Introduce your teens to the story of how God used a simple monk, Martin Luther of the Reformation, to champion Scripture and change the world.
Martin Luther of the Reformation
The study of Christian history has long been surrendered to the realm of academic scholars. I say we take it back, and teach our kids about the “great cloud of witnesses” that surrounds us (Hebrews 12:1)–those faithful Christians who have gone before us. Let’s edify and encourage upcoming generations by sharing our family history!
Martin Luther (1483-1546) is often referred to as “The Father of the Reformation”. Born during a time of superstition, tradition, and spiritual corruption, Luther gave up a lucrative career as a lawyer to become a monk in the Roman Catholic Church–a path he felt would certainly lead to salvation.
As Luther’s understanding of the spiritual corruption within the Church grew, and he despaired of true salvation, Luther (now a scholar and priest) sought the Bible for answers. Following his discovery of the true gospel in Scripture, Luther began to preach spiritual freedom to his congregation, and to teach biblical (rather than philosophical) theology at the University of Wittenberg.
It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther penned his Ninety-Five Theses in Latin in response to the abusive indulgence sales practices of the monk Johann Tetzel in a nearby town. Luther nailed the Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, the scholarly bulletin board of his day, and mailed a copy to the Archbishop of Mainz. Luther hoped to start a scholarly debate about the practice of selling salvation through plenary indulgences. The response he received was greater–and more dangerous–than he imagined it would be.
Luther’s story is exciting. There are death defying moments, epic spiritual battles, narrow escapes, a kidnapping, revolution, and war. As the “Father of the Reformation”, Luther is a vital figure in Church history. His sacrifice and willingness to wage battle against the spiritual, religious, and political powers of his medieval world allowed Christians throughout time to embrace the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as explained by Scripture alone once again. May all glory be to God alone!
Martin Luther and the Reformation
Introducing Martin Luther for Kids!
Right here on this page, you’ll learn a little about Martin Luther, find links to purchase, be able to read a portion of the first eight chapters of When Lightning Struck!, and find endorsements and reviews of the book. Don’t forget to check out the two resources I have for you at the bottom of the page!
Purchase Martin Luther for Teens
When Lightning Struck! is available in both a 264-page hardcover and an ebook format.
There’s more than one way to order!
Endorsements of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther
From the electrifying tension of the opening scene, When Lightning Struck will instantly captivate readers. Meticulously researched, this historical novel on Martin Luther will immerse the reader in the dust and grit of 16th century Germany. You will not only feel that Luther’s struggles are your own struggles, you will enter the gates of paradise with Luther into the freedom of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Not only is Danika Cooley an engaging writer of children’s literature, she is a careful and winsome theologian. As in her Bible Road Trip, you will be in highly capable hands on the road trip of Luther’s life from works to grace. Highly recommended! ~ Douglas Bond ~ Author of many books of historical fiction, including the Crown & Covenant
When Lightning Struck brings the reader into an era of intense theological controversy – the Great Reformation – and tells of it in a highly readable “living history” that will grip the minds of youth! Nothing less than fiery story-telling would be fitting, to convey to us the life of a fervent heart like Martin Luther, and author Danika Cooley has achieved just that. Capturing Luther’s impassioned spirit in nearly everything he touched, I found myself becoming indignant all over again (even though I knew the history) at the abuses of the church he exposed, and pressing onward in the book, to see what he was going to do about it! ~ Dennis Gundersen ~ President, Grace & Truth Books ~ www.GraceAndTruthBooks.com
