I have to be honest with you, I have fallen in love with every product I have ever tried from Apologia Educational Ministries. Seriously, I recommend their stuff to all of my homeschool mom friends! So of course, I jumped at the chance to check out their new worldview iWitness books. We got a copy of the Old Testament iWitness, New Testament iWitness, and iWitness Biblical Archaeology. The books are appropriate for all ages as read-alouds and I think the pictures and format would appeal to children and adults, but for reading alone they work for ages 11 and up.
The books are written by Doug Powell, and are set up almost like a scrapbook, with different fonts and pictures set up to look like a collage. Old Testament iWitness tackles questions like “who wrote the Old Testament?” and “How were the books collected?”. Powell presents historical evidence factually, allowing the reader to put the pieces together and draw their own conclusions. My oldest son and I read this one, and both of us learned things we didn’t know. It also inspired a lot of discussion, and a desire to go back to the Bible and read the books themselves (which I really appreciated).
In New Testament iWitness, topics explored include the authors of the books, how they were handed down, and how we know they are accurate. It also includes some church history. This book I read with my 8th grade son who found the information about how the books were copied and the different translations so interesting that he wanted to go to our Christian bookstore and look at the different translations so he could compare them himself!
The iWitness Biblical Archaeology was probably the most interesting book for both of my boys. It was the first one my youngest grabbed, and his brother kept bugging him to finish so he could check it out. It begins by talking about the Flood and the search for Noah’s Ark (a topic of high interest for both of my kids). I found the parts about the Dead Sea Scrolls very interesting, and the section about the world during Jesus time also sparked a lot of discussion.
As is typical of Apologia, all three of the books are beautifully done. The images are just gorgeous, and I think these will work very well for kids who are visual learners. The text is broken up into small chunks, which is good for kids like my youngest son, who sometimes gets overwhelmed with a lot of words on one page. However, I do have friends with kids who get flustered when pages seem overly “busy”, and there is a LOT to look at on these pages, so I could see them having a problem with that.
I think these books are a fascinating read just for fun, but you could also easily use them for school as well. For my high school son, they make an excellent resource for worldview or a study of church history. I like how the author presents the facts without a lot of opinion. For my younger son, we used them as a supplement to our regular Bible study, and I kind of let him go for further exploration of whatever topics he found most interesting. Each iWitness book costs only $14.00, which is a great price. These are a perfect addition to any library, and also make excellent “coffee table” books!!
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