Reviewed by: David B. Carnes
William Carey: Expecting Great Thingss, by Linda Finlayson. CF4Kids, 2022. Paperback, 128 pages, $9.99. Reviewed by OP pastor David B. Carnes.
Growing up, my family had a collection of children’s biographies on Christian missionaries. Many hours were spent reading the stories of the various men and women God had used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. My wife and I desire to instill this same culture in our own family. This was in the back of my mind while reading this book, and I was not disappointed. Linda Finlayson’s Expecting Great Things: William Carey is a great addition to Christian Focus’s Trail Blazers series of biographies for children.
William Carey is most well-known for his pioneering of modern missions. He founded the Baptist Missionary Society and became one of their first missionaries. He moved his family to India, and he served in that country for forty-one years. Finlayson provides an engaging account of William Carey’s life, from his days growing up learning to be a shoemaker to his final years on earth fighting for reform in India. I found myself looking forward to the next time I would pick up the book and continue the journey.
In the writing of biographies, there can be a temptation to only focus on the positives of the person one is writing about. One of the things I really appreciate about this work is that it provides a holistic perspective. The afterword does a good job of summarizing many of the unique and valuable contributions that Carey made, but it is honest about the fact that Carey was not a perfect man. The reader is encouraged to engage in honest reflection about some of the decisions Carey made, especially in regard to his family.
The book is very readable and accessible. However, there are occasional words that some children may not be as familiar with. The glossary is a helpful aid for those moments. The other helpful part of this book is a feature of the Trail Blazers series. In the back of the book, they have a section called “Think Further.” This section includes a paragraph for each chapter of the book that provides further engagement with the issues or events arising in each chapter. This can be a helpful resource for parents to engage in further discussion with their children as they read the book.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I haven’t read anything about William Carey for a while now, and it was refreshing to relearn about his passion and labors for the Lord. I even learned some new things about him along the way. I look forward to this work being part of our family’s growing collection of books for our future children to enjoy for years to come.
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