This is not just a story book. It is real life. It is accurately researched and meticulously footnoted. And it’s not just history either. When Lightning Struck! introduces us to the truth of God by bringing us alongside a young man and his personal search for eternal life and peace. Danika Cooley introduces Martin Luther as an inquisitive and somewhat outspoken little boy. He had many questions for which his family and the church had answers, but throughout his life these answers never really seemed to satisfy. He searched and sought for the peace he longed for but over time doubted that it even existed. Not even the monks, the monasteries, or even the Holy City of Rome could give Martin the answers he sought. Eventually his questions started to change: ‘Can it truly be that the words of Christ rank above those of counsels and popes?’ When Martin searched for the truth of God in the word of God, he
found the answer he had been looking for: ‘It is by grace I am saved through the faith that God gives!’ ~ Catherine MacKenzie ~ Author of John Calvin—After Darkness Light & the Little Lights series
Today’s youth are growing up almost completely ignorant of Church History. We impoverish ourselves when we fail to learn from the tragedies and triumphs of those who have gone before us. Danika Cooley has done a great service by introducing a new generation to perhaps the most influential Christian leader of the past 600 years, Martin Luther. I commend this book to you and your children as a great family read-aloud. ~ Israel Wayne ~ Founder, Family Renewal
Although even the best historical fiction is still fiction, Danika Cooley makes masterful use of the form to bring to life a great historical character—Martin Luther. She consults a wide array of source material to provide her readers with an accurate account—celebrating Luther’s courage and conviction without minimizing the destructive impact of his most profound failures. If you’re looking for a good story on the reformation to share with your students, When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther is both informative and engaging! ~ Stacy Farrell ~ HomeSchoolAdventure.com
“As Christian parents we want our kids to get excited about the faith. Danika’s use of historical fiction to target the hearts of kids is an excellent way to not only build intrigue about their faith but also to teach them about the history of Christianity. Danika uses fiction just like Jesus did to capture the hearts of those who are willing to listen.”~ Dr. Scott Turansky ~ National Center for Biblical Parenting
“Danika Cooley’s When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther is a well-researched, and well-told biography that will grip young adult readers in a generation starved for worthy inspiration. It is just the sort of book the church needs to inspire a new generation of believers to help recover the evangelical church’s birthright.” ~ William Boekestein, Author
“Cooley gives young adult readers a thoughtful picture of how God used a flawed man to change the course of history.” – Mary Jackson, WORLD Magazine
When Lightning Struck!: From the Back Cover
Martin Luther’s life was too exciting not to be written for teens and younger readers! In this fast-paced, action-packed novel of Martin Luther’s life, teen readers (and more than a few adults!) will be introduced to a fascinating time when princes ruled Europe and knights roamed the countryside. They’ll learn about a time when powerful forces lined up against each other and believing the wrong thing could get you killed.
When Lightning Struck! is far more than just an adventure story, of course. It also tells a theological story. Drawing carefully from Luther’s own words, this book introduces readers to a kindred spirit who struggled with what knowing God through Scripture means for daily life. They will understand what was at stake and how powerfully liberating Luther’s idea of grace through faith was—in his time and in ours!
In crisp, enjoyable prose, author Danika Cooley conveys both the drama and the meaning of the Reformation for younger readers like no one before her!
When Lightning Struck | Media
I was really excited and honored to be invited to Hal and Melanie Young’s Making Biblical Family Life Practical podcast to talk about Martin Luther. He was really an amazing man who lived a deeply impactful life. He not only changed the course of the Church—he changed the course of world history! I’d love to have you listen in on our conversation! You’ll find it at: Luther, Reformation, and a New Book!
I had the opportunity to talk to Caleb and Lindsey Stomberg from Reformed Faith and Family Podcast about Reformation Day, and the story of Martin Luther!
