Monday, July 22, 2013

Patricia St John

Today’s author to read aloud is Patricia St John. St John (1919-1993) was a Christian woman who worked much of her life as a missionary nurse in Morocco. Her great gift was telling children about Jesus in a way they understood and was appropriate, yet without dumbing down gospel truths.

Having not grown up with these books, I had no idea they existed until a dear friend told me about them. We have since bought 6 of them and I have read 2 to our older children (Treasures of the Snow and Rainbow Garden).  They have worked our children in age range 7-11.

These books are a delight to read aloud. They are full of rich descriptive imagery, realistic characters, serious situations and the gospel. Children have to make real choices with serious consequences, these are not light situations. In Treasures of the Snow an older boy is responsible for an accident which permanently injures a younger boy, whose sister now hates him with a vengeance. Both must decide when presented with the truths of the gospel how they will respond – will they seek forgiveness? Will they seek restoration of the relationship? Will they try to fix what has gone wrong?

In both books we read, there were some excellent adult role models who were able to explain the gospel clearly to children and in each case, living in faith meant serious changes to the child’s life and attitude. I found myself choked up reading sections of both books, especially when the children accepted Christ as their Saviour.

My friend gave me a hint with these – just start reading them to your kids and wait until they get hooked, it takes a couple of chapters. I think the realism yet difference to their own world draws them in and they realise these are serious issues being presented. My eldest two loved these and I will continue to read St John’s books to them in the future. They are perfect for having conversations about the gospel and how it changes lives so therefore they are definitely books to read to your children, rather than give them to read alone.

Update 2016:

We have now read Star of Light, The Mystery of Pheasant Cottage, Where the River Begins, and I Needed a Neighbour.  All of these have been excellent, although Star of Light has been a clear favourite with all of us.  We have also since discovered two books aimed at a much younger audience (~5-7), Friska my Friend and The Other Kitten - these are simpler stories with animals, still good and address how to think about loving others.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the reminder Wendy. I have bought Treasures in the Snow on your recommendation but it is still sitting in a pile beside my bed. Will start it tonight.
We prayed for your family at church yesterday, but the person didn't say what we were praying for. I hope you are all doing well.

I am enjoying your book reviews. I enjoyed Marta's Legacy also.


Tamie said...

Enjoying this series Wendy! I'm a fan of Patricia St John because she treats kids as thinkers and Christians in their own right.

We read aloud 'Nothing Else Matters' which is for a slightly older audience than 'Treasures in the Snow' but was an early, empathetic introduction for me to the way religion, culture and war interact in the Middle East.

Wendy said...

Hi Amellia,

I suspect it was because MYC is this week - so perhaps it was for the uni ministry!

Hope you enjoy Treasures of the Snow.