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Title: The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children
Author: Marigold Hunt
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press, USA
Date Published: January 2004
Price: $14.05 softcover
Comments: The Acts of Apostles rewritten for children.
The sequel to A Life of Our Lord for Children, this title by Marigold Hunt
tells the story of the infant Church. After a few introductory remarks, the
story begins with the Pentecost (Acts 1) and ends with Paul's visit to the Jews of
Rome (Acts 28). The beauty of this book is the wonderful storytelling style
of Hunt. It is a great book to read aloud because then it really sounds as if
she is speaking to us. One day I was reading out loud to my nine year-old and
all the other children had gathered around. My eleven year-old said, "That's a
cool author." I know he meant, "I love to hear the way that author tells a
At the beginning of each chapter Hunt lists the corresponding chapters from
Acts of the Apostles. At various points in the text she recommends the reader
go and read from the Bible. For example, when she describes the Pentecost, she
suggests that the reader reads Peter's speech which is recorded in Acts 2. She
calls it the "very first sermon of the very first pope." I have to admit that
when I read her suggestions, I wanted to hop up and read the Bible version!
Hunt selects particular tales from Acts, saying that she couldn't tell all that
happened. However, she selects those that would be of most interest to young
readers. For example, she chooses to include the story of Philip running next
to the chariot of the Treasurer to tell him about the Faith, which is kind of
a funny image. Hunt also does a good job explaining the problem that
Christians Jews had with gentiles becoming Christian without keeping the "law of
Moses," and how it was resolved. She makes it clear that Peter makes the final
decision, and that when he does, everyone accepts it, clearly establishing him
historically as the leader of the Church. With every story she explains things in
ways a child would understand by comparing them to things in our own time.
As with A Life of Our Lord for Children, this edition, reissued in 2004, is
illustrated by Ted Schluenderfritz (a homeschooling dad!). His drawings add
greatly to the text. This is a book that will appeal to all children and is a joy
to read aloud. It could be read independently by a 4th grader.
Marigold Hunt, author of A Life of Our Lord for Children, here continues the
tale of Jesus and His Church by retelling for children the events reported in
The Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke’s account of the dangerous early days of
Focusing on the deeds and experiences of Sts. Peter, Paul, Luke, and
Barnabas, author Hunt shows children that the Catholic Church which today seems so
ancient and established was born in turbulent times, when merely professing
belief in Christ could get you killed — and not by rowdies and brigands, but by
public officials carrying out their sworn duty.
Time and again, the apostles wind up in jail (some for years), and time and
again God frees them by miracles of one sort or another. With Christian hope
and great good cheer, they take up again the task with which Christ charged them
just before He ascended into Heaven: “Go forth and teach all nations.”
By foot, on horseback, and on frail craft tossed in stormy seas, they do just
that, preaching and teaching their way across much of the known world,
winning converts and establishing churches in Palestine, Crete, Cyprus, Malta,
Phoenicia, the lands that are now Turkey, and even in Rome itself, the pagan
capital of the anti-Christian Empire.
Along the way, the apostles heal the sick, cast out devils, and work other
miracles. They face down mobs, evade murder plots, and defend themselves in
courts in city after city. In the midst of it all, Peter — whose authority as the
first Pope was accepted by all of the apostles — settles disputes that arise
among the Christians and between the new Churches.
All this and more is told in The First Christians, the thrilling — and true —
saga of the lives and works of the first apostles of Jesus.
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