The Story of Martin Luther Reviews
“Cooley’s book is a real key to understanding the Reformation and its place in the timeline of history. It’s incredibly well-researched, and an exciting (while sometimes shocking) story to read. Don’t miss this excellent retelling of the life and times of Martin Luther!” ~ Melanie Reynolds, The Old Schoolhouse
“Another imagery that I especially loved, was the image of Satan as a dragon. Throughout Martin Luther’s life, he imagines he hears dragons’ wings beating, and feels the hot fiery breath of the dragon in moments when he is engaged in spiritual warfare of some sort. I appreciated this imagery for myself, and think it is also an effective imagery to help young people see that we truly are in a fight, not against flesh and blood.” ~ LaRee, Broad Horizons
“As a language arts teacher, I love the style of writing, the flow of it, and the use of interesting and entertaining adjectives! Just what middle and high school students need to stay interested in the narrative.” ~ Joyice, Raising Boys Homeschool
“As a whole-book based history teacher, I am always looking for solid books, fiction and non-fiction, to bring history alive for my students. I certainly found one in the book, When Lightning Struck, by Danika Cooley. It’s not unusual for me to do reviews of products, particularly when I want to help out a fellow writer, blogger or homeschooler. I also think that reviews can greatly benefit my readers by allowing them to explore new books and materials that may not come to their attention otherwise. But, with this book, I am seriously considering adding it to my World History I course. It’s that good.” ~ Beth, Classes by Beth
“This book was beautifully written and it would be a wonderful read as a family discussion or even a small group, or youth group study. … It is full of action and I think many would enjoy reading it, and learning some history in a fun way.” ~ Kelly, Raising Samuels Homeschool
“Overall, this is a beautifully written, historically accurate, adventure packed, hilarious at times, and interesting book. It is a history piece, regardless of your faith. This book should be in the library of, not only every Christian Lutheran in the world, but also every school library (home or public) for its rich lessons in history!” ~ Clarissa R. West, Counting Our Blessings
“I found the description of Martin’s spiritual search clear and moving: from his vain attempt to confess every sin and his attempts at mortifying the flesh to realizing that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and that faith is the gift of God.” ~ SarahElisabeth Jones, Delivering Grace
“When Lightning Struck! is theologically rich and filled with many wonderful lessons. One such lesson, drawn from the life of Luther, is that, in order to save one’s life, one must be willing to lose it for the sake of Christ. For what would you be willing to die? Luther was willing to sacrifice his life that all may come to a true knowledge of the love and grace of Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life and died in the place of sinners that all may have peace with God.” ~ Mrs. David Hankins, The Hankins Family
“I love the way Danika Cooley just pulls you right into the story with her writing style. Every time I finished a chapter the kids were wanting another! Martin Luther is portrayed as a real person, not just the dry facts you would find in many books. You learn that he was temperamental, impatient and really struggled with his anger. Martin was also very witty and compassionate.” ~ Kim Mills, Homestead Acres
“It was a breath of fresh air reading such an engaging book. I loved every minute of it! “When Lightning Struck!” is a book that I highly recommend, not only for tween and teens, but also for young adults and homeschooling parents.” ~ Tanya, The Natural Homeschool
“The flow of Ms. Cooley’s writing style often kept me on the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen to Luther next. This is a wonderful read aloud book for families. My children also waited impatiently as our next reading time drew near. ” ~ Melissa, Grace Christian Homeschool
“I especially love some of the questions that inquisitive young Martin had and how those questions even foretell of his future and all God had called him to do. Even from a young age, we read in this book how he had questions about going to heaven, earning his way to heaven and much more. I’m so thankful that these portions of the book were included in the story.” ~ Candace, His Mercy is New
“As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches in October 2017, this volume will be a great resource for readers, young and old alike, who wish to learn about Dr. Martin Luther, a pivotal figure of the Reformation.” ~ Martha, The Joy of School
“I was already familiar with Danika Cooley because of Bible Road Trip, her amazing Bible study curriculum for Preschool through grade 12. My experience using BRT convinced me that she is a kindred spirit who shares my passion for teaching about both the Bible and what God has done in history, and that passion comes through in her presentation of Martin Luther’s life. While the material has been painstakingly researched (as evidenced by abundant footnotes), Cooley makes sure that she tells an exciting story, with plenty of dialogue to move the story along through the entire 265-page book.” ~ Deanna, His Treasure Seekers
“Danika Cooley does an excellent job communicating the facts of Martin Luther’s life and his actions which made such a powerful impact on the Church while making the writing interesting and alive and compelling to the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I know that it will hold the interest of younger readers as well.” ~ Leah, As We Walk Along the Road
“I found When Lightning Struck hard to put down. I felt captivated by the story from the very first page. Danika has a way of drawing you into the story. She ends a chapter in a way that begs you to continue on to the next one.” ~ Amanda Pelser, Kids in the Word
