So it is with great excitement that I am sharing with you today Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Strong Women from The Book of Mormon!
The book follows the same basic layout and format as the first book did (you can see it in my first review). I really like how they put the emphasis on asking questions and "likening" these women to yourself. It is also wonderful to see the stories of so many Book of Mormon women told. I am sure that to most young girls (and even older women) that many of these women's stories will be unknown.
The art is similar to the first book with beautiful illustrations by Kathleen Peterson. Personally, I was excited about the art work because it is just about impossible to find images of many of the women in the Book of Mormon. No one has ever taken time to paint many of them, and so I was thrilled that Kathleen Peterson did several of the lesser known women.
When we got this book in the mail my six-year-old Rose was thrilled. She loves stories about the scriptures (don't know where she got that from) and was so eager to have me read it to her. I almost read it as a bedtime story to her, but then I realized that it was one I wanted my boys to hear as well. We ended up reading it (over several days) for our morning devotional before home school. It seems sometimes we assume that boys won't be interested in stories because they are about girls, but it was fun to see my boys loved it just as much as Rose. They need stories about strong, brave and faithful women just as much as the girls do.
I feel that every review, in order to actually be worthwhile, needs to have a good mix of what the reviewer liked and what they thought could be better. So while I love this book and am very impressed I do have a criticism. I was disappointed in some of the names they chose for the women. Most of the women in the Book of Mormon don't have names and so it was imperative that they choose something to call the women by. Yet I was disappointed that for many of the women the authors gave them names that are not really "usable".
For example, for the chapter on Nephi's wife they called her "A Strong Wife Calls on God" which is more of a description of her character than a name. For Nephi's sisters (mentioned in 2 Nephi 5:11-17) they called them "Sisters at the Crossroads", which again is more a description of what they did rather than who they were. I can understand that perhaps they wanted to portray the women as individuals, not just merely as the wife, sisters, or mother of a man. Yet, I feel like the names they gave for many of the women were more confusing than helpful. For example, how much more intriguing would it have been to a young girl to see the title heading of "Nephi's Sisters" and say, "Wow, I didn't know Nephi had sisters! I need to read about them" than to wonder who the "Sisters at the Crossroads" were.
I think that naming these women is so important. The women we do talk about in the Book of Mormon are the women that we (as a church) have named, like "The Mothers of the Stripling Warriors" or "Ishmael's Daughters". Even though we don't have their real names, giving them a name makes it possible for us to talk about them, to share their stories and to remember who they were. Maybe this is my own personal mission showing through, but I wish that they had given them names, ones that would have lent themselves easier to girls being able to stand up in sacrament meeting and share these women's stories in a way that others could identify and use them as well.
Yet, I can't complain too much, because this book is the first of its kind. It is a big step that these stories are even getting told at all... especially to young children. It is one that I am excited to have on my bookshelf and one I know that will get read over and over again. In fact, I'm hoping that as my kids get older they can use these books (which list the scripture references for each story) as a way to start their own study of the women in the scriptures. A girl can always hope... right?
So, in conclusion this book is a beautiful companion to the first "Girls Who Choose God" book and if you have the first one you certainly need to get the second one! You can purchase it at Deseret Book or on Amazon.
You also have the chance today to win a FREE copy of Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Strong Women from The Book of Mormon by participating in the giveaway below. I'm grateful that Deseret Book sent me three copies, one to keep and two to giveaway, so try your luck!
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