Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sarah Books

Like all things born from the heart, Sarah Books offers homeschoolers a delight-filled option for historical educationi. Authored by 62 year old grandfather of nine, Jim Baumgardner, the author promises he wrote all three books in his current series for his grandchildren. “They (books) do not have any sex, profanity, or anything that would be offensive to young readers. I would never subject my grandchildren to such writing”, he stated.

Although others have labeled the Sarah books as Christian fiction, Baumgardner prefers the label, “Young Adult fiction written by a Christian author.” I would easily label them historical fiction with a Christian focus. The main character, Sarah, is a twelve year old girl facing the world through the eyes of a child raised with Christian principles and teaching. She easily shares her faith, as do several other characters throughout her journey, but never with a preachy or judgmental attitude.

Having raised two daughters on historical fiction, and read more girl heroine stories than I can possibly count, I was anxious to dive into Sarah’s Wish, the first in Baumgardner’s series of Sarah Books. The story is set in 19th century southern Ohio near the time of the Civil War. Beginning with great description and action readers and listeners are easily drawn into the story line from the first phrase. Good characters are very good and evil ones repulsive. Sarah instantly rises as the heroine as she assists with runaway slaves, finds delight in the simple things of life and strives for patience as she waits for her adoption into a family of her own. I thought Baumgardner cleverly wove definition of difficult vocabulary and historical references within the storyline for young readers, although a two page glossary of terms is provided at the beginning of the novel for easy reference. In my opinion, Sarah’s Wish is targeted for an 8-12 year old audience, but could easily appeal to younger and older as a family read aloud. The nature of the story line and historical context make it an adventure story worthy of boys or girls.

“I would definitely give it thumbs up”, said Micah age 12 who fancies herself a connoisseur of historical fiction with girl heroines. “He is a good writer and I like how he uses a lot of description in the book”, she added.

Sarah’s Wish consists of 123 pages divided into 14 easy to read, short chapters. Chapters easily accommodate short reading sessions, but I’m sure most readers will want to keep reading once they open up the world of adventure within the Sarah books. Baumgardner offers audio books of the first two books in his series. Sarah’s Wish, however, comes with a free audio download code on the inside back cover for on-line listening at the publishers website to all four discs of its audio version.

All three of Baumgardner’s books can be purchased at The author offers a free personalized autograph service with every purchase. Since Sarah’s Wish retails for only $9.99 with free shipping and handling, I can think of no better Christmas gift for young fiction enthusiasts this holiday season. Book two in the series Sarah’s Promise retails for $14.99 and the third, Sarah’s Escape for $17.50 both with free shipping and handling as well. The books are available as a set for $39.95. A portion of all sales of Sarah’s Wish will be donated to one of the author’s favorite charities, Carpenter’s Place,, a non-profit agency benefiting girls especially orphans like fictional Sarah.

For those wishing for more adventures with Sarah an email newsletter is available complete with interesting historical facts, an historical question of the month, contests, famous quotes and the address to write the author with comments and questions. My personal interchanges with Baumgardner were warm and witty just like his books. I found him to be an author that understands homeschoolers and children and who desires to do everything he can to support both.

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