Christian Books for Families
by Arnold Ytreeide
"Because We Believe in a God who Loves Us All"
Jotham's Journey Christmas Series
"We've been reading this series of books for many years. Each year my husband thinks that we'll do something different, after all our oldest is 27 and our youngest just turned 13, but the kids beg to read one of these books."
Jotham's Journey is a series of four adventure books for families to read together during the four weeks before Christmas. Most families read one each year, then repeat -- by the time they read a book the second or third time, the children are four years older and it's a completely new story to them.
It all starts when Jotham, a ten-year-old shepherd boy, runs away from home. It ends four books later when Ishtar, ten-year-old Prince of Persia, discovers a strange star in the sky that leads his father's caravan to a tiny stable in Bethlehem.
All four ten-year-olds -- Jotham, Bartholomew, Tabitha, and Ishtar -- take families on treacherous adventures as they search for their parents, fight off Roman soldiers and temple guards, escape from slavery and face lethal deserts. Along the way they learn the true message of the Messiah, and learn to live the true meaning of the first Christmas.
The four books are not sequels. They cover the same time period from four different perspectives as the lives of the heroes intertwine.
Each is divided into a chapter for each night of Advent, and each chapter ends with a short devotional that leads families through the truths illustrated in the stories.
A family favorite since 1996, Jotham's Journey and its companion books prepare you and your children for the celebration of the Christ child.
> "For what ages do you recommend these books?"
- That depends a lot on the children. These stories are not set in a fantasy land -- they take place in the real and cruel world into which Jesus was born. The violence isn't terribly graphic, but it's probably not appropriate for children under six -- older for very sensitive children. However, they can easily be read to children younger than that if the reader does a little "editing" on the fly, and reads around the more intense portions.
> "In what order should the books be read?"
- The stories were written in the order shown at left: Jotham, Bartholomew, Tabitha, Ishtar. That's probably the best order to read them, but in reality it doesn't really matter. The stories intertwine but each stands alone, so you can start wherever you'd like.
>"Do families read all four at once?"
- We've heard from some fans who like to literally read all four stories at the same time. However, the vast majority read one book each year. As your children hear a story the second or third time they're four years older than the last time they heard it -- in effect, it's a whole new adventure for them.
A ten-year-old shepherd boy gets mad at his father and runs away from home. Getting back again can be deadly, but along the way he learns the story of the Messiah and ends up in Bethlehem.
Separated from his family when Roman soldiers ransack the town, Bartholomew soon finds himself sold into slavery. Here he must reconcile his belief in Jehovah with the cruelty of men.
Always one for adventures beyond what a girl is supposed to enjoy, Tabitha goes with her father to rescue a boy named Jotham. She finds herself lost and alone when Romans arrest her father.
Perfectly happy with the pampered and spoiled life he lives as a Prince of Persia, Ishtar doesn't realize all that will change when he sees a strange star. Suddenly he's on a rough and smelly caravan led by his father, the Chief Magi of the Sheik. DETAILS & EXTRAS
Companion Book for Easter
It's thirty years later and Jotham's son is trapped in a race to save his father's life, as well as a man with amazing words named Jesus. Like the Advent/Christmas series, Amon is intended to be read together by families in the weeks leading up to Easter, but is a great adventure, and a great lesson, at any time of the year, even if you read it all alone!
Book #6 in the series
After Jesus ascends to heaven, Amon witnesses -- and helps shape -- the birth of the new church, all while trying to bring his friend Saul into "The Way" of Jesus. Available late 2022.