Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold

Over the years we have read and been inspired by several biographies from YWAM Publishing. It started years ago when we read, George Mueller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans. Most recently we had the opportunity to review Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold and the corresponding Unit Study Curriculum Guide: Eric Liddell.

You can learn more about YWAM Publishing on their About Us page.

My children were familiar with many of the inspiring missionaries in the the Christian Heroes Then and Now series.  Betty Greene, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Gladys Alward, Adoniram Judson, David Livingstone are all familiar names. When I had the opportunity to select which person I wanted to share with my children I chose the selection Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold. None of my children were familiar with Mr. Liddell as a Olympic medalist or a missionary.

Something Greater than Gold takes us through Mr. Liddell’s life from his childhood with missionary parents in China, to boarding school, college, the Olympics, and traveling himself to China. My children were struck by the reality of life as a missionary during the early 1900’s.  Once Eric reached school age (5) he had to leave his parents behind and spend over ten years away from them. Thankfully he had an older brother at school with him. We had a great discussion on how challenging this must have been as a parent and a child.

The character of Eric Liddell is clearly shown from the beginning. Despite his shy, quiet manner he was willing to speak in front of any crowd to share Christ. No matter if an Olympic gold was on the line, he would not back down from his observance of Sunday as the Lord’s Day.  Even when showered with much admiration and fame, he left it all to serve those in need in China.

While this would have worked well as independent reading, I chose to read it aloud during our morning group time. I simple added it to my stack to grab each morning. Some days I read a bit at lunch. One thing I really appreciate about these books is that they appeal to a wide audience. From my seven year old and up we all are engaged and interested to see how the lives will unfold before us.

Unit Study Curriculum Guide: Eric Liddell presents several ideas and activities to take this missionary biography into all areas of learning. Memory verses, display suggestions, essay questions, hands on projects and more are put together for you in an easy to use resource. Perhaps you have a child whose learning style means that he needs to make a papier-mache model of China and mark where Eric lived.  Essay questions such as, “explain the ways that that various wars impact Eric Liddell’s life”, work perfectly for the older student. This essay question alone brings history and writing skills into play.

I chose to use the unit study guide informally. As we are reading through the text, I like to preview the chapter questions from the unit study guide. This helps me to remember some key points or issue we might want to discuss afterward. Generally our casual narrations after reading cover everything but sometimes important things get overlooked.

Answers to the chapter questions are provided in the back on the unit study guide. If you chose to use these Christian biographies for independent study, it is easy for you to check comprehension and understanding with the chapter questions.

With a large world map on the wall, it is not uncommon for my children to locate places we read about. The unit study guide provides a quick reference of key places in Eric’s life. This helps to make a little geography/map study easy to incorporate.

While we as a homeschool family enjoyed Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold, YWAM’s Christians biographies and unit study guides would work beautifully in a group setting: homeschool co-op, Bible study class, Sunday School classes, etc.

There are so many great people to learn about through YWAM Publishing. Take a peek at what other Crew members have been reading!

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Black Dove, White Raven

Black Dove, White Raven is the latest young adult fiction novel by Elizabeth Wein. Once again Wein grips us with the story of two young people facing challenging circumstances. After a stunt flying accident, Emilia and Teo become more than friends; they become sister and brother. Teo’s mom dies in the plane accident and Rhoda (Emilia’s mom) takes him as her adopted son. In the 1930s such an act of love was not widely accepted as Emilia is white and Teo is black.

To fulfill the dream of Teo’s mother, Rhoda brings Emilia and Teo to Ethiopia, the home of Teo’s deceased father. Here there was hope that the color of her children’s skin would not be an issue for their family. Emilia and Teo both come to love the land of Ethiopia, a beautiful, peaceful country. Things quickly change when Italy threatens war.

The war becomes personal for Emilia and Teo as they are both unwillingly drawn into the conflict. What does this war mean for their lives in Ethiopia? Will their family be torn apart? What will Teo’s Ethiopian heritage mean for his future?

I must make a confession. I attempted to read Black Dove, White Raven several times. I would read a page or two and put it to the side. For some reason the story was not engaging me or capturing my interest. Then I told myself to trust the author. Wein had weaved a beautiful, bittersweet story in Code Name: Verity and Rose Under Fire. Their stories were complete so I needed to shift my mind to a new story.

