Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review: Around the Word in 60 Seconds

As a homeschooling parent, a morning Bible study and/or devotion is part of our lifestyle. I am always on the look out for good books as a resource. Now that my daughter is in the middle of the tween stage, I was hoping to find a devotional that would guide her into a more personal relationship with God's Word. I was excited to have the opportunity to review Around the Word in 60 Seconds: The Ultimate Tween Devotional. However, after using it for a few weeks, I have mixed feelings about it.

I like how each week was organized by various challenges: grumbling, betrayal, forgive, etc. One does not need to start at the beginning of the book and go through to the end, but can chose a particular challenge that would be currently relevant. I like the concept of using the blank space under the daily scripture as a journal to jot down thoughts or draw a picture. I may have even understood the purpose for each day's devotional time possibly taking as little as sixty seconds just to get a child started with a daily devotional, because that really is not enough time for devotions.

Unfortunately, I did not like the unevenness of book. On the first day of each week, which is supposed to be Monday, a scripture is given and then a short fictional story. Afterward, there is a section called "Take Action" which is like a suggested assignment to do during the week, some which could easily take over thirty minutes to do. Following that is a scripted prayer.

For the days of the rest of the week, there is only a scripture and then a question or two. There is one page per day plus one page per weekend, and the author encourages the reader to use the blank space to write out the answers to the question, but also suggests writing down a poem or pasting in picture or any other creative work as one would in a journal. The journaling is a nice idea, but pasting things on the pages of a paperback with over 400 pages would be messy at best and make it hard to write on other pages or cause stress on the binding.

I have a highly imaginative, creative, and fairly self-discipled tween, but I think the way this devotional is structured that it would be better for an older teenager. I feel it does not give adequate guidance on the days following Monday to be a devotional for a child of the ages of eleven and twelve to do alone. It reminds me of fast food: it has meat, but that does not make it a substantial meal.

I also was not particularly impressed with the Bible version used for the scriptures, but that was a minor point as I did appreciate that it was in a more contