woman book, which was around long before the WYAM one?
as with any movie made from a book..... be ready for artistic changes in the plot....

but we enjoyed the movie all the same and my oldest could follow the Russian dialogue on the train for that one scene.

Julie in MN
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Anyone read The Little Woman -Gladys Aylward's autobiography

Unread post by Julie in MN »

hsmom wrote:Anyone read The Little Woman -Gladys Aylward's autobiography? This one is actually written by Gladys Aylward if I understand correctly. I don't think I am going to do the Benge one just yet. Its a tough one, but fabulous, so I do want to do it down the road. I think I am going to go to Missionary stories with the Millers after amy Carmichael. I have a feeling The Little Woman will be just as intense if not more so, but thought maybe someone might have some insight. I guess I shld just be patient until I receive it.
Wow, I'll have to look for that one, too. I'm sure lots of folks will enjoy reading Gladys's own words.

We read the YWAM one -- did you get to read that one? I was thinking I've seen the book you mention & it is a little more grown-up? Smaller typeface and such? But I could be thinking of a different one.

The things we learned from the YWAM one had to do with the fact that even someone that other missionaries thought couldn't be successful could contribute in a huge way to God's kingdom. My son thought her "hotel" type of mission was very interesting (and sometimes funny!), and really got to understand the "bound feet" issue in China -- well, and generally how much people need Christ. Plus, without being too much of a spoiler, Gladys had an amazing influence on, well, influential people. There were, of course, a few icky things she faced, because realistically her life was not just a cakewalk. But I don't remember more than a few sentences about such realities, although it's been a while for us. I do know that Gladys was YWAM's first biography and really inspired!

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The Little Woman -Gladys Aylward's autobiography

Unread post by hsmom »

Postby hsmom » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:27 pm
I just received this book from Interlibrary loan. I am only about 60 pages into and I love it so far. It is written in the first person like an autobiography, though a google search says something like G.A's life story as told to Christine hunter. The cover says by Gladys Aylward with Christine Hunter. So far it is very, very good and I think less intense than the Benge book, though I have a lot left to read, so the jury's still out on that one.

Here's a tiny snippet to give you a taste:
  • "I have been a wicked woman, Ai-weh-deh," she sobbed, "but I want to be different. Teach me how to live for the Jesus you talk and sing about. Ask him to forgive my sins and give me peace."
  • Together we knelt down and prayed to the loving Savior who had seen this poor woman's misery, and soon she was radiant with joy.
Postby hsmom » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:03 am
OK, now I have finished the book, so I thought I would update. I really like this book. I've decided that I will read this one to my son. I'm not sure if it is less intense than the Benge book, or if it was just that I already knew what would happen this time so maybe it didn't feel as intense.

One of the things I really like about The Little Woman is that it really emphasizes that she is there to tell people that Jesus died for our sins and that by believing in him we are forgiven and made new.... Not just a generic mention of "sharing the gospel." I also love that it is from her perspective.

I hope some of you will search it out and read it. I would love to have others opinions on it too.
Julie in MN
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More Africa missionary stories?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I was trying to think of another YWAM book we have about Africa and I just can't think of one.

One thought was to sort-of do the reverse and read "Heroes in Black History" (one of the Hero Tales books), which is about important African-AMERICANS, but at least it would honor those who migrated from Africa???
TriciaMR wrote:Wasn't Mary Slessor in Africa?
I just looked it up and, yes, she was in present-day Nigeria! We haven't read that one yet, but seeing the derth of African missionaries we've apparently not read about, maybe we should...

Also, wasn't there a guy in Hero Tales who was both from and to Africa -- Samuel Morris? Wonder if there's a good book out there about him?
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Re: More Africa missionary stories?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

She might be good for Africa. She didn't travel around like David Livingstone, though.

David Livingstone worked more on exploring. He did share with some of the tribes, but I think his big picture was maps. He also wasn't judgmental about their practices of polygamy and didn't try to change the tribes.

Mary Slessor stayed in one place and was mostly focused on children, abandoned children, I think. I would say she is more along the lines of Amy Carmichael in her focus. (We have the "young reader" version of Mary Slessor, so some details may have been glossed over, and there was some info about her in the Hero Tales book.)

