Tag Archives: biography

Olympics, World War II, and Classical Conversations

7 Feb

I just finished watching the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. For my CC readers, I realized how much I learned our first 16 weeks. As Olympians from countries like Estonia and Latvia entered the arena, I smiled knowing that two months ago I would not have been able to locate these countries on a map. Also, I almost embarrassed myself as I screamed at our television when they showed the map of Greece, which was the first country to enter the Olympic Arena. “It’s the Balkan Peninsula! Look, boys! It’s the Balkan Peninsula. See it?!?!” (Yeah, I kinda love and freak out about maps and all-things-geography.)

As we gear up to look at World War II in Classical Conversations over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to highlight a couple of  Olympic/WWII tie ins since the Winter Games will be running parallel with our WWII studies.

I am a HUGE fan of missionary/Christian hero biographies (particularly this series, Christian Heroes: Then and Now), and I love reading them with my boys. We read about Eric Liddell two  years ago when we were gearing up for the Summer Olympics. Eric Liddell is well-known and remembered for refusing to run on Sunday for the 100m race in the 1924 Olympics. I knew that tidbit of information about him prior to reading the book. However, I learned that he became a missionary to China after his Olympic running shoes were retired. His life was directly impacted by the events of World War II while in China due to Japan’s actions on the Eastern front. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I am going to omit the details. Please, go read it.) 🙂

One of my favorite books in high school was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. If you don’t know the story, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW and read this book! It’s a memorable, captivating story of courage and God’s protection. The first time I read it–I literally read it in 3 days; I could not put it down. It’s the story of Corrie’s family who lived in Holland and helped Jewish families escaping from Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  There is a Corrie Ten Boom version in the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series that I mentioned above. Again, I am not going to go into elaborate detail of the events of Corrie Ten Boom’s life because I want you to read it!

Also, if you’ve not heard of the Imagination Station series, which is by the Focus on the Family and similar in concept to the Magic Tree House series, there is a book focused on Corrie Ten Boom, called Escape to the Hiding Place. Can you tell I love the story of Corrie Ten Boom?!?! So many different books that you can read about her! Any of them would be an excellent way to gently introduce World War II and the Holocaust to children.

This movie is another Olympic-themed resource. It has NOTHING to do with World War II but rather the Cold War. (You could tie this in with the respective Timeline Card, CC readers.) I watched this movie several years and did not previously know the story of the 1980 Winter Olympic gold medal hockey game which pitted the USSR against the United States. It gave me insight into the Cold War and the intense animosity between the two countries during that period of history. I’m sure the Hollywood glitz on the film is generous, yet the events actually happened. I was awestruck at how one game–USSR vs. USA–personified the political climate and events simultaneously transpiring between the two countries. A nail bitter this one was!

Do you have any great Olympic-themed and/or World War II reads? If so, please share them with us!

Good reads: Bonhoeffer, Squanto, and Wilberforce

5 Mar

I’m like a kid in a candy shop! I’m giddy, excited and oh-so-excited! I’ve written previously about one of my favorite biographies, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. I’ve also written superfluously about a book that we pull out each November, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, which is now an annual-Mosley-Thanksgiving-tradition kind of book. Well, both are written by one of my favorite authors, Eric Metaxas, and I’m excited that he’s currently on a Bonhoeffer Tour with Nashville as a stopping point! Tonight’s the event, and my hubby and I are heading there soon (an anniversary present to each other!). So, if you love the works of Metaxas, see if he’s coming soon to a city near you!

I’m excited to be picking up his book Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery at my local library tomorrow! I love that the common theme in the book about Bonhoeffer and Squanto is, not the greatness of the men, the greatness of the God that they love, know and serve. I’m sure the Wilberforce will be no different. If you’re looking for some quality books to read this year, I would recommend these 3. Tonight, we’ll get a copy of Metaxas’s latest book coming out in April, Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness. Probably another good one to add to your “To be read” list.  As you know, I’m always eager to share quality literature with my fabulous blog readers!

Happy reading!

Favorite Biography: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

7 Dec

I posted earlier about another free Advent resource. It was a collection of Advent writings by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. One of the best books that I read in 2012 was a biography about him. Because I loved the book so much, I thought this would be a great time to plug this excellent biography. If you’re not familiar with Deitrich Bonhoeffer, I highly, highly, highly recommend the biography shown above written by Eric Metaxas. (As a side note, Metaxas also wrote our FAVORITE Thanksgiving book about the life of Squanto. You can read more about it here.) Bonhoeffer was a German pastor during World War II. Because of his father’s job as the leading Psychiatrist in Germany and Professor at the University of Berlin, Deitrich’s family knew about the atrocities of Hitler’s regime long before most Germans. Bonhoeffer was actually a part of one of the assassination plots against Hitler. His involvement was eventually discovered, and he was imprisoned. Deitrich, his brother and 2 brothers-in-law were all involved in the plot, imprisoned and later executed a few weeks before World War II ended. Metaxas, as with the Squanto biography, conducted extensive research on Bonhoeffer’s life, yet the book reads like a fiction novel–no snoozing biography here.

My husband read the Bonhoeffer biography earlier in the year, and he couldn’t put it down. I snatched it up as soon as he finished it; I understood why he read it so quickly. The summary, information about the events leading up to and causing World War II from the perspective of Germany was well documented; it was a fascinating read. If only I could’ve read this book in high school; I learned more about World War II from reading it than any textbook I’d previously read. This book was a significant one for me. To read of one who risked so much for the sake of Christ caused much reflection for me. What would I have done as a Christian living in Germany in World War II?


