Thursday, 4 April 2013

Six favourite resources for teaching children about church history

I recently was asked about the resources for teaching children about church history and thought that I would share here.

Please note that I am writing from a Reformed and Protestant view point.

My favourite church history resource is "Sketches from church history-an illustrated account of 20 centuries of Christ's power" by SM Houghton and published by Banner of Truth.  It isn't  specifically written for children, however, the author was a history teacher in a Welsh grammar school, some years ago-he retired in 1960. The children in the school would have been 11-18 and it would certainly be accessible for this age group. I have used it with my son when he was aged 10 and it could be read to slightly younger children. The chapters are quite short and most pages have illustrations. This book is worth having for adults in the family if the children are too young. 

It covers from the early church until the end of the nineteenth century, mainly in Europe and North America. 

Christian Focus produce some helpful biographies aimed at children. The trailblazers series is aimed at older children (the website says teens but I think that most could be managed from aged 9). There are one or two that I wouldn't, personally, have chosen to write about but generally, a useful series. I have written, in more detail, about  the Trailblazers biographies of Billy Bray and Eric Liddell.

They also do a series for younger children which has a biography of Martin Luther. This series is said to be for 8-12s but I think it would be a little young for this age group. These are picture book biographies. My 4 and 6 year old have enjoyed the Luther book.

Louise Vernon has written historical fiction about William Tyndale called "The Bible Smuggler." This brings Tyndale's story to life and is appropriate for older children, probably from 10.

Heritage Reformed has some beautiful books about the reformers and others
I've looked at the Lady Jane Grey book in detail and was impressed.

The Time Travellers club books are designed for children probably 7-12 around various figures in church history. Here in the UK, there is an actual club, with mailings every couple of months but the books do seem to be available in the US. My 12 year old really enjoyed using these books.

Writing this has made me realise how little I know about church history in Africa and Asia. If anyone can recommend any books I would be delighted.

Do pop over to the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew site for other posts on books.


  1. My kids are a little younger, so we haven't read many of the books that you mention here. Have you seen the picture book biographies by Sinclair Ferguson & RC Sproul also has a Martin Luther picture book biography.

    I haven't seen the Heritage Reformed series. I'll have to check it out!

  2. No, I haven't seen these. Thank you for the tip-I will look them out.