Author: Simonetta Carr
Illustrator: Emanuele Taglietti
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
Publisher’s Intended Audience: Ages 9-12
Summary: This Christian biography for young readers is a chapter book about the life of the reformer John Calvin. The book begins by telling the reader about Calvin’s early life and his time in law school. The next several chapters tell of Calvin’s determination to write about and preach about his beliefs about the church and about being a disciple of Christ. The final chapter tells of the time leading up to his death. A time life of Calvin’s life is included as well as facts about the time period in which he lived.
Literary elements at work in the story: The genre of the story, biography, is of primary importance. Most children in the Presbyterian Church do not know about the heritage from which the church was born. They may hear John Calvin’s name mentioned but have no understanding of who he was or what he believed. This book is put together so that a child can gain a basic understanding of Calvin’s life. It is important for the church to educate their children (and adults too) about the history of the church and of Christianity in an understandable way. This biography seeks to do just that and is the beginning of a series of biographies that will be written for young readers about important people in the Christian tradition.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: None of these perspectives are specifically addressed in this book. It focuses on Calvin’s establishment of the church in Geneva and his beliefs many of which are still embraced in the church today.
Scripture: Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 119:105, Hebrews 12:1-2
Faith Talk Questions (Intended for use with ages 7 -10):
- Why did John Calvin disagree with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?
- Why do you think the author chose “A dangerous faith” as the title for Chapter 2?
- Is it dangerous to be a Christian today? In what ways?
- Why were Calvin and William Farel asked to leave Geneva?
- On pg. 39 the author writes that Calvin decides to return to Geneva because “he does not belong to himself”. What does this phrase mean?
- What did John Calvin most want people to understand about the Christian faith?
- What can we learn from Calvin about what it means to be a faithful disciple of Christ in the world today?
Prepared by Marcia A. Rauch, MACE, Entering cohort – 2006
John Calvin by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.