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The Hidden Village Review by Pam Havens

Bonnie Rose Hudson
JourneyForth Books
1430 Wade Hampton Blvd.
Greenville, SC 29609

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7, NIV.

This scripture is how I would describe this single-bound book, The Hidden Village. With ten short chapters, and the book itself being sixty pages of reading, it is easy to predict that one would be able to read through this entire book in one sitting. Journey with Manju as his adventuresome personality takes him on a journey deep into the forest only to discover a hidden village, different from the one he knows. He encounters a few desperate children and an older woman living in this village, and later prays for God to show him how to help them. He needs to first convince his own village that these people are real and figure out a way to help them to survive. This book is quite a compelling book to read, and anyone who has a sense of adventure or loves to travel will definitely enjoy exploring the world of India with Manju. The cost is $6.99.

My independent 10-year-old reader read this book as part of his summer reading challenge, and I read this book to my 7-year-old during our read-aloud time. I enjoy exposing my children to various parts of the world and to many different cultures and people groups. It is so important to give children the opportunities to learn about what makes this world special, and how they can see that one life can make a huge impact in their corner of the planet. With the questions in the back of the book which are meant for discussion and digging a little deeper, one could easily incorporate this book into a unit study. Recommended ages are for 6- to 7-year-olds, but you could adapt this book for younger or older elementary children, depending on your reader’s ability. It is not an overwhelming book for a struggling reader, but it may not challenge the most advanced reader either. It is appropriate for all ages, though.

My children very much enjoyed reading and exploring the country of India with Manju, and learning how his life is so vastly different than how they are growing up in the United States. We were able to use our map skills and find where Manju’s country was, continent, and bodies of water. It was extremely easy for us to include this book into our routine, as we are already a traveling family that explores other cultures, places, people groups, and languages on a regular basis. My only drawback with this book was the content. I wish the author would have added a little more detail to each chapter. I felt that we had questions that went unanswered, because there was not enough detail provided.

We enjoyed sharing this experience of The Hidden Village, and learning about the life of Manju, with our children. I would recommend this book for all families that are researching India, those who love to learn about other people groups, traveling families, or for those who just have a love for learning. For us to understand and truly love one another, we must first consciously choose to connect our hearts with those that look, act, eat, and speak differently than us. We are all uniquely made by God!

-Product review by Pam Havens, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2017