Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Hidden Jewel by Dave & Neta Jackson

Recommendation: Highly recommended

The Trailblazer series are historical fiction written to introduce young readers to Christian heroes of the past. The Hidden Jewel is based on a true story from the life of Amy Carmichael. Fictional and non-fictional characters are seamlessly woven together to give the reader insight into the life and adventures faced by Miss Carmichael while serving as a missionary in India.

A young English boy and his mother, John and Leslie Knight find themselves irresistibly drawn to the ministry of Amy Carmichael at Dohnavur Fellowship near where Mr. Knight has been sent as junior magistrate in Palamcottah India. Against the wishes of Mr. Knight, young John and his mother began to assist Miss Carmichael in her ministry and find themselves right in the middle of a legal battle. A young girl has come to Dohnavur Fellowship to escape a marriage pre-arranged by her uncle. She is being forced to wed at a young age so that her uncle can claim her father’s inheritance. Leslie and John help care for this girl and eventually take part in her escape after Mr. Knight, as the judge, rules she must return to her uncle. As the adventure unfolds you see the faith of Amy Carmichael as she expectantly waits for God to answer her prayers.

Positives: This book is a wonderful introduction to Amy Carmichael. The factual and fictional elements combine to create a captivating story and give us a glimpse into the strong faith that drove and upheld Miss Carmichael through her years of ministry. The tension created between family members creates excellent opportunity for discussion. I also enjoyed the descriptive language and the historical research that drew me in and helped me understand the Indian culture of the day.

Negatives: None

Talking Points: There are many spiritual issues brought up through the course of the book that provide wonderful grounds for starting conversations with your child. Both the English boy and his mother question their Christianity as they see the difference between what they have been taught and how Amy Carmichael lives her life. By the end of the story, it seems clear that both are believers, however there is no distinct moment of life-change given in the story. Talk with your child about true salvation through Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12, Eph. 2:8-9, Matt. 7:21-23). The book talks of Hindu and Muslim practices of selling children to the temple and also gives an instance of a young converted Hindu boy being threatened by his family for his new faith (Matt. 5:11-12). The question of obeying governing authorities and obeying God can also be discussed from this book (Rom 13:1-7).

The intended audience is 8-12 year olds. I think it would also make a great family reading book even where younger children are involved.


  1. Kirsten B. said this would be an "awesome" blog, so I popped on over! I'm very excited about future posts and book reviews. I used to be a classroom teacher (trained at Master's with Kirsten), but now I homeschool and have often thought about having a similar blog, but do not have the time! yeay! Thanks! P.S. I love Amy Carmichael and if you haven't read A Chance to Die, I would highly recommend it!

  2. I just got this book for free from Yeay again!