Monday, 10 October 2016

Jungle Doctor Books

Do you ever struggle to find good, edifying and yet exciting stories for your children? In our home, reading together is very important. However, we have noted that more modern books have a trend towards themes that we do not wish to expose our children to - for example, dark spirituality (often under a more 'lighthearted guise' which one could argue is even more dangerous) or broken families and psychological angst. Rather, we seek to find books that bring something positive to inspire our children - tales of bravery, of moral uprightness, of strong and healthy relationships, of kindness, of going the extra mile, of standing firm for the truth. Friends and Christian education blogs often make helpful recommendations. One good friend suggested searching out Newbery Medal winners. Sonlight chooses good, edifying fiction which often links in with history and world cultures. A good friend had suggested the Jungle Doctors books, and it is these I wish to write about tonight.

These stories (we are only on our second, but are already captivated) bring in almost everything you would be looking for in a story for children. My boys are ages 7, 6 and 4, but even as adults we are enjoying the stories. They are tales of a missionary doctor set in Tanzania. We've worked as doctors for many years in central and east Africa and find the descriptions of the scenery, the culture, the food, the language, the worldview, the medical conditions encountered and the interpersonal relationships very authentic. The boys particularly enjoy references to things we encounter in our daily lives, and the use of words they are familiar with (there are Swahili phrases, but many of these slip into other Bantu languages too). The doctor (based semi-autobiographically on Paul White) lives an authentic Christian life. When situations seem impossible, he turns to prayer. He and some of the Christian staff with whom they work often draw from passages in the Bible that they have recently been considering - in a way which seems natural and not contrived. There is often a deep moral to the story too - that sin always finds you out, that God provides the opportunity for repentance but that some people do not listen and so forth. The gospel comes across plainly, but not in an awkward or embarrassed way. These are true to life missionary adventure stories which I would wholeheartedly recommend.


  1. We love the Jungle Doctor books too. Not so long ago, we read one at our home ed book club. It was very popular and led to some of the children reading more of the books. Some of my copies were my Mum's Sunday School prizes and are now being read by a third generation.

  2. I find it interesting that I had not heard of the series until recently. But on the other hand, I was not raised in a Christian home, had never been to Sunday school and first attended church when I became a Christian at seventeen. So, until I had my own children and started searching for resources, there are many things I had not encountered.

    1. So buying these! BTW Rosie picked up one of the Little lights books you bought for us ages ago.She was totally fascinated by Corrie Ten Boon's life having been to Amsterdam and we had a great conversation about God's love and protection off the back of it!