Sunday, June 04, 2017

Building Faith Block by Block by Michael & Christopher Ross (Book Review #18 of 2017)

Building Faith Block By Block: [An Unofficial Minecraft Guide] 60 A-to-Z (Kid Only) Survival Secrets

I'm a dad of a nine year old autistic son who loves Minecraft and spends hours each week reading books and watching videos on the game. We do devotionals with him every night and he eagerly engages in family worship, but he does not show much interest in reading Bible stories or watching faith-related videos-- and there is little out there on YouTube worth watching, unlike the endless hours of Minecraft.

So, I was VERY excited to learn about this book and check out an evaluation Kindle copy via NetGalley. It has the same type of Minecraft gameplay tips as other books my son reads, but it relates those tips to a spiritual concept. Each Minecraft concept includes a "Best Tip" for use in the game, a "Read It" passage that relates to the concept from Scripture, a "Think It" passage to challenge the child to understand the biblical lesson, and a "Live It" that applies to real life.

For example, the author talking about bedrock in the game (acquired through a command line code):
"This common mineral can withsatand creepers who attack in the night. It cannot be broken by tools, and it can't be destroyed by explosions. It's the only block that a beacon beam can shine through at night. And it's one of the materials used to create an End gateway portal when the ender dragon is killed. We need bedrocks in our lives. They're solid pieces that go unnoticed--but are so important in life-- having a strong faith, a safe home, and a family that loves us." Dragee90 gives a tip about using bedrock in the game, and then offers Matthew 7:24-25 as a Scripture reading-- building your house on the solid rock. His Think It questions ask: "What is the solid rock? How do we build our lives on it?" His Live it concludes: "There is only one rock-solid truth--one bedrock. Truth comes from God...we build on solid rock by following the teachings of Jesus."

I received a pre-release Kindle copy and the pictures are black and white and the text was organized to make it difficult. So, I'm hoping the actual Kindle version is much better. But nonetheless, I'm buying a paperback version for my son today! While the book says it's geared for 7th graders, I think it's written at a much lower reading level than most regular Minecraft books, so no problem if you have an elementary-aged child. [UPDATE 6/13] I'm very pleased with the paperback version. The pictures are black-and-white and stock photos that look like Minecraft without actually being from Minecraft. But the devotionals keep Elias' attention and make it more fun than others we've tried.

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