As I picked up the book again, I found myself gently pulled into Emilia’s and Teo’s lives. This book leads you a bit slower with a gentle pull to the depths of Emilia and Teo. This slower paced pull flows beautifully with the the land of Ethiopia during this time period. Before you realize it, their story has gripped you. And not just their story but the Ethiopian people as well. In all my studies and readings in history, this war between Ethiopia and Italy in the 1930s had never been encountered. My view of Ethiopia has been challenged and broaden by Black Dove, White Raven.

I definitely recommend adding this to your To Be Read pile or as a good addition for history readings for your teen. All three of my teens read Black Dove, White Raven (16, 15, & 13). My two daughters were familiar with Wein’s writings and agree that this is another well done book. My son’s reading of Black Dove was his first encounter with Wein’s writings and he was left speechless when he was done. Thank you Elizabeth Wein for another amazing read.

Have your read Black Dove, White Raven? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


FishFlix – Unbroken – A Review

Movie Nights are a favorite in our home. You can’t go wrong with popcorn, a cold drink, comfy seats and a good movie with the family. However, it can be challenging to find movies that meet our family standards especially with a wide range of ages. We discovered Christian Movies to Inspire and Entertain and had the opportunity to review the film, Unbroken – 2 DVD Legacy of Faith Edition.

FishFlix is an online Christian movie store that offers a variety of films. From documentaries to the latest Christian releases, everyone can find something to enjoy.

The movie Unbroken shares a portion of the life of Louie Zamperini, an amazing story of dedication, perseverance, character, redemption, and grace. Unbroken shares various stages of Louie’s life: wild and trouble-filled childhood, Olympic dreams in the 1936 Olympics, and serving as a bombardier aboard a B-24 in WWII. Life takes a terrifying turn for Louie when the Green Hornet (B-24) crashes during a rescue mission. Louie and two other crew members (Phil and Mac) were the only survivors. Louie and Phil survive 47 days on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean until they are found by the Japanese. Louie spent two years in Japanese prisoner camps and was tortured brutally. The ending of WWII freed Louie from the prisoner camps and he returned home a hero.

Unbroken has a brief scene of male nudity when Louie is first captured by the Japanese. FishFlix has blurred the male actors for more appropriate viewing for families. The content was not edited in any other way.

The Unbroken Legacy Faith Edition contains a second DVD that shares the rest of Louie’s story through interviews with Louie. The film Unbroken ends when Louie returns home but there was so much more to Louie’s story. Nightmares, alcohol, revenge, anger, and despair became Louie’s world. Until one evening during a Billy Graham crusade, Louie realized that his life had been in the Lord’s hands all those years and he was changed.

This second DVD (90 minutes)  contains interviews by Greg Laurie, CBN, and The Billy Graham Evangelical Association that have Louie sharing his story of faith and forgiveness. Angelina Jolie, director of the film, Unbroken, also shares about the impression Louie made on her.

Unbroken and Our Home

In preparation for viewing this film, I decided to read the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. This is a common practice in our home: book before movie. We had decided that only our older children (13 and up) would be viewing this film due to the mature theme. My daughters, 16 and 15, opted to view Unbroken later since they currently do not have time to read the book. My son (13) read the book and watched the movie along with my husband and myself.

Overall, I think Unbroken was well done. There were so many aspects of Louie’s experience during the war to share that it had to be challenging to decide what to highlight. It is so very hard to translate emotions, experiences, and struggles from life to film. As Louie’s generation passes away, it is so crucial to remember their lives and the impact they have on us. Movies such as Unbroken help us to remember.

I liked the movie. They did a good job of portraying the life in prison camp. They left out the important facts of his life after the war like his marriage and believing in Christ. I think you need to read the book and watch the movie so you get the full story and details.. Caleb – 13

After learning Louie’s story, we were all eager to watch the interviews with Louie and hear him share of his experiences and faith. While we did enjoy hearing Louie speak, it was a bit disappointing. The three interviews provided presented basically the same information so viewing just one interview was all that was necessary. I wasn’t impressed with certain interviewers and would have appreciated a bit of editing to have more focus on Louie.

I enjoyed the movie’s depiction of Louie’s life.. I appreciated the editing of nudity that Fishflix provided. While I enjoyed the interviews I think that editing would have benefited the flow of content and better shared Louie’s story and faith. Eddie – 45

If you have not seen Unbroken, I would recommend this Legacy of Faith edition. I know you will walk away inspired by Louie.

Other Schoolhouse Reviewers reviewed Unbroken Legacy of Faith edition as well as other selections from FishFlix. If you enjoy a good movie, take a moment to see what others have to say. Review

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