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Lessons on Luther

Children’s Books

Lessons on Luther

Four books about Reformer Martin Luther

Papa Luther

Daniel D. Maurer

Children reading this graphic novel can imagine what it would have been like to be a son or daughter of Martin Luther, who throughout it tells the story of the Reformation. The book attempts to apply the teachings of Jesus and Luther to problems children face, such as sibling rivalry. Both the plot and the text-heavy comic illustrations are sometimes hard to follow. The book includes a retelling of the death of Luther’s daughter Magdalena that could be distressing for some children.

Luther

Rich Melheim

Another graphic novel, Luther, puts the Reformer’s biography in geopolitical context. The drawings capture the conflict, emotion, and danger Luther faced as he challenged Pope Leo X. The sharp writing makes the story of a monk penning letters and preaching sermons seem like an action-adventure. Readers not only get an introduction to Luther’s theology but also a better understanding of how much it cost Luther to stand up for Scripture. Because of some mildly crude language and descriptions of the sins du jour in the Middle Ages, this book is best for older kids and adults who enjoy a good comic.

The Life of Martin Luther

Agostino Traini

This pop-up book introduces children to the milestones of Luther’s biography with colorful, fun illustrations. Each page brings to life a scene from the story, including Luther’s famous encounter with God in a storm, his trial before the Holy Roman emperor, and his flight to Wartburg Castle. Parents or teachers would find The Life of Martin Luther a good bedtime story or prop for a Sunday school lesson.

When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther

Danika Cooley

A new novelization of Luther’s life takes an in-depth look at the relationships that shaped Luther and his internal struggles with sin and the devil. Though many of the conversations Luther has with others and with God are imagined, author Danika Cooley strives for accuracy by using quotes from Luther’s writings in the dialogue. The pace of the novel slows at times and might fail to keep the interest of the adolescents for whom it was written. But unlike other Luther biographies for youth, this one addresses his weaknesses such as explosive anger, depression, and his alienating Jews and other Reformers.

Handout

Ned Bustard (Handout)

AFTERWORD

Martin Luther was the first of many devoted Christ-followers who worked to reform the church, and in Reformation ABCs (Crossway, 2017) Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard introduce the cloud of witnesses who surrounded and came after him. This mini-encyclopedia also teaches about important places and symbols from the Reformation. Short, staccato sentences, brightly colored pages, and cartoony drawings make it great for family devotions or upper-elementary readers.

Reformation ABCs also helps children understand why the Reformation matters to them: “Martin Luther once said that if the Reformers didn’t teach all the children the truth of the Bible, all their work would go to waste.” The letter Y stands for “You” and challenges readers to become the next reformers. Luther also taught that parents, especially fathers, were responsible for faith formation in children. To that end, some of the best children’s publications about the Reformation are those written hundreds of years ago by the Reformers themselves. Luther’s Small Catechism and the Westminster Shorter Catechism were both intended for families to help children learn the building blocks of faith. —L.L.