Tales of the Defended Ones by Beth Guckenberger is a "collection of fictionalized stories based on the real lives of 5 children around the world. Each of these children intersect with Christians who have been called by the Storyweaver to help."
After reading Tales of the Defended Ones I knew that it is a book to be read by my daughters. Considering the painful realities of these stories, I found it best to read them aloud, and to discuss the issues with my daughters as part of our morning devotions.
The message of the book is clear, but the layout of the information makes the book challenging as a read aloud. Finally I decided to read the "child's story" and leave the book with green and orange bookmarks so the children could look at the pictures and read the additional information.
Since beginning the book with my daughters, we have become aware of children in our community with common storylines to one or more of the children featured in Tales of the Defended Ones. This has opened the door for deeper conversations, and sweet times of prayer as we grow in deeper understanding of the issues behind actions and words.
As we read the stories of the children, I prayed often about Jorani's story. There is more information in that story than I wanted to read with my children. On the day we read it, I found it best to read the beginning, and then switch to Scripture to describe the horrors Jorani faced. My daughters were instructed to open their Bibles to Romans 1 and I asked them, what are the common sins in the different New Testament lists of sins? Their answers, sexual immorality, greed, dishonesty. From there we read verses 21-24 and briefly discussed how refusing to acknowledge God as God and give thanks to him, hearts are darkened and sin take over. Most individual "sin" is always followed by or closely tied to other "sin".
From there we read the part of the story where the rescuers come in. As we wrapped up the story we read Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11 and Zephaniah 3:16, 17. I encouraged my daughters with the reminder that through our sponsorship of children through Compassion International, we are defending children from the heart ache of Jorani. And through our letters, we can share the hope we find in the above passages.
Tales of the Defended Ones is classified as Juvenile Fiction and is part of the Storyweaver Series. Recently I found Tales of the Forgotten Ones, also by Beth Guckenberger, in Mardel with a DVD leader's guide. In the same area was the Vacation Bible School packages that her ministry created. I am very blessed to have been able to review this book and read about Beth's ministry. I hope you will check it out!