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Culture Notable Books

Notable Books


Notable Books

Four recent audiobooks for the family

Eight Twenty Eight refers to the date of the Murphys’ wedding—a wedding that nearly didn’t happen after Ian suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2006. But it also refers to Romans 8:28, “all things work together for good.” In the first years after Ian’s injury, as he learns to walk and talk again, Larissa struggles to find that promise amid their trials. Read by Erin Spencer, Larissa’s voice here is tender, poetic, and filled with truth and grace as she seeks—and repeatedly finds—the goodness of God amid sinful, broken bodies. Ages 16 and up.

In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce

This audio drama by Bill Heid adapts G.A. Henty’s 1885 novel by the same name. With more than 30 voice actors, including Joanne Froggatt (Anna in Downton Abbey) and Billy Boyd (Pippin in The Lord of the Rings), characters like Robert the Bruce and William Wallace come alive as they fight to protect Scotland against English aggression. While the story occasionally loses focus, overall it is a gripping presentation of the life of young Ned who fights for Wallace and Bruce and later finds his true love. The audiobook shows the characters’ Christian beliefs. Ages 10 and up.

The Green Ember 

The Green Ember, self-published through Sam Smith’s website,, has a raw feel. But like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, it is a fantasy story that overcomes any rough edges with heartwarming characters, big ideas, and a tantalizing plot. Heather and Picket begin the tale as carefree bunnies, but wolves destroy their home, their family disappears, and they are caught up in a war that has raged for many years. With the help of rabbits like Maggie O’Sage and Uncle Wilfred, Heather and Picket must find the courage to save their family and help bring justice to the Great Woods. Ages 8 and up.

First Stories to Last a Lifetime

Master storyteller Jim Weiss may be best known among homeschool families for his narration of Susan Wise Bauer’s The Story of the World, but his numerous audiobooks cover a wide range of topics, including biographies and classic works of literature. In First Stories to Last a Lifetime, Weiss provides a lively recording of some of our culture’s most popular folk stories, including “The Gingerbread Man,” “The Three Little Pigs,” and “The Ugly Duckling.” Weiss’ humorous voices, well-crafted tales, and entertaining selections make this an excellent introduction not only to the tales, but to the storyteller himself. Ages 2 to 6.


Trip Lee released his rap album, Rise, three months ago, and he’s following that with Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story. Lee said in our interview, “I thought of the book idea first,” with the music flowing out of the themes of his writing, such as “Don’t buy into those low expectations. If you’re a Christian, it’s time to get up and live.” To Lee, that means stewarding possessions, sexuality, and every area of our lives for God’s glory.

Lee also addresses the root of racial prejudice, which he says can’t be fixed by political solutions: He prays that as people read his book their hearts will be changed, making them “able to love others … seeing people as made in the image of God.” —E.W.