I am going to be completely honest with you. Normally, I am not a reader of historical fiction. Normally, I am not a reader of books that take place outside of the United States. I am a very visual person, so when I read I picture the events. This is exceptionally hard for me if I am familiar with the setting and details. I am trying hard to branch out of my comfort zone this year, and in doing so, I have found several amazing books. It is this need to branch out that had me excited to read The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio.
About the Author
Jarm Del Boccio (the J is pronounced by a Y) is an avid traveler, having traveled to 6 out of the 7 continents. She uses these travels, as well as her love for Christ, as inspiration for her writing. Jarm has a background in education in both the elementary and high school capacity. She also served as a school librarian for seven years and is currently a teacher at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
About the Book
The Heart Changer is available in both electronic and physical copies. I was given the opportunity to receive a physical copy of the book. This soft-cover book contains 116 pages. The story itself is 98 pages long. My physical copy was autographed by Jarm Del Boccio.
What Is It About?
This middle-grade historical fiction follows the story of Naaman found in II Kings 5. Jarm Del Boccio retells this story from the perspective of the servant, whom she has named Miriam. Miriam is a twelve-year-old Israelite captive that has been taken away from her family. Her village was raided, and she was brought into Syria where she is to serve as the maidservant to the wife of Commander Naaman who ordered the raid on her village.
Through this task, her faith is challenged, as she is full of anger at the conditions that brought her to this role. In addition to anger, she is worried about her family and fears that God has forsaken her or is punishing her.
As she learns how to fill this role in which God has placed her, she must also learn about being a “gentile”. She must eat unclean foods that are forbidden in Jewish culture and religion. After meeting the Naaman’s wife, Adara, Miriam finds herself growing close to the woman she has been brought to serve.
After Naaman is stricken with leprosy, Miriam tells them about Elisha, a prophet in her home-town that is able to heal others with the Lord’s help. After meeting Elisha and following the prophet’s instructions, Naaman is healed.
To see a video synopsis of the story provided on the author’s website, click below.
About The Teacher’s Guide
I did not receive a copy of the Teacher’s Guide, however, it is available on the publisher’s website for The Heart Changer. It will bring you to the following screen.
While on that site, If you click the image that is outlined in red, it will take you to the Teacher’s Guide. The guide contains a section about the author, Jarm Del Boccio, as well as a section about Miriam. There are also sections about the setting for the story and activities that are related to The Heart Changer.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the Teacher’s Guide was the inclusion of Syrian recipes such as “Stuffed Zucchini”. I look forward to trying some of these recipes.
Since I have already shared with you my aversion to reading historical fiction, I can admit that I was pleasantly surprised by Miriam’s story. I found that Jarm Del Boccio did a great job of providing enough details that I could easily picture the events in my mind. This fictional retelling of Naaman’s story in II King really helped me understand the task that Miriam had to do. She had to overcome her own anger and worry to help the man who raided her village.
This story would be perfect for a middle-school to high-school-aged child. I will tell say that I worry about my daughter reading this story. We adopted her from foster care, and she can remember being taken away from her birth home. She remembers being taken from foster home to foster home, so I worry that this could be a trigger for her. However, I hope that in reading it, it will help her to process of the emotions that she has from these events.
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If you would like to read other reviews from my fellow Review Crew members click the graphic below.