Homeschool Crew Review – Jacob Deshazer: Forgive Your Enemies

Christian Heroes: Then & Now
What can I say?  We love YWAM Publishing‘s books.  This year, Cuddle Bug, who just turned 8 and is in 2nd grade, has learned all of her American history through listening as I read aloud to her all of the books in the Heroes of History series.  We supplemented that series recently by reading a book from their Christian Heroes: Then and Now series.  We chose to read Jacob Deshazer: Forgive Your Enemies in part because Cuddle Bug is half Japanese, and the story centered around Jacob Deshazer’s 30 years in Japan working as a missionary.

About Jacob Deshazer: Forgive Your Enemies

Jacob Deshazer lived on the Pacific coast and had an upbringing steeped in religion.  He rejected religion as a teenager and made his own way working as a cook for a group of cowboys.  He made decent money, which he saved diligently.  After two years, he decided to leave that work, take his money, and buy turkeys.  The problem?  The Great Depression.  He lost money on that endeavor, so he soon joined the Army.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he, along with about 80 other soldiers, was recruited for a secret mission.  He didn’t know what the mission was, but he didn’t want to be the only soldier not to accept, so he said he’d go.

He was actually part of the Doolittle Raid, and his mission was to bomb key locations in Tokyo.  Right before take off he discovered that one part of the glass in the plane had a hole in it, so his team was already at a disadvantage.  While his plane was able to bomb their targets, they didn’t have enough fuel to make it safely to the part of China not occupied by the Japanese.  Jake and his crew mates parachuted out of the plane, and then the hell began.

Jacob Deshazer was a prisoner of war for 40 months, and a few years in, the man who had firmly rejected all religion, even going so far as to avoid a religious service before the Doolittle Raid, found God.  He memorized the Bible in all of his spare time in solitary confinement.  He found peace and love.  And right before the war ended, he decided that he would return to Japan and become a missionary.  And that’s just what he did.

How We Used This Book

I read one chapter aloud every day to Cuddle Bug.  We both really enjoyed this book.  While it is about a man’s deep love for God and his fellow man, this is also a book about forgiveness and enjoying your life no matter what issues you’ve had to face.  The book was also rich in historical lessons.

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that I learn right alongside my children.  I have read biographies about U.S. soldiers who were taken prisoner of war by the Japanese, so I knew the experience could be brutal.  While this book did detail Deshazer’s torture and the terrible conditions he had to endure, I appreciate that the book wasn’t too graphic as it is written for children.  However, I’m planning on reading some of the books written about Jacob Deshazer to more fully grasp his story.

The Unit Study/Curriculum Guide

YWAM Downloadable Unit Studies

While you don’t have to use the unit study/curriculum guide to reap the rewards of reading YWAM books, there is a lot of great information in here!

YWAM breaks down the Christian Heroes books by time and by location, making it easy to determine the right book for what you’re studying.  In addition, they explain how to use the unit study guide in a group setting and at home and how to use it with varying ages and grades.

The unit study guide includes:

  • key Bible verses for memorization,
  • comprehension questions,
  • student explorations (I love the student explorations because they include not only the traditional essay topics related to the story, but also creative writing topics, hands on activities, audio/visual projects)
  • community links,
  • social studies,
  • related themes to explore,
  • culminating event,
  • books and resources, and
  • answers to questions

While Cuddle Bug (7) is a little young for the intended audience of 10 and older for both the book and study guide, she had no trouble comprehending the story.  In addition, we used the study guide when I asked her comprehension questions, though we did that orally.

If you’d like a comprehensive unit study, or if you just want to read more about a certain period in history or a certain historical figure, I cannot recommend YWAM Publishing’s books enough.

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I was one of 100 people to read a variety of YWAM books from both of their series including Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Story Book Life, Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den, and Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire.  To read more reviews, click on the link below:

Christian Heroes, Heroes of History & Study Guides {YWAM Publishing Reviews}
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