Everyone a Child Should Know by Clare Heath-Whyte

Cover Art for Everyone a Child Should Know by Clare Heath-Whyte
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Everyone a Child Should Know teaches that you can make a difference for Christ:

…whether you grow up rich or poor. (Amen!)
…in many professions. (Amen!)
…whether you are a man or a woman. (Amen!)
…whether or not you have a disability. (Amen!)
…only if you were born in Europe or the United States. (Wait... what?)
I was really excited to find a book with engaging, well-written mini-biographies of Christians. The illustrations are interesting and fun, each accompanied by a verse. The biographies start with questions that pull kids in. They hit on the many ways to serve Christ with our lives, appropriate for ages 3 to 8. My children wanted to read more. Of the 54 people profiled (two biographies feature couples), 19 are women – and all have changed the world for Christ.

For example, the biography of Adoniram Judson shows him in Burma (now Myanmar), quoting Psalm 22 about all nations worshiping God. After asking “who first told you about Jesus?” Heath-Whyte talks about Judson’s decision to go where “almost nobody had heard about Jesus at all.” This book doesn’t shy away from serious difficulties, either: “He was ill, he was put in prison, his wife died, his children died - but Adoniram kept going.” Heath-Whyte does a brilliant job of showing examples of perseverance, compassion, and hope. Our children (and we!) need to hear this.

While the individual biographies are good, as a whole, this volume is incomplete. More than half of the people profiled were born in the UK, with the rest being primarily from Europe or the US. There is not a single Christian profiled from Central America, South America, or Asia, where more than 60 percent of Christians live today. The only African Christian is Augustine of Hippo, from the 4th century. Only two of the biographies are of Black people, and everyone else is White. To have no profiles from the vast majority of the world ignores the reality that God’s kingdom includes people from “every tribe, tongue, language, and nation.”

Despite my reservations, this book is still a good way to introduce younger children to heroes of the faith. But it’s only a start. Pair it with other resources to better represent the body of Christ. Or, could we get Everyone a Child Should Know, Volume 2?

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