Samuel Morris - yeah, that was an amazing story from Hero Tales. I don't know if there are any good biographies on him.

So those would be some options for more Missionary Stories for Africa.

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Re: More Africa missionary stories?

Unread post by sixtimemom »

We had already read both Lillian the Trasher and David Livingstone stories in previous years. My children asked to read Lillian again.
LSH in MS wrote:Here is a good biography on Samuel Morris. It is an amazing story. Samuel Morris by W. Terry Whalin
I'd love to get my hands on the biography of Samuel Morris. When I read about him in Hero Tales I was intrigued to know more. I think I will order it so we can read it as a read aloud our last couple weeks of school.
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Re: More Africa missionary stories?

Unread post by doubleportion »

Mary Slessor- Forward into Calabar by Janet & Geoff Benge would be another option. She would be a missionary to West Africa.

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Re: More Africa missionary stories?

Unread post by BHelf »

I received the latest YWAM Publishing catalog yesterday and wanted to list the biographies they have of missionaries to Africa. I haven't read these (other than the David Livingstone one) so I can't tell you if these people will be ones you want to call Heroes to your child or not. :)
  • Mary Slessor: Forward into Calabar
  • David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer
  • Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt
  • Rowland Bingham: Into Africa's Interior
  • C.T. Studd: No Retreat (missionary to China, India and Central Africa)

Hope that helps someone! I'm glad to know of others from Africa as well that have been mentioned on this thread--not for my kids but for me! LOL...I love reading these! :)
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Unread post by cbollin »

With all of the discussions recently (and over the years) on which missionary books to use, well,
I just wanted to share my review of a book (and series) that was recommended as a substitute. beauty of homeschooling -- do what works, tweak, etc.

Sometimes people mention using the trailblazers series for younger kids. Everyone who shared that seems so happy happy joy joy about those. My library had the Nate Saint trailblazer. So I excited to grab that off the shelf. wow, after reading it , I came away with a very different opinion and not a glowing review of these compared to the YWAM biographies. They are written by the same folks that did Hero Tales. I liked that book. Just goes to show that you shouldn't feel married to a specific author. ;)

1. Those aren't biographies. They are historical fiction based on true events. that's going to change how the books impact.
2. The "nate saint" based one was very confusing to read -- unless you knew already who Nate, Jim and the others were, you had no introduction to these people, or how/why they decided to serve God. it was an interesting adventure story to read, but you certainly don't get the build up in enjoying their lives, or seeing that maybe someday you could do something like that. It really reads like a fiction story to me even with the note at the beginning to confirm it: Niwa is a real name but is a fictional character in the story. Now I don't object to the idea of "fictional character who helps to reveal accurate historical events" -- but, this book wasn't doing a great job, in my opinion.
Then to close with Steve and Kathy Saint's story -- it just didn't make any sense, and I knew the story! and another part of the ending almost made sense, but I'm not sure.

I might toss it in book basket after finishing the biography, but I don't think I would substitute it for the biography. Part of using biographies is to inspire my child that they can grow up to do stuff.

so... so, to each his own, right? I just figure since everyone else gets to say why they don't like the YWAM books, I wanted to say why I prefer them, and didn't share the same happy happy story on the trailblazer historical fiction series as a substitute for the real biographies. I don't object to the genre of historical fiction. I just didn't like the trailblazer version of that story.

just another opinion out there. we're all different.
LA in Baltimore
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Re: Trailblazers

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

Thanks for sharing your input.
We do need to remember that Historical Fiction is just that...FICTION.
It can help us understand a time period or person in history, but will never replace a biography or autobiography of that person.
I think it is very helpful to hear both sides of any conversation.
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Missionary Adventure Series

Unread post by jasntas »

schoolmom2 wrote:Has anyone read the missionary adventure series by Jim Cromarty and others? They are titled Himalayan Adventures, Outback Adventures, Rain Forest Adventures, etc. I found them at Grace & Truth Books, but there is not much of a description for each. I'm hoping to find someone who has read them and can give an opinion.

