Monday, October 19, 2009

TOS Crew Review -- Sarah Books


Throughout history in times marked by deception and evil, we also often hear stories of amazing faith and expressions of God's love.

In the Sarah Books, author Jim Baumgardner, weaves such a tale. With characters based on real people, ancestors of his, the story quickly plunges the reader into the world of early America when slaves sought freedom and slave catchers did as they pleased.

Many brave individuals risked personal safety to put their fellow man's basic rights first. With joy and sorrow, bravery and fear, discouragement and success, we race alongside Sarah as she seeks fulfillment to her wish and learns ultimately to leave it in God's hands.

Product: Sarah's Wish, the first in a series
Description: Historical fiction book, 123 pages long. About a 12 year old girl living in 1858 and working on the underground railroad.
Cost: $9.99 (free S&H)
(other books in the series are available as well, for a bit more as they are longer books)

What we loved . . .
  • This book sketches characters with depth and clarity.
  • Jim Baumgardner portrays the evil of slavery side by side with the choice by many to show God's love in the face of such a challenge.
  • Like any quality piece of historical fiction, it leaves you pondering the line between truth and fiction in its pages and brings to life a bygone time.
  • Sarah's Wish gives glimpses into life in 1858 and defines terms that a modern reader may not be familiar with.
  • The book comes autographed (as long as you order through his site and not through Amazon), and ours had a code for a free download of an audio book as well.

Cautions . . .

  • You will probably get hooked. This one is hard to put down, especially in some places. The end of a chapter just gives you time to catch your breath before you're driven on to find out what happens next.
  • If you start reading it on your own, or out loud together, you might not be able to take advantage of the audio book. It is well done, but once they were used to "my" voices, they couldn't switch readers. :-)
  • Two people die in this book. Don't worry, that's not some big plot buster that I just threw in there, but I did pre-read the first chapter and decided to paraphrase it for my varied aged children. It isn't an overly gory description, but I didn't feel my kids needed to know too much beyond, "She died." The butterflies are significant to the story, so I read about that, but skipped some of the narration of her mother's passing that I thought might be too much for young ears.
  • The slave business wasn't pretty, and although the book doesn't go into great detail, you can't talk about slavery and write a book for very small children to enjoy at the same time. We had some weighty conversations through the book and reminders of this awful practice.

I would definitely recommend these books, (well at least the first one, but I would expect the others bring more of the same) just not for a very young or sensitive audience. And, the author is quite a gentleman to work with. He works to stay connected to his past and even volunteers at a living history museum. He hand autographs each book ordered through his site and his grandfatherliness comes through in his writing. The only downside, now we have to wait for the next book to find out how the story continues.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge from Sarah Books as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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