Differences are a blessing. Too often our differences are used as reasons to bully and oppress.
Author: M. J. Thomas
Written for Ages: 6-9
Summary: Siblings Peter and Mary hear the roar of the lion in Great-Uncle Solomon’s library and are transported to ancient Egypt to solve the mystery of the hidden scroll. The children emerge into the narrative of Moses pleading with Pharoah to let the people go. Peter and Mary meet both Egyptian and Hebrew children that offer a different perspective to this well-known story.
Scripture Connection: Exodus 5-14
Theological Connection: The secret message of the scroll is “God is powerful and will set you free.” This is seen in the freedom of the Hebrew slaves from the oppression of the Egyptians. This theological idea is expressed in some of the great hymns of the church, such as “Amazing Grace.” At the same time, we are set free to be who God created us to be. And, while we receive freedom from sin thanks to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, as Christians we have a duty to be aware and discern how we will respond to those who use their power to oppress.
Justice Connection: Too often those who are not in power are marginalized and oppressed. The book provides a fresh perspective on this – from a child’s point of view. Take this opportunity to discuss how those who are not in power are often marginalized and oppressed. Comparisons can be made to plenty of connections throughout history, and how even today we see the same power dynamic at play. Help your children name these dynamics.
Faith Talk (God Talk):
- What part of Mary and Peter’s adventure did you like the best?
- What do you think it must have been like to be in Egypt when the plagues happened?
- Have you ever been treated badly because you are different? What was that like?
- How can our differences be a good thing?
- Name those in your community who are treated badly because they are different. What can you and your family do to help them?
Parenting Connection: Children in this age range may be experiencing some bully or other treatment because they seem different from the other kids. Parents can coach their children in how to deal with bullies. At the same time, parents should be sensitive to preventing their children from becoming the bully. Have regular conversations affirming that it is okay to be different. Two Eggs, Please may be a good book to help guide this conversation.
At the back of the book, as in Book One, a suggested reading guide connecting the story in Exodus to this chapter book. This would be a great activity or family devotional time for parents and children to do together. Let your children consider how they would retell this story in their context. Along the way, parents can encourage young readers to remember how the scenes played out in The Great Escape.
You can buy your own copy at Amazon or check out your local library.