It seems hard to find really good Christian fiction for young boys. Today, I would like to introduce a historical fiction book for boys ages seven to nine.

Pelts and Promises, by Nancy Lohr, is the story of a boy who decides to “change my world” and a reluctant participant that gets more than he bargained for when a prank goes wrong.

The time period is 1903 and shows a world much different than ours. During this time, many people were living the country life and working hard just to feed and clothe themselves. There was no extra money to be had.

When the characters, Jamie Refsell and Willie B., have to make restitution for a mistake, they couldn’t just ask their parents for money. They had to figure out a way to earn some, and you can guess from the title they decided to hunt and sell pelts. Their deadline to pay for their mistake is looming when they find out selling pelts did not let them make enough money.

What would two boys decide to do to make up the rest, knowing the values of their families? Some of the values passed down from their families included: hard work, finish what you start, pay back what you owe, “a man must always keep his word” (page 73), and “Things that hurt, teach” (page 82).

Two other lessons taught on page 102 are…

—When you have ruined something, you replace it with something of equal value, not less.

—When you have promised to do business with one person, you don’t leave them hanging when a better offer comes along. A promise is a promise, and it is binding.

All the lessons above are lessons that adults struggle with today. If you can get your children learning these values early in life, it will become a part of their core being and stick so much better than trying to learn when they are out of your home and being tested in the world.

Last night I watched a Dolly Parton Christmas special where she told her reason for starting Imagination Library, which is a program that mails out free books to children from birth to age five. She said her dad was the smartest man she ever knew, but he never learned to read. He had been so excited for her program and cheered her on because he knew the importance and value of being able to read. Dolly’s hope is that her program will get children interested in reading at a young age. I am paraphrasing her statement, but she said that you don’t have to have a degree to learn; you can learn anything if you can read because there are books on every subject you would ever need.

I agree… the most important thing any parent could do, after leading their child to have a relationship with Christ, is to teach them to read and have a love for books.

So… I highly recommend, Pelts and Promises, to get boys ages seven to nine, interested in history, different ways of life, strengthening core values, and making choices that will “change their lives.” And, you would probably enjoy the story, also.

What books have you read lately with your children that you would recommend to parents?