Dear parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, grief counselors and facilitators, the Lamplighter Rare Collector series is a collection of unique books that focus on the topic of death in a way that leaves the reader filled with comfort, hope and an understanding that a believer’s real home is not this present earth. Children and teens from the late 17, 18 and early 1900′s, model for youth and adults today that there is a God who deeply cares, can be trusted, and demonstrate that all things really do work together for good. Death was included in children’s books during these time periods because people wanted children prepared for their eternal destiny and to convey an understanding that God is sovereign in all life circumstances.
Reading these with a child or teen may open up great opportunities for them to explore and discuss their own questions about death, God, and their faith in Jesus Christ. It is hard to find good books on this topic from a Biblical, Christ centered perspective that are not told through an animal given human thoughts and emotions. Often, well written stories, full of biblical truths, will encourage a hurting heart better than many spoken words or a book presenting facts about grieving or death.
May our Lord Jesus use these stories to heal the broken hearted and fill any void with hope.
J. Lefever R.N., B.S.B.
Grief Recovery Ministry
Christies Old Organ – any age – The boy, Christie, living in the stark poverty of working class London, is forced to cope with the death of his mother, then the death of his dear old friend Treffy—his only friend in the world. To most any child this would lead to certain despair, but before old Treffy departed from this world, Christie remembers the song of Home Sweet Home that his mother used to sing to him which leads him on a path that opens the doors to eternal life for both Christie and old Treffy. This was one of the first Lamplighter books I read and brought me to me knees as I was reminded of the brevity of life and the insurmountable love that our heavenly Father has for his children.
Buried in the Snow - ages 7 and up – A young lad and his grandfather are caught in a small herding chalet in the Swiss Jura mountains as a series of blizzards literally bury them. The two survive for several months beneath the carpet of snow. The grandfather never wavers in his trust in God and his faith that God’s plan is always right. Shortly before rescue, the grandfather passes away and meets his savior—but not before he was able to pass the baton of manhood on to his grandson. This is a heartwarming story of a young boy who faces the death of his grandfather with beautiful honor, respect, and responsibility.
Clean Your Boots, Sir? – ages 8 and up – Young Robert is a shoe black whose family depends on his meager wages. His mother died of the cholera and he is forced to watch day after day as his father slowly grows weaker and weaker. Robert can have joy in his father’s death as he is confident that they will meet in heaven some day; but what will become of his two younger brothers? Not willing that they be separated, Robert works tirelessly and one days has an opportunity to cash in on a moths wages because of a careless mistake of an unthankful customer. During a critical moment of decision, Robert is faced with his first test of character which will determine not only his own future, but the future fate of his brothers. This is an excellent story to help children realize that our truest character surfaces during the most difficult times.
The Lamplighter – ages 10 and up – While still a young child, little Gertie is left an orphan by the death of her mother. Her mean and uncaring guardian mistreats her to the point of neglecting her basic needs of warm clothing and nourishing food. But one day after a severe mistreatment, little dirty Gertie finds herself standing below the Lamplighter’s ladder. True to his simple but loving heart, the Lamplighter lifts the barefoot child from the cold pavers and carries her to his home where the most extraordinary relationship develops. His example of humility and meekness guides Gertie as she grows into one of the most virtuous young women in all of London.
Probable Sons – ages 7-12 – After the death of her mother, Milly is brought to live with her stern uncle in the English countryside. One of her favorite bed time stories that she remembers from her mother is the story of the Return of the Prodigal Son. The only problem is that she cannot pronounce the word “prodigal” and says “probable.” And everyone she meets, rich or poor, she asks if they are a probable son—leading many back to the Savior—including her stern uncle!
Stick to the Raft – ages 10 and up – Hans’ father raised him to be a hard worker and to love God. On his deathbed, he told his son to stick to the raft regardless of how turbulent the waters are. Hans must work through life on his own with nothing more than the dying words of his father to guide him. After much trial, he learns that the true raft to cling to is Jesus Christ.
Ishmael and the sequel Self Raised – ages 12 and up – Ishmael is born into absolute poverty in rural Maryland in the early part of the 1800’s. His mother dies at his birth, and he labors all his life to bring honor to her family name through a commitment to integrity and character. This is a story that has had the greatest impact upon teens, more than any other Lamplighter book. We often receive letters informing us of dramatic life changes and renewed commitments to a life of honor, integrity, and Christ-like character as a result of this exceptional story.
