This historical book based on Corrie Ten Boom's life by Corrie Ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherill is written for people who are 13 and up and is published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Corrie Ten Boom, her sister, Bessie, and their father run a watch repair business outside of Amsterdam. When Corrie is in her 50's, Hitler's German army seizes Holland and begins persecuting Jews. Although Corrie and her family are devout Christians, their compassion for their neighbors leads to their involvement in a stealthy underground effort to hide and protect Jews. The Ten Booms are eventually captured and imprisoned for their "crimes" against the Germans. Corrie and Bessie endure horrific conditions in several concentration camps, all the while sharing their faith with anyone who will listen.
The Ten Booms are committed Christians who engage in daily Bible reading and who reach out to their neighbors in Christian love even before the German invasion. They struggle repeatedly over the question of whether lying to help save a Jew's life is contrary to God's will. Corrie and Bessie pray fervently throughout their prison experiences. They smuggle a Bible into the camp and share God's word with the other inmates. Bessie constantly praises God for her circumstances and pities her cruel German captors because they're so far from God. Many Bible passages appear in the text.
Corrie's father demonstrates a deep, abiding compassion for the people in their community. Her parent is selfless even in the most desperate conditions. In many of his conversations with his daughter, Corrie's father exemplifies God's wisdom and love for His children. Though a few Germans are sympathetic to Corrie's cause, most show contempt and cruelty to their prisoners. They mock the captives, force them to parade around naked and subject them to unthinkable physical labor while housing them in rickety, flea-infested bunkhouses. God, in many circumstances throughout the book, shows His power and authority to be far greater than that of the German army.
Other Belief Systems
Jews frequently engage in friendly religious debates with Corrie's father. Though specific tenants of Hitler's agenda are not mentioned in detail, Nazi beliefs play a foundational role in the story.
None. Brief descriptions about life in the concentration camp are disturbing, though. For example, while looking for her ailing sister in the hospital, Corrie discovers naked corpses thrown carelessly on the ground. Corrie and Bessie hear the tortured cries of their fellow prisoners, watch the elderly and infirm being sent to the extermination area and hear frequent gunshots as prisoners are executed.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What are some of the behaviors Corrie's father exhibited toward Corrie that remind you of the way your Heavenly Father treats and cares for you?
- How do you think the training Corrie received from her parents prepared her for her experiences during the war?
- Corrie and her relatives frequently had to decide whether or not they would lie to the Germans, even though they (the Ten Boom clan) believed lying was a sin.
What do you think about the choices they made?
What would you have done in their situation?
- Even when Corrie's mother was no longer able to reach out to people physically, she still managed to encourage her neighbors.
How could you use your gifts and talents, however big or small, to help and encourage others?
How can God's strength be made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9)?
- Corrie questions how Christians should act when evil people are in power.
What do you think of her conclusion?
- How did Corrie's suffering alter her view of God and the Bible?
- Do you think you could have forgiven the German soldier like Corrie did?
How would you have felt, seeing him face to face?
What does the Bible say about forgiveness?
Note: Corrie's father and others smoke pipes and cigars.
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