Here is a book that would make a great devotional read-aloud.
Sentinel, city of destiny is aimed at boys ages 8 and up- but girls will enjoy it too.
The story, written in an allegory-pilgrim's progress meets Narnia style-
is about two brothers setting out on a coming of age quest toward the city of Sentinel. They must travel far, face many challenges and find the four keys (courage, integrity, service and vision) to unlock the gate of Sentinel and enter in to serve the King.
The two brothers make very different choices on their journey- beginning with the choice of companions...one brother brings a royal falcon named Prayer, the other brother brings his pet pig named Sin.
The Author wrote this story for his own sons, and he touches on several important topics young men need to consider and learn to approach wisely as they grow up; subjects such as the narrow vs. the broad road, idleness, debt, gambling, gaming, corrupting music, greed, etc.
One brother Jerol, faces his quest with courage and steadfastness...
"As was his morning custom, Jerol spent time reading and meditating upon the Logos, immediately followed by sending Prayer off with more notes to the King." page 131.
Jadan is ruled by his impulses,...
"The brothers stopped and stood in silence studying their choices. "Well, the best way to me is obvious. Come on, follow me," Jadan barked as he hoisted his gear, winked, and quickly headed down the wide road with Sin hurrying to catch up. "Anybody with half a mind can see that the way traveled by the most people has got to be the best way to go!" page 89
The author added his own illustrations, all well done and a helpful addition to the text. My favorite part of the story was the warning on debt- and the illustration was great- here it is:
A picture of Jadan with his fetter, debt- who had grown too large to manage...
Here is an excerpt from that chapter...
"By Jadan's estimation, she was growing at least three hands wider every day! Jadan was in a desparate situation. To feed her, he was forced to trade back every belonging he owned just to survive." page 153
Jadan and Jerol's story is one of warning, imitation and encouragement. Through the actions and choices of the two brothers, your young boys should find warning of what not to do and be, and good example of what kind of character to strive for. The allegory is a gentle way to impress on your boys the lessons you hope they will learn, without lecturing to them- I think story is more often the better vehicle for life's lessons to youngsters.
Passages such as this one; "One particular morning, Jerol began his day as he had many times before. First, he searched the Scrolls for direction. This discipline had proved its worth like a candle in the dark, helping him often to avoid unseen dangers. He then called Prayer and launched him off ..." page 209 and this one, "I know what I can do. I will send out Prayer on his behalf. Prayer is so much stronger than I am.." page 208 - coupled with our example can often speak to a heart better then a hundred urgings.
This story is written for ages 8 and up, and while Demi-Sky, age 8, was really captured by the action, I do think the finer lessons escaped him. I will be re-reading Sentinel to him at age 10 when I think he will absorb it better. Meg age 12 and Josie age 11-though girls and not the intended audience, really enjoyed the story and understood the underlying themes.
The book is meant to be entertaining for the boys and a teaching tool for parents, to that end, you will find a study guide at the back of the book.
The last sentence of the book sums it up, really...
"I hope that hearing about Jadan and Jerol's crossing will help you to find your way to manhood. Just like them, you must choose which road you will take.
Sentinel can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Borders, etc.