Elisha: A Man of Gentleness and Self-Control written by Redeisha C. Allen, illustrated by Hatice Bayramoglu
Book description: Journey with Melanin Origins as we share a short story about a mighty man of God named Elisha, and how his life lines up with the Fruits of the Spirit: Gentleness and Self-Control. Meekness may be defined as, “strength under control”, but when one knows he possesses great abilities within– it takes a dose of gentleness and self-control to rightly direct one’s efforts for the glory of God.
Elisha is the next book in the All in All series that shows the lives of Biblical prophets. This reads like a lot of the traditional saint stories detailing the early life of Elisha, his call to God, and his miracles. This is a great starting point for young readers, parents, and educators wanting to introduce these important religious figures.
But the series elevates the simple biographical format by incorporating a characteristic or skill that children can develop with practice and a role model demonstrating what it looks like. Here Elisha represents thoughtfulness and, as the title says, self control. Oh, self control. Such a hard skill for children and adults alike. Elisha takes his time thinking about questions he’s been asked and problems he’s been called upon to help solve. He prays, thinks, and then offers advice. While children won’t read this once and master thoughtful action and answers, they can easily grasp the concept which is gently presented here. And while many people worry about books that moralize to children or contain a Message (capital M), Allen has done a pitch perfect job balancing being clear about what Elisha represents and not preaching in an insulting and too-obvious way. Elisha is clearly someone to emulate, not someone who can be held over the heads of kids who sometimes (or frequently) act impulsively.
Illustrator Hatice Bayramoglu depicts Elisha, and even Elijah, as young boys following the tradition of Melanin Origins’ Snippet of the Life series. I wrote in my very first review of one of those books that I was surprised how it made the person and subject more relatable for my own daughter. Kids like to see themselves in stories and having famous figures shown as children gives them an entre.
This whole series is recommended for churches, Sunday schools, religious homeschoolers, parochial schools, and families looking to feature religious figures at home. Libraries also serve all of these populations and I would recommend they purchase these as well, especially for homeschooling families who frequently use libraries.
Purchase the book here (not affiliate links). Please, in this uncertain time, if at all possible, purchase from an independent/local bookstore. They need our help right now.
Final note: If you do purchase this book, please post a review of it on Amazon. This will help other folks find the book and know that it’s worth purchasing. If you use any other book services like GoodReads or your local library’s online catalog be sure to post a review there too! And if your local library doesn’t have a copy, request that they purchase one.