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Mary Slessor, Forward Into Calabar Book Review. Christian Heroes Then and Now

Today I am reviewing a book in the series Christian Heroes Then and Now, by Janet and Geoff Benge. These books are produced by Youth With a Mission (YWAM) for the targeted ages of 9-12. See the whole series here! They have many, many titles, so there should be something to interest any reader. Each book in this series highlights the life of prominent person in Christian history–missionaries, visionaries, world-changers, and inspirational. everyday people who chose to dedicate their lives to God’s service.

YWAM Publishing

I received the book, Mary Slessor, Forward into Calabar, for free, for the purpose of this review. I downloaded the unit study curriculum guide from YWAM.

Mary Slessor, Christian Heroes Then and Now

Our Experience with Mary Slessor and YWAM Books

This is not our first book in the Christian Heroes Then and Now series. Indeed, we have read many of the titles over the years in our family. Our first title, Nate Saint, found here: https://www.ywampublishing.com/p-218-christian-heroes-then-nowbrnate-saint-on-a-wing-and-a-prayer.aspx had us on the edge of our seats through the whole book. We delayed lunch, shed tears, and looked up more resources after reading his biography several years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed it and could not get enough of the thrilling story!

We have enjoyed many titles. Our favorites so far are Nate Saint, Jacob DeShazer, Lilian Trasher, Corrie Ten Boom, and many that I’m not remembering right now. We have spent many evenings as a family, or long car drives reading and listening to this series.

Mary Slessor, Youth With a Mission, by Janet and Geoff Benge

Listen While You Work, Drive, or Relax

As our family became more of a “school on the run” family, we found that we could download the titles in the Christian Heroes Then and Now series to listen to while traveling. We have actually downloaded several titles with our Audible membership. Sometimes this is a nice option when Mom (or whoever happens to be the chief reader), gets a sore throat or weary of reading.

Mary Slessor, YWAM, audio book download

Mary Slessor, Forward into Calabar

If you have not read the story of Mary Slessor, you are in for a treat. Mary was a tiny red-head, born into the family of Scottish weavers. The family struggled in many ways, with an alcoholic father, poverty, and poor conditions in Dundee, Scotland. Mary’s mother aspired for one of her children to become a missionary. It was always assumed that one of Mary’s brothers would fill this role.

When this became impossible, Mary realized that she could become the missionary of the family. At this time, no woman, and hardly a white man, had even traveled into the heart of Africa and come out alive. Calabar was known as “The White Man’s Grave” for good reason. No white man came out alive, and often the journey into the interior of Africa was a very short trip.

Mary was inspired by the life and legacy of David Livingstone, missionary to Africa. She devoted her life to God, and felt the call to go serve in Africa. She did not shrink from the dangers, but trusted that her mighty God would protect and sustain her.

Mary served in among the Okoyong People in Calabar, Nigeria. She soon gained the admiration and respect of the natives and foreigners alike, becoming a peacemaker and advocate for the needy and abused.

In those days, ritual practices in the tribes included horrific abuses to women and children, especially twin babies, who were abandoned and worse. Mary mediated many times between the tribal leaders and the oppressed villagers. Soon, the women came to see her as “The White Ma”, the “White Queen” and most endearingly, “The Ma Who Loves Babies”. Not so surprisingly, before long, mothers began to leave abandoned babies, oftentimes twins, on her door step, and Mary adopted them as her own. She gave her heart and her life for the people of Africa whom she loved dearly.

The story of Mary Slessor is a wonderfully inspiring account of service and sacrificing love, along with grit and daring. Mary Slessor died in her beloved land, and people from around the world flocked to give their respects to the memory of this small lady with the big heart upon her death.

Unit Study Curriculum

We downloaded the unit study curriculum from https://www.ywampublishing.com/default.aspx. Below are some sample pages from the study.

The unit study is a guide that provided instruction and ideas for using the book as a spine to branch out on, for use in a small group or homeschool.

Unit studies are wonderful ways to learn by immersion, and this guide is a helpful tool, so you don’t have to do all of the work to plan it out. It is a list of many suggestions, that you choose from, depending on your family situation. The study could be used for a week or two, or be adapted to a whole semester! While this sounds like a long time period, it would be a very memorable way to delve into the history, geography, and customs of the land. Also, by incorporating Bible memorization, songs, cultural practices, essays, artwork, and music, you would get a thorough immersion into the times and could have a very enjoyable experience.

Some Considerations with Unit Studies

With Unit Studies, you have to take into account your age range and interest level. Some children would enjoy immersing themselves into the whole experience, and some are going to just want to read the book and move on. Life events, family situation, and other factors will determine how deep you will want to go. But the price is minimal for an instant download (around $5.50 currently), so even if you just gained a few ideas, it might be worth it to check out.

We actually read this book while traveling, and we were reminded of the story that we had read as a family some years ago, entitled Mighty Mary. Again, we were inspired by the pluck and determination of this little missionary.

Mary Slessor, Christian Heroes Then and Now Unit Study Images

You can read more about the series, and find links to more reviews on the books in this series by following the link below, or clicking on the image below.


Whichever title you choose, or however you decide to incorporate the true biography into your home, I believe you will be blessed with the Christian Heroes Then and Now Series. They bring great PEOPLE to life!



For other reviews with the Homeschool Review Crew and independently, see:

Product Review for Trive—A Goal Setting and Achieving Guide. Homeschool Review Crew.

The Bible Memory App – Bible Memory PRO —Homeschool Review Crew Review

The 101 Series. Biology 101 Review

3 Replies

  1. This was an interesting read! Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 73. Pinned.

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️