Teddy’s Button (we have one for young children in an illustrated version and one for 8-12 year olds) – Teddy Platt is the son of a British soldier that was killed in battle and according to Teddy’s story died a heroic death for queen and country. Wishing to be a soldier like his father, Teddy soon learns that battles fought with guns and hate will never defeat his most ardent enemy whom he has named “bully,” who also lives within him. But when he enters the service of the King of Heaven, Teddy gladly obeys his new orders to win each battle with love, because love never fails!
Rosa of Linden Castle – ages 9 and up – Rosa’s dear mother dies while she is still a blossoming young woman. Her mother had poured into her life all her love and commitment to God and service to others. When her family’s castle is attacked and her father is imprisoned, Rosa is willing to pay the ultimate price to win her father’s freedom. When her bravery and sacrifice are learned by the governor of the land (without knowing she is the daughter of his enemy), she is granted one wish. When faced with the freeing of his enemy, he must also face the freeing of his soul through forgiveness.
The Little Lamb – any age – Rosalie and her mother struggle to get along after the death of her father in the war. She gains great comfort from her friendship with Emily whose father also died during the war. Through a little lamb won by an act of integrity and given from a heart of love, God brings a long lost family back together home and reunites hearts long separated. This is a story that will hold you on the edge of your seat and will encourage you to trust that all things really do work together for good—even 18 years later!
“The Lamplighter Publishing website is an EXCELLENT resource for children/teen books about death. Jesus spoke many times in parables and stories to teach a spiritual lesson–when a book can follow this principle, many hearts can be reached that otherwise might not be.” - R. Wiseman
Grief Recovery Ministry, Ocean Drive Presbyterian
The Basket of Flowers – ages 10 and up – After the death of his wife, James is left alone with his daughter to live a quiet peaceable life. However, a false accusation forces Mary to choose between lying to save her and her father’s lives or face the gallows. Taught by her godly father that it is better to die for the truth than to live for a lie, Mary remains true to her testimony and accepts the punishment though falsely accused. Though spared the gallows, both father and daughter are exiled from their beautiful home and garden. Believing that his daughter would some day see her name cleared of this injustice, he unfortunately goes to his grave without this satisfaction. However, through a series of God ordained events, the mystery is solved and a search begins to restore Mary and her father to their land and home. Reinstated to her homeland Mary must fist face her accuser and decide to pass judgment or grant a pardon. Forgiving others who have caused hurt and pain for those we love may be the ultimate test in our spiritual development.
Enoch Roden’s Training – ages 10 and up – Young Enoch Roden bears the burden of providing for his family at a young age. His employer and mentor believes that faith is greater than reason and work, and the hardships caused by poor business bring him to death’s door. Securing employment from a liberal tyrannical boss, Enoch’s meager wages and his unthankful heart sets the scene for a lesson that he will never forget. As he learns about the meaning of the word “manna” from his grandmother, Enoch, realizes that even a job that he doesn’t enjoy is a gift of God. Once the truth of the “manna” takes root in Enoch’s life, a complaining child turns into a thankful, industrious man of God.
Saved at Sea – ages 9 and up – An old man lives alone manning a lighthouse. One night a ship is wrecked just off the coast. The only survivor is a little girl who is thrown overboard into his waiting hands. He sets out to raise this little girl as his own and her warmth and love melts the hard, cold heart of the old man. A friend tells the old man that he lives his life on sinking sand instead of the sure solid rock of Jesus Christ. The old man finally realizes that he has to let the little girl go, but this is the tool that God uses to bring him to salvation. This is a powerful story of love, sacrifice and redemption.
Winter’s Folly – ages 10 and up - Married late in life, the Winter’s are overjoyed at the birth of their little girl. But all doesn’t not remain well. Mrs. Winter’s life is shortened unexpectedly and Mr. Winter’s illness prevents him from continuing his successful confection business. Within a short period of time, the little family finds itself desperately short of money and food. Mr. Winters believes that the only way to save his daughter is to give her up. He agrees to let another family adopt and raise his daughter but there is one condition—the new family demands that he signs a contract that he will never see his daughter again! Knowing that this is the only way to spare his daughter’s life, in anguish he signs the contract and vows never to speak again—until he meets a little girl whose love and determination fills his mouth with words again but his heart with hope—eternal hope. This is a story that reveals the depths of despair that God allows in our lives so that we might learn to release our grip on that which is temporary and hold on and enjoy the One who truly satisfies. Marvelous story!
Amy and her Brothers – ages 8 and up – Amy is the oldest sister of two brothers and a little sister. Their father had recently died and left them to fend for themselves in a forbidding world with little more than a roof over their heads. Teen aged Amy serves tirelessly to care for her siblings, but her brother’s dishonesty could cost them everything. This is a story of redemption and forgiveness, where love truly covers a multitude of sins.