Thank you,
We have just begun to read the Rainforest Adventures book this summer. I have only gotten to about the 4th chapter but we have been enjoying the stories and how the missionary (Horace something, I forget and the book is downstairs) has compared his experiences to the Bible. We also have Amazon Adventures that is part 2 of the one we are reading.

I purchased these books a year or two ago but I never got around to reading them before now. I can't even remember how I was introduced to them.

I think they might be good books for book basket as they are not too difficult a read and the chapters are pretty short. I'm not sure what age they would be appropriate for as a reader since my ds is a struggling reader and it would not appeal to him at all to read these on his own. Yet he is really enjoying them and can't wait for me to read the next chapter each day. My dc love animals so this book has been very appealing to them both.

I would say that I wasn't sure how my dc were going to take the first story as it is about an anaconda that attacks one of the tribe members by biting him on the face as the man swam. The man does live to tell about it and there is a good moral to that story, which at this late hour seems to escape me. But the story is not extremely graphic yet is still adventurous and appealing to my 2 animal lovers.

I may add or change some of this tomorrow when I'm not so tired and thinking more clearly.

I hope this helps anyway. :~

Maybe someone else will be able to help as well.

Postby jasntas » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:52 pm
OK. I'm more awake now. Let's see if I can do any better. ;)

The writer and missionary of the two books I have is Horace Banner.

I would not call the book I'm currently reading high quality writing but still entertaining and true stories with a moral. A little like the Stories from Grandma's Attic series but with a missionary twist. (The Grandma stories were better writing, though).

The story I described earlier is actually in the second chapter. The chapters are not numbered and the first chapter is more of an introduction.

The man in the chapter ‘Serpent in the River’ was a boy, probably around 12 or so I'm guessing. He was always very daring and would swim in an area restricted by the other tribes people. Strange things would happen in that area. Strange splashes and gurgles had been heard at night, ducks would disappear off the surface and a dog had also gone missing in the area. One day while swimming in the area, the boy was attacked by an anaconda. The boy learned his lesson and the event was described as what can happen to us if we get too close to the edge of sin and how sin can leave a scar but Jesus can forgive us of those scars in our lives. all we need to do is ask.

This was obviously a paraphrase and not a very good one.

I do like the book so far and as I mentioned before, I think they would probably be good book basket books. I think I would only buy one or two and decide before investing in all of them, though.

I don't know how much help this was but there it is. :~ :)

BTW, these books are $5.99 on

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Re: Missionary Adventure Series

Unread post by schoolmom2 »

Thank you so much for your reply! I think they would be a good fit for my dc, too. Especially the oldest, who is an animal lover. It is hard buying something without being able to peruse it myself, so I am thankful for your run-down on the content!

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YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by cefcdana »

Yeah!!! I won a free Christian Hereoes: Then and Now book at my local Homeschool conference! I get to choose whichever title I'd prefer. I haven't read any of them and have three girls - ages 5, 6, and 7. Are they age appropriate for this age group? Any votes on which one to get????

Just in case you need the list:

Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime (I haven't read it yet but I do have this one)
Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer
Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China
Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems
Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den
Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold
William Carey: Obliged to Go
George Müller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans
Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose
Mary Slessor: Forward Into Calabar
David Livingstone: Africa's Trailblazer
Betty Greene: Wings to Serve
Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma
Cameron Townsend: Good News in Every Language
Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China
Lottie Moon: Giving Her All for China
John Williams: Messenger of Peace
William Booth: Soup, Soap, and Salvation
Rowland Bingham: Into Africa's Interior
Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Healing Hearts
Wilfred Grenfell: Fisher of Men
Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt
Loren Cunningham: Into All the World
Florence Young: Mission Accomplished
Sundar Singh: Footprints Over the Mountains
C.T. Studd: No Retreat
Rachel Saint: A Star in the Jungle
Brother Andrew: God's Secret Agent
Count Zinzendorf: First Fruit
Clarence Jones: Mr. Radio
John Wesley: The World His Parish
C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller
David Bussau: Facing the World Head-on
Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies
Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World
Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender
D.L Moody: Bringing Souls to Christ
Paul Brand: Helping Hands

Re: YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by cbollin »

hmm... oldest is age 7? hmmm.....

in ECC the following ones are used...
Cam Townsend
Nate Saint

EX1850: William Carey.

