Bookworm Fridays: The Door in the Wall

Door in the Wall @ Three Cornered Hug

As I understand it,  The Door in the Wall is one of those “love it or hate it” sort of things. I remember having to read this book as a young person, and at the time, I wasn’t completely sold on it. However, my education didn’t exactly provide me with a good grasp on History, which I feel is helpful to have when approaching this story. As an adult, I devoured this lovely read.

Set in the Middle Ages, this tale follows Robin, a noble’s young son who has lost use of his legs while his parents are away. The servants have succumb to the plague, and Robin is alone until he is taken in by a loving monk.

The Door in the Wall is very much about Robin’s personal triumphs as he learns to find the openings to pass through the difficult walls that life has erected in his path. It’s also useful for learning historical “lingo”, although some complain that the author presents a somewhat “romanticized” version of this time period.

This is recommended for grades 4-8 and while this group should be well able to handle the reading level and events, I’d say it would be more appreciated the the upper age limit and beyond–armed with a dictionary for a few of the older words.

It would be hard to imagine a library that doesn’t carry Marguerite De Angeli’s timeless tale, but just in case yours doesn’t, you can find it here.

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Video

Eric Liddell: Olympian and Missionary

“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. ” Chariots of Fire

Eric Liddell @ Three Cornered Hug

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Even if you’re not familiar with Eric Liddell’s story, you will certainly know the tune to the movie, entitled Chariots of Fire, made about this Olympian.
(If not see the vid below!)

The Olympics of 1924 were held in Paris, and Eric Liddell’s main event was the 100 meter dash. This Christian athlete made history when he withdrew from this event, due to the fact that it was scheduled on a Sunday. Instead, he signed up for the 400 meter dash.

When asked about his plan for the race, he replied, “The secret of my success over the 400 meters is that I run the first 200 meters as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200 meters, with God’s help, I run faster.”

His plan worked; Liddell, “The Flying Scotsman”, went home with a Gold medal, having set a new record for the event.

While some may know this part of his story, many do not realize that Mr. Liddell went on to be a missionary in China. To begin with, he taught chemistry and sports at a boys school. After getting married he was a traveling evangelist, going from village to village.

In 1940, when Japan invaded China, the dire situation caused Liddell’s wife and children to flee to the safety of relatives in Canada.  Liddell himself was placed in an internment camp, where he died of a brain tumor not long before the liberation.

In a nation full of “American Idols”, we need to teach our kids about heroes who had more than just talent. People who gave it their all, who risked their lives for what they believed- those who’ve run without looking back.

There is a wonderful free ebook I found about Liddell’s life, which is basically a beautiful picture album with narration all throughout to tell the story. You can go there by clicking here.

You can also go to the Eric Liddell Website for more info.

Below, the first clip contains actual video of the race, followed by a clip from the movie, Chariots of Fire. Enjoy!

Video

Recommended Resources: Horrible Histories

Horrible Histories is a sort of Saturday Night Live variety type show meets history. It’s produced by the BBC, so usually we would not be able to view them here in the US. Fortunately for us, nice youtube users have posted many of the videos online. Although I can’t be sure about the legality of that, I’ll continue to enjoy it while it lasts.

This series makes history not only tolerable for us, but fun, and we look forward to seeing if there’s a video produced on the next topic we’ll be covering. What I usually do is type in “Horrible Histories” along with the topic or specific historical figure we are learning about. There’s not videos for every topic, but many are covered, all the way from ancient history to more current issues. You can see many of the videos I’ve bookmarked on the middle ages by checking out my Pinterest board.

Just a note: I can’t say that I always appreciate the humor, and therefore I try to view the videos ahead of time just to make sure the message is mother approved.