Review of a Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for Young Readers

Leah Courtney
I have long been interested in the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His life, lived out in Germany during World War 2, the reign of Hitler, and the persecution and killing of many Jews, is an inspiration and encouragement. He took a stand against Hitler's regime when it was unpopular and dangerous to do so. Just a few months before the end of the war, he was executed for playing a part in a plan to assonate Hitler.

Review of a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for students

I had the opportunity to review Bonhoeffer Student Edition: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. This biography of Bonhoeffer is written for middle grade students. I love to read biographies aloud to the kids because reading about the lives of great men and women can be inspiring and can lead to some great discussions. So I reviewed this biography to see if it would be a good one to share with the kids. I was very impressed.

The book opens with a memorial service for Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The author then begins at the beginning of Dietrich's life and follows his life so that readers can see the events and forces that shaped him into the man he became, the man who was determined to stand against the evil of Hitler and the treatment of the Jews.

There are some great extras throughout that make the book a good one to use for the kids. There are charts, maps, the Bonhoeffer family tree, and other visuals throughout the book. At the beginning of each chapter there is a timeline section to show readers when the events of Bonhoeffer's life occur. Throughout the book there are highlighted vocabulary words that are defined at the end of the book. In the Kindle edition, you can click on each word to see the definition/explanation as you read. At the end of each chapter there are some thinking/discussion questions. These review what was read in the chapter and give opportunities for talking through the information in the chapter.

The book is written in a style that younger readers will understand. Although the age recommendation I found says ages 11-14, I think my younger girls will understand it fine if we read it aloud and discuss. The author writes in a conversational style and occasionally adds in explanations or questions directed towards the reader.

This is one I definitely recommend as a good biography for kids. It could easily be read aloud by most middle school-aged kids or older, and younger kids could it enjoy it read aloud. You can find Bonhoeffer Student Edition: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas here on Amazon.

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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