1850MOD: Corrie ten Boom
Hudson Taylor
Brother Andrew

you might want to read a bit more in the ecc archives [handling delicate topics] [younger siblings] [questions]

we liked all of the ones in mfw.. hmm.. my oldest was 8 when we started ECC the first time and I found we summarized in some parts.

I have an idea... Get the one that sounds the most interesting to YOU and get the gift for you. Not for the children. Find someone that you will enjoy reading their story for yourself.

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Re: YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by gratitude »

My ds8 has read a lot of the Heros for Young Readers, which is different since they aren't the full story like the big one that you have won. Of these 'easier/gentle versions' he said his favorites were Alyward & C.S. Lewis.

Of the larger version I read Muller when my boys were 7& 5. They loved it. So did I. It does come along in ECC though if you don't want to pre-read it. I did skip the first 4 chapters with that age group.

Eric LIddell is another of my favorites. D.L. Moody too.

Congratulations! :-)
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Lillian Thrasher

Unread post by MelissaB »


Our dd has read over 20 of the YWAM Hero bios since being introduced to them last year in ECC.

She recommends Lillian Thrasher. It's the most interesting, and no content you might have to "explain" to that age range, 5-7.

But get ready for tears .... the good kind. :)

Enjoy! -
Melissa B.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
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Julie in MN
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Re: YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Depending on whether you plan to get Deluxe sets most years, some of those will already be in your MFW packages (I guess Crystal listed those for you already!). So, you might not want to use up your prize on those? Or maybe you do?

If you want something not already included in MFW, here are a few extras we enjoyed in ECC in 3rd grade. I think my son was 9 and 10 that year?
  • Wilfred Grenfell (stuck in the ice of Canadian islands)
  • Florence Young (navigating the islands near New Zealand)
  • Jim Elliot we read this after Nate Saint)
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Re: YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by BHelf »

They are all good. :) My kids really loved George Mueller a lot. And they liked C.S. Lewis, too.
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Re: YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by 4littlehearts »

We have only read the ones in the MFW ECC package and also right now as a family we are reading Corrie Ten Boom ( better for a more mature audience), but my all-time favorite is Gladys Aylward, and coming in close second, George Mueller. Of course we have only read just a fraction of the ones you listed, so I am sure there are other many good ones too. This thread is good because then I can help to decide from you ladies which one to purchase and read to my kids after Corrie Ten Boom.
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Re: YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now

Unread post by cefcdana »

Thanks everyone! I just love this forum!

I appreciate all the help and thoughts. I think we will go with Lillian Trasher as I've heard good things about it AND it might work for my girls' ages.

I'm looking forward to it...and reading the rest in ECC- George Muller is also very tempting!

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I Dared To Call Him Father...

Unread post by MelissaB »

extrafor6 wrote:Hi all,
My dd 10 is mature for her age and I was wondering if she might enjoy this book while we are studying Asia is ECC. She loves biographies, but I read this one was about a grown woman (as opposed to a young girl). I plan to interlibrary loan it, so I guess I could always read it if she isn't interested :) Just wanted to get thoughts and make sure the content isn't too intense.
Hi, Stephanie,

This is a powerful book, and our then-10 yr. old (now 11) learned a lot from it. I highly recommend it.

As for content, she and I read the book together, and I don't remember anything that I found questionable. There are intense moments, but nothing is violent or lascivious - just real-life situations that show how God strengthens us to be able to do courageous and amazing things.

If you were to look over it and find anything questionable, though, you can wait until Rome to Reformation. There'll be another good opportunity to study it, then, too.

Oh, and if you're familiar with Voice of the Martyrs, there's a book called Den of Infidels - a very powerful book filled with short 4-page stories about people of Iran coming to Christ.

Enjoy ECC! :-)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
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