We’ve just been blessed to review a wonderful biography and study guide of one of my favorite Christians of history, Corrie Ten Boom! Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, Jackson and I received a softcover version of YWAM Publishing‘s Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den from their Christian Heroes: Then And Now series. We also received a Digital Study Guide to use alongside the book, entitled the Corrie Ten Boom Unit Study Curriculum Guide.
Previously, we’ve reviewed two other books from YWAM Publishing; Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose and C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller, both of which we loved. We’re always on the lookout now for YWAM biographies!
Are you familiar with Corrie ten Boom’s story? Residents of Haarlem, Holland, Corrie and the ten Boom family, who were faithful Christians, lived in a house called the Beje. On the first floor was a watch shop, run by Corrie and her father Casper ten Boom. Her sister Betsie also lived at the Beje, and their siblings were married with children and lived nearby. When Holland was invaded by the Nazis, the ten Booms became (to Corrie’s surprise) involved in the Dutch underground as the German invaders began to persecute, round up, and imprison Dutch Jews. Eventually the ten Booms secretly hosted Jewish “guests,” who had to go into hiding at the Beje. The underground even built a secret room in Corrie’s bedroom, where the “guests” could gather if there were a raid on the home.
Of course, eventually the Beje was raided and the ten Booms, arrested. Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den, Corrie’s story for younger readers, is capably retold by Janet and Geoff Benge. It’s recommended for ages 10 and up. However, while it is a story where God’s hand and deliverance are so clearly seen, it’s also a devastating one. Corrie and her sister Betsie are sent to Ravensbruck, a concentration camp in Germany where prisoners were actually gassed and their bodies, burned. Even students who are familiar with WWII will find parts of this book difficult to read. Parents should gauge their own children’s sensitivities to these topics.
However, as terrible as Corrie’s and Betsie’s (and the rest of their family’s) experiences are, God does do amazing things through them. And Corrie’s devastating war experiences become a platform for what begins as a ministry to survivors of concentration camps, and ultimately becomes a worldwide ministry where she shares about forgiveness and the love of God; even with the German former guards of Ravensbruck.
The Digital Study Guide is a fantastic way to incorporate a unit study about Corrie ten Boom, her life, and history along with the reading of the book. Here’s a sampling of some of the topics it covers:
- Bible verses
- Chapter questions about the book for both younger and older readers
- Geography (it even includes maps!) and a study of The Netherlands
- and more!
We chose a number of activities from the unit study to focus our time and attention on. We began with some geography. First, of Holland itself, and some of the locations that were important in Corrie’s story: Haarlem, her hometown, and her home the Beje; Scheveningen, where she and Betsie were first imprisoned; and Ravensbruck, the notorious concentration camp in Germany.
We also studied the map of Europe. We completed a couple of art projects related to Holland and Corrie’s life. We studied some verses important to Corrie, and learned a bit more about her ministry and the ten Boom family’s work in the Dutch underground.
I mentioned earlier that Corrie ten Boom is a much-beloved historical figure of mine. I read her story The Hiding Place years ago, when I was in grade school. And, I looked forward to introducing it to my son. He did appreciate much of it; but he struggled with the overwhelming sadness he perceived about Corrie’s life. She really did lose so much during the war, and because of the war.
And yet over and over, God’s hand is so visibly seen. The ten Booms’ courage, valor, and honor; the Jews whom they were able to save (not only the ones hidden in the secret room during the raid, but an estimated 800 overall through the underground); God’s Word, which Betsie and Corrie freely shared with the female prisoners at Ravensbruck; Corrie’s ministry of forgiveness following the war. It is an astounding story.
We’d recommend that you introduce Corrie and her life to your children when you sense they’re really ready to hear a difficult story. I do believe that everyone should know the story of the ten Booms. But it’s a question of when!
You may purchase both Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den and its accompanying Digital Study Guide at YWAM Publishing. You can see more of the fantastic resources offered by YWAM Publishing at their social media sites:
Also, other Crew members reviewed a huge variety of biographies about amazing Americans and faithful Christians. If you click on the banner below, you can read about some of these other great YWAM biographies!