Fireside Readings Volume 1 – ages 8 and up – This book is a collection of stories though brief, they touch the heart deeply. Jack’s Hymn is a story of loss and an unexpected return. After a ghastly train accident, Jack’s family believed him to be dead because his favorite pocket knife was found on another boy’s body. As Jack is recovering from his injuries, he cannot remember anything of his life before the accident. On Easter Sunday, while attending church, he hears music the opens the doors of his memory and he is soon reunited with his family. His comrades see clearly that Christ is Jack’s healer – In Eric’s good news, little Eric is an invalid with a thirst to talk with those around him. After finding a portion of scripture that washed up on shore in a bottle, he begins his journey to finding a savior that is disapproved of by his father. But Eric will not be silenced. In a letter penned with his heart, not knowing that his father is on his death bed, Eric’s words are used by God to save a soul from death. Beckoned by his father to come to him before he breathes his last, Eric learns of the greatest news that ears could hear. His last words to his father are, “Goodbye, my Father. Tell Jesus I love Him.”
What is Her Name - ages 10 and up – This is a dramatic story of a little girl who is found near the dead body of her mother. Without name or identity, an old Jewish man named Abraham, takes the child and begins to raise her. But to do so will cost him everything. Through several dramatic events, it is also learned that the little girls father who is now on his deathbed had also cost him everything. The only difference is that her father lost his wife and little girl because of his pride and Abraham lost his possessions but gained a little girl—and eternal life! This is a story that has a surprise ending that will put a smile on your face!
Nobody Loves Me – any age – A woman who is known as Old Grumpy has but one love, a gentile little kitten. But even this one love in life dies leaving her lonely and bitter. When she crosses paths with a poor orphan girl that no one wants, she shows a bit of mercy and takes her in for a night. Before long, Old Grumpy has grown to love the little girl. She is transformed by this love and begins to clean her house, her clothes and indeed her entire life. However this new light in Old Grumpy’s life is dimmed by the death of the little orphan. Through the lessons of the little girl, a deep imprint on made on Old Grumpy, and this heart-broken woman understands that God does not allow us to hold too tightly to the things of this world when He wants so much for us to hold onto him.
A Peep Behind the Scenes – ages 10 and up – outsold The Scarlet Letter by 2 million copies in 1850) – On her death bed, Rosalie’s mom teaches her that there is a hurting heart behind the scene of most happy faces. As an actress, her mother had followed the wrong path in life and desires something far better for her daughter. From her heart, she is able to convey to her daughter, that the things that are attractive and alluring in life usually have a high price to pay—a price that leads to a life void of true fulfillment. Finally able to give her daughter what she felt was the most important advice she could give before she left this world, she reminds Rosalie that there is a shepherd who is looking for her—but she must be willing to be found. Not only did this book sell over two million copies in the 1800’s, but modern readers find it as a truly life changing book.
Sir Knight of the Splendid Way – ages 14 and up - a captivating allegory—a rich literary masterpiece that will encourage any weary traveler who is facing insurmountable obstacles. This beautifully-bound work depicts life as a journey, reaching toward a beacon of hope in the City of the Great King. Beckoned by the King to travel the Splendid Way, the young knight must keep his armor on at all costs. All along the way he is tempted to take his armor off by alluring friends and foe. Many try to convince him that the battle is not worth the fight. But only those who keep their armor on can see the real battle that rages—and those who wear the armor, protect their heart which opens their eyes to behold their King!
The Boy of Mount Rhigi – ages 10 and up -Besides fishing in the beautiful wooded hills of Mount Rhigi, Massachusetts, Harry Davis and Clapham Dunn have little in common as far as their upbringing. Harry can hardly relate to the brutal existence that Clapham endures every day—which has molded his character and produced tormenting frustration and fear in his heart. Emotionally and spiritually bankrupt, Clapham, like a magnet, is drawn to the love and acceptance of the Davises. But one sad day he is seized and threatened to do that which is unthinkable. Long, miserable, dark days follow. But though sorrow endures for the night, the healing balm of truth brings joy in the morning.
The Robbers’ Cave – ages 14 and up -The hills of Calabria, Italy are home to bands of nefarious thieves, but a single light can shine so brilliant in the darkest places. Why would a talented, skilled, and very innocent believer dwell purposefully with the cruelest villains? Perhaps you will learn the answer as you get to know Rafael, the Improvisatore. Ungrateful Horace Cleveland gains the answer to this question under the harshest of circumstances. The unfortunate opportunity is given to young Horace to learn the true value of things lost that he had taken so much for granted.
For further Grief resources, visit www.griefshare.org