Thanks to frequent flier miles that were almost a decade old my husband and I were able to travel to Germany earlier this year for our 10th anniversary. Visiting the Bonhoeffer home in Berlin was on the top of my list of places to visit. It was surreal to be in the home where so many of the events from the book took place; it was a day that I’ll never forget. If you’re ever in Berlin, you must visit it.

It’s been a Bonhoefffer year around the Mosley home. I’m excited about bringing 2012 to a close listening to his writings, reflections on Jesus, the Savior Bonhoeffer knew so intimately as a result of the life he lived for Him. You, too, can dowload his Advent audio book here for FREE.

Cycle 1, Week 7 Books about India & a missionary biography!

29 Oct

India/Hinduisum books

Story of the World: There’s a chapter on Hinduism in SOTW Volume 1 (chapter 30). The book is currently 40% off at Amazon! It’s one of our favorites! You can also buy Audio CDs for Story of the World. 🙂 Save your voice, and let your kiddos listen to the chapters during afternoon Rest Time! SOTW Volume 1 Audiobook CDs are currently 35% off at Amazon!

Ancient India Tales: I found some GREAT books about Ancient Indian tales and folk stories at our library. My boys thoroughly enjoyed the Greek Myths and Roman Myths, so I thought it would be fun to read some from Ancient India. I had not found many books listed on other CC blogs, so I was expecting NOTHING when I went to the library. I actually hit the jackpot!! Here are some of the ones I found below.

The Elephant’s Friend and other Tales from Ancient India (Marcia Williams)

Once A Mouse…(Marcia Brown)-The pictures  in the book are amazing! They’re actually woodcut illustrations. WOW! It’s also a Calcedott Medal winner. AND…it’s one of the “4 for 3” books with Amazon, which allows you to the 4th book free when buying 3 participating books. That’s how I scored my FAVORITE Burgess Animal books (YAY!!!) Rama and the Demon King (Jessica Souhami)-Another beautifully illustrated book! Also, another “4 for 3” book with Amazon! My boys laughed out loud when we read this. It is the retelling of an ancient Hindu tale.Kingdoms and Empires (Carson-Dellosa Publishing)- I had never heard of this series, “History of the World,” but I found this at the library as well. It’s a 6-volume set that journeys through World History. I’m excited about this one (volume 2) because it covers much of what we’ve been learning in the timeline–Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome…and several others that I’ve found LIMITED resources for–Ancient India, Persian Empire, Chinese Dynasties, Ancient Japan. Hopefully, it will be a great resource. We’ll see!

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale (by Demi)-The illustrations in this book are truly stricking.This is the story of a greedy Raja who hordes rice and fails to share with the villagers in the midst of a famine. He is outsmarted when a peasant girl from the village, rewarded for her kind actions on the Raja’s behalf, asks for one grain of rice on Day 1 and the grain of rice to be doubled the following 29 days.

The Story of Little Babaji (Helen Bannerman)-This is a story of Babaji, a little boy growing up in India. He ventures off to the jungle wearing new clothes, and the tigers of the jungle  talk him out of his new clothes. 🙂 I love the illustrations, accurately depicting the images that are still cemented into my mind from my travels there a decade ago

Manu and the Talking Fish (Roberta Arenson)-This story is about an Indian prince named Manu. Manu rescues a fish, who is actually the Hindu god, Brahma in disguise, and the fish, in turn, offers to help Manu. The fish helps Manu prepare for a flood that is coming and that will destroy the earth. This is the Ancient Indian version of the flood account, which we, Christians, know from the life of Noah in the Bible. The hardcover edition is currently 60% off at Amazon.

Missonary Biography:

Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems (Janet & Geoff Benge)-
If you’re unfamiliar with the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series, please, please, please introduce your children to it! I was first introduced to the series last year with Sonlight. I read aloud their book about George Muller; literally everyday, my boys BEGGED “Next chapter, please! Next chapter, please,” when we read this. They have books on many well-known missionaries and Christians from the past: David Livingstone, Corrie Ten Boom, William Taylor, Eric Liddell, C.S. Lewis. I was so excited to read on Melody’s blog, And Here We Go, (one of my FAVORITE CC blogs!!!) that she was using our study of India as a time to learn about Amy Carmichael. What a brilliant idea! She actually made a list of Christian Heroes/Missionaries to correspond with all of Cycle 1–yay!

Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India in the last 1800s/early 1900s. She served in India 55 years and worked tirelessly on behalf of young girls sent to serve in Hindu temples or forced into prostitution. (Did I mention that she was single?!?!) She also worked against India’s caste system. I can’t wait to read this book to my boys! It will create the opportunity for wonderful conversations about India’s caste system, Hinduism, and missionary life. I have been to India twice and experienced the caste system and Hinduism. There is a Christian presence in India, but it is definitely in the minority, so this will be a great opportunity to talk and pray together with my boys that the gospel may go forth in a spiritually dark place.

The Christian Heroes: Then and Now series also has one about the life of Jim Elliot, who was another missionary serving in South America. His name may sound familiar if you’ve been listening to the CC Timeline song! He and his wife, Elisabeth, are one of the CC Timeline cards! We’ll be reading that book in the Spring! All of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series books are a part of Amazon’s “4 for 3” book promotion! Go buy 3 of these, and you’ll get the 4th free–making them only $6.50/each!

A friend mentioned the Torchlighters series to me when we were learning about Eric Liddell
this summer. This series also has a book and a movie about Amy Carmichael. You can watch the Torchlighters’ Amy Carmichael movie online through Amazon Instant Movie Downloads, and Torchlighters website has free resources on their website to go with the movie.

I hope these are helpful books as we focus on Ancient India the next 2 weeks in CC!