**Please note: We’ve added an alternate reading option for this week. Spy for the Night Riders: Martin Luther (Trailblazer Books #3)by Dave and Neta Jackson. If you have already bought the book, we’d recommend either reading it aloud so a parent can edit the bad language or using a Sharpie to “delete” it.
Return with me, please, to a time about two months ago when we at Redeemed were discussing our books selections for the second summer reading challenge. Sometimes it’s not easy for me to come up with a recommended book list, not because I read too few children’s books but for the opposite reason. However, since our theme was time-travel, I knew just the thing; one of the first books I’d reviewed for this this website, which had impressed me with its atmosphere and narrative drive, not to mention beautiful illustrations. There was one drawback, according to my own review: a few instances of profanity (specifically, taking the Lord’s name in vain). That’s a serious issue to me, but as it’s unfortunately more common in children’s literature these days, I thought we might take the opportunity to specifically address it with our kids.
Then I re-read the book, and found many more instances of God’s name used—not always in vain, but primarily. I remembered about three, but obviously I shouldn’t be relying on memory (certainly not at my age!). So, dear Redeemed Readers, I must apologize; if I had taken the precaution of refreshing my memory on this book two months ago, I probably would have passed it up.
However . . . at this point on our journey, many of you have already bought the book, and so I plan to take a little more time and look at the issue of profanity in children’s literature. Of course, misuse of God’s name is all around us today, and the way it’s represented in On the Blue Comet is true to the time period and the Midwestern depression-era social milieu (one reason I was attracted to the book in the first place—besides liking trains–is that it reminds me of my east-Missouri in-laws!). People do talk this way; how do we as Christians respond in love? Young readers of the age target for this book—ages 9-13—are old enough to start thinking about that.
If you haven’t bought the book, we’d recommend purchasing the alternate instead: Spy for the Night Riders: Martin Luther (Trailblazer Books #3)
If you already have On the Blue Comet , some of the language should definitely be skipped. I’ve listed the pages where you can flag these references and avoid them during a read aloud. For children reading silently, you may want to flag the words yourself or ask more mature readers to mark problematic passages. The last thing we should do is ignore them, so we’ll turn this into a teaching moment when we finally get to this book in July.
Page numbers (and you might ask, are all of these instances of profanity? God is real to some of these characters, and though they might be referring to him a little too casually, it might not be “in vain”): 104, 136, 152, 155, 185 (?), 187 (the expression “hell or high water”), 205, 207 (hell), 208, 234, 282, 283, 285, 306 (curse word), 320.