Hurrah! My New Book

Hurrah! Hardback copies of my new book arrived today, and I am very excited. Although I understand it’s not everybody’s cup of tea and it’s very expensive even for a hardback copy, it is based on my PhD thesis on children’s Sunday School literature and it took me several years of study. It is of course aimed at college and university students of history and theology, and hopefully their libraries will stock copies of both the eBook (which is slightly cheaper) and the hardback. Therefore, I am not allowed by the publishers to share it freely but here are a few brief facts to give you a little flavour:

The 18th century writer and Sunday School teacher, Hannah More reached 300,000 sales of her evangelical tracts in the first 6 weeks of publication, rising to in excess of 2 million in the first year. Hannah taught hundreds of children in the Sunday Schools she set up in the Somerset countryside.

Another children’s author, Hesba Stretton, sold over one and a half million copies of Jessica’s First Prayer (a story for children of a young girl who is converted to Christianity through kindness). Stretton was also one of the co-founders of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and used the earnings from her books to donate to charitable causes for children.

In 1868 the children’s author and editor of Aunt Judy’s Magazine, Mrs. Gatty, appealed to her young readers through the magazine to donate to the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street. Magazine subscriptions were donated towards the endowment and permanent maintenance of a cot or bed for a sick child, and the ‘Cot List’ became a significant regular feature in the magazine. By 1872, £1,000 had been collected, and ‘Aunt Judy’s Cot’ for Girls was permanently endowed, the first of its kind in any English hospital. They continued to raise lots of funds for many more cots.

Although the Victorian era highlighted the terrible poverty of street children it also raised up significant Christian philanthropists, many of whom were authors and who donated their earnings to help poor, sick, and needy children. It was thanks to the generosity of these Christians that many children survived and went into the ministry themselves.

I wanted to write this to show how Christianity had such a huge impact on the lives of children in this period but because it is history, it is so often forgotten. I believe the past is important especially the steppingstones in our lives. Also, as my friend Roger Forster so wisely stated: To be ignorant of history is an invitation to repeat its mistakes. The Church has yet to learn the revolutionary value Jesus placed on children and their contribution to church life. Perhaps now is the moment to rectify this error and even become little children ourselves.


Think about your own life, who were the people and places that have influenced your journey from childhood? Think about the milestones in your life and how one significant event has led to another. Now thank God for your journey and the people and places you have been guided by over the years.

The Scriptures are full of personal stories about how God has led His people. These help us to learn from the past and help to build up our faith. Pray Psalm 25 v 4

Show me your ways, O Lord,

Teach me your paths;

Guide me in your truth

And teach me,

For you are God my Saviour,

And my hope is in you

All day long.


There Are No Ordinary People by Jeff Lucas

Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Philip Yancey

Jessica’s First Prayer by Hesba Stretton

Link to my latest book HERE: