David Livingstone(Christian Heroes: Then and Now series)
Written by: Janet and Geoff Benge
The story of the great African explorer David Livingstone. His boyhood days in Scotland are spent working in the mill, yet he longs for a different life. After years of hard work he becomes a missionary doctor and travels to Africa to contact tribes that have never seen a white man. The rest of his life is devoted to finding a way to reach the unreached in the heart of Africa.
This is one of the recommended reading books for My Father’s World’s Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum. We’ve read four books of this series out loud so far, and this one is by far my favorite. The story moves at a fast pace and I didn’t want to put it down. While some books in this series are overloaded with mundane details, this one wasn’t. We came to understand Livingstone’s internal conflict and intense drive that leads him to send his family back to a continent unfamiliar to them while he continues to explore Africa.
As a parent and teacher I felt the best parts of the book are the detailed portrayals of tribal chiefs. They are described as wise, intelligent, and respectable men.
I had one issue with the book, in that I really believe it should include a better map of his travels. I didn’t feel the one provided was useful at all. However, a simple google search brought up some very good ones.
This was a somewhat hard book for Lainey to follow. She still enjoyed it and got a lot out of the story, but if she were my oldest I may have chosen another book. I think it best suits 4th grade and up.
Grace’s Review (4th Grade): It was great. I got to know what some of the tribes were like.
Lainey’s Review (3rd Grade): I liked the whole book. I didn’t understand some of it, but I still liked it.
Christian Friendly: Yes.
Sensitive Readers: Caution
There is a brief reference to cannibalism (fortunately my kids didn’t ask…), and some discussion of destroyed villages and dead bodies that Livingstone discovers in his travels. The end also describes the embalming of his body. Lainey and Grace were a little grossed out but not upset over the details.
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