“This is the most important reason to read this book! Many teens are going through the same confusing beliefs as Martin Luther did. They will follow him through his struggles and how he finally came to the truth about God’s grace and how to gain salvation.” ~ Gena Mayo, I Choose Joy
“When Lightning Struck is written by Danika Cooley, an author, writer, and blogger who also developed a wonderful Bible Curriculum, Bible Road Trip, which I have enjoyed using with the boys. Knowing her love for truth and sound theology, as demonstrated in her Bible curriculum I knew it would shine through in this book, even as she seeks to paint a realistic picture of the development in Martin Luther’s journey.” ~ Joelle, Homeschooling for His Glory
“It will grab your attention in the first sentence and not let go until God has touched your heart and mind and shown you the meaning of true change. This biography was truly a joy and a pleasure to read and review. It is one I definitely recommend.” ~ Lori Hooten, At Home: Where Life Happens
“I have been reading the ebook and have shared portions with my husband. He is a Martin Luther fan. He has collected books and articles on Martin Luther for years, so he was interested in this new book. He is not one to read a book on the iPad though, so he is waiting for a hard copy. He did tell me that he thought the writer was doing a very good job on the parts I read out loud.” ~ Lori Lyman, At the Fence
“You can see the hours and hours of meticulous research Danika put into the book. She does such a great job in vividly painting the life and times of Martin Luther. We can see the inner struggle in his life and feel his fiery convictions. There are also plenty of adventures…a kidnapping, war and talk of bowels (such interesting things for the boy in my house!).” ~ Rebekah Teague, There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining
“Most recognize the name Martin Luther as the Father of the Reformation, but it can be difficult to identify with him as a real person. Through thorough research and faithfulness to historical accounts, Danika Cooley makes it possible to imagine the real Martin Luther. She does not shy away from Luther’s foibles either, showing him as a multi-dimensional person who wanted to follow the will of God no matter the cost.” ~ Sara, Embracing Destiny
“With an emphasis on action, the story starts off with the life-changing thunderstorm in 1505 that led Luther to become a monk. The story then shifts back to his childhood and goes sequentially from there. We’ve been using this as a read-aloud with children ages 9 to 18. It certainly keeps everyone’s attention!” ~ Debra, Footprints in the Butter
“Danika Cooley delivers a story packed with excitement and conveys facts through the story in a way that does not feel like a list of dates or events. Incredibly well researched, her book recounts history in an enjoyable and engaging manner.” ~ Kimberly A. Vogel
“This is truly a lovely book. It is action packed. It draws heavily on Luther’s ideas and allows for us to see how his theology is developed. For the first time, it really clicked with me to see how his struggle with faith was what formed him into the person he is. This is really meaningful to me because, for me, every once of faith I have is a gift from God against the struggle that is all too real of doubt and discord in my life. Just seeing this struggle mirrored in one of our great church fathers is definitely worth the read in my book.” ~ Rebecca Ray, Raventhreads
“Not only is this a well written biography about Martin Luther, but it is an adventure story of how one life can be used by God to change the course of history. Through an “inside the head” perspective, the reader witnesses the inner struggles of a man who desperately wants to please the Lord, but is not sure that the known church was teaching biblical salvation. Danika accurately describes the church of Luther’s Day and explains theological issues in an age-appropriate way, such that teens and adults alike, will easily learn why we have protestant churches today. Plus, it’s a good story!!” ~ Anne Marie, Future Flying Saucers
“When Lightning Struck has it all. I didn’t remember the study of Martin Luther being this exciting – but it really is. There is no doubt in my mind that Danika Cooley was called to write this book, and I’m thrilled at the thought that so many will be hugely effected by it. It is an honor to share this resource with my family!” ~ Kelli Becton, Adventure Homeschool
When Lightning Struck! Order Details
When Lightning Struck! is available in both a 264-page hardcover and an ebook format.
There’s more than one way to order!
Thinking Kids Press
Martin Luther Resources
Learn about the story of Martin Luther with your family or youth group with the When Lightning Struck! Discussion Guide!
When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, tells the story of the Father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, for middle and high school students.
It’s a great read-aloud for your upper elementary kids, as well!
When Lightning Struck! Book Discussion Guide
The When Lightning Struck! book discussion guide is 34-pages, full-color, and it’s free for Thinking Kids subscribers to download.
The When Lightning Struck! Discussion Guide is perfect for:
- Youth Groups
- Sunday School Classes
- Family Read-Alouds
- Homeschool Christian History
The When Lightning Struck! Discussion Guide is 34 pages long. Each chapter has discussion questions and timeline dates to add to the 4-page timeline I’ve included at the back of the guide. There are also short biographies of important figures, and relevant Scripture passages to consider with discussion questions.
Want to download that Discussion Guide? Grab it here!
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