The library at my church growing up wasn’t very large, but I do remember the children’s section being jam-packed with biographies of notable Christians from history. It’s where I first encountered some of the names you might expect when you think about that type of book; stories about Elisabeth Elliot, Ben Carson, Eric Liddell, Corrie ten Boom. While I think some of those editions have aged better than others, the stories remain inspiring, and Christian biographies for kids are an ever-popular category. One name that I never encountered in my childhood church library but that I was delighted to see a new biography for is Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth II: The Queen Who Chose to Serve is by Alison Mitchell, with illustrations by Emma Randall, and it’s part of The Good Book Company’s “Do Great Things for God” series which features inspiring Christian women throughout history. Other titles include stories about Gladys Aylward, Betty Greene, Betsey Stockton, Corrie ten Boom, and Fanny Crosby. It’s probably not very professional of me to call these books “cute,” but it’s the first descriptor I reach for—the illustrations *are* so cute! They remind me of the “Little People, Big Dreams” biography series of historical and pop culture figures that you might see in your public library – so if you have young readers who enjoy that series, definitely check these out as well. I’m looking forward to seeing the continuation of this series and who they might feature next!
Some readers might be a bit surprised to see Elizabeth II in this list; I think we tend to think of “heroes of the faith” as those who lived a long time ago, whose legacy has had decades to be cemented and established. But, hang on—oh right, this woman has been Queen of the United Kingdom for seventy years! I really appreciated the simple approach this book takes to Elizabeth’s life and faith; it includes details of her childhood and unexpected path to the throne, but circles back at a few points to directly quote her public radio talks at Christmas. It is in these moments of directly addressing millions of people that Elizabeth has been the most vocal about the role her faith plays in her life. Especially as an American reader for whom the Queen’s Christmas speech usually passes unobserved, I enjoyed reading her actual words – it was an interesting window into the Biblical concepts of service and trust. The historical timeline at the end of the book really emphasizes how much has happened over the course of Elizabeth’s reign, and how many changes she has seen. This book will be a fun one for the little Anglophiles in your life, or any young reader who loves history or enjoys a story about a real-life queen. I’m glad to have it in my church library.
*Note: review copy of this book received from the publisher.