Books We Read: Covenanters and Tyndale vs. Henry VIII!

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Onward into the Reformation!  I think my children are beginning to see an ongoing theme – Christians killing Christians over differing doctrinal beliefs, and a terrific grab for power through religious structure.  So far, we’ve read books covering the persecution of Catholics, Protestants, Mennonites, and Covenanters. 

Next week, we’re studying the Reformation as it continues its march through Europe.  Look for that post next week!  Also, in a few weeks, I’ll share a couple of the resources we’ve been using to study the music and literature of the Reformation.  (Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list of our resources… just some of the extra reading we enjoyed.)

Danger on the Hill, Catherine MacKenzie  (Fictionalized Biography, Grades 4-6)

The story of Margaret Wilson (martyred in 1685), Danger on the Hill is fast paced and exciting.  Covenanters in the 1600’s were Christians who longed to follow Christ in their own way.  They rejected the King as head of the Church (choosing, instead, to claim Christ as the head of the Church).  As a result, they were persecuted, hunted, and martyred.  In fact, the book begins with a massacre of Covenanters as they worshiped in the open hills of Scotland.  Margaret and her siblings find themselves living in a cave in the hills, until Margaret becomes too bold and is captured.  This is worth the read.

The Queen’s Smuggler, Dave and Neta Jackson (Historical Fiction, Grades 4-6)

What an exciting novel!  This is the story of William Tyndale.  The focus is on Sarah Poyntz, daughter of Thomas Poyntz and niece of Sir John Walsh.  Ann Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife) figures prominently in this story, as does Henry VIII.  Though Sarah’s role in the story is imagined, much of the storyline is true to the real story of Tyndale’s life.  What an exciting way for a child to be plunged into the life of Tyndale, and to begin to understand the struggle that took place to publish a Bible in English.  Tyndale is ultimately martyred, yet his work is eventually published and distributed legally in England.

The link above will take you to the newest printing of the Jackson’s Trailblazers series… there are actually 5 novels included in each book (I believe there are 5 compilation books available).  I highly recommend the Trailblazers series, and I’ve found the new books to be a cost-effective way to add to my collection.

Courage and Conviction; Volume 3: Chronicles of the Reformation Church, Mindy and Brandon Withrow (Church History, Grades 4-6)

See more about the History Lives series in Church History Worth Selling Your Silverware For. I couldn’t imagine not including this excellent book in our studies of the Reformation, so I am reading it aloud as we go.

This week, we read “Martin Luther: A Conscience Captive to the Word of God ”, a fictionalized biographical sketch beginning with Luther’s abduction and trip to Erfurt, with flashbacks to the major events of Luther’s life. We also read the article “The Catholic Reformation” which covered the attempts of the Catholic Church to both change the corruption within the Church, and to deflect the impact and doctrine of the Protestant Church.  The article covered the Fifth Lateran Council, Regensburg, the Council of Trent, the Inquisition and the formation of the Jesuits.  Last, we read another biographical sketch:  “Menno Simons: A Kingdom of Peace”.  This last story highlighted the difference between Menno and his brother Peter, who followed the heretical and violent “Munsterites” sect of the Anabaptists.  The story ended with Menno’s decision to leave the Catholic priesthood and become leader of the Dutch Anabaptist movement.

The William Tyndale Story, Torchlighters DVD

We have really enjoyed the Torchlighters series!  This particular DVD tells the story of William Tyndale in animated form.  At the end of each of the Torchlighters, there are documentaries about the subject, and/or interviews with experts or people who actually knew the person.  I was excited to find these available at our library. 

What did your family read last week?

~Danika Cooley


  1. says

    Awesome, awesome! I did a mini-unit with my son on Reformation Day about Martin Luther. We read a fictional story about Luther’s son. I didn’t realize there were so many good books out there for kids on this topic. I also love The Church History ABC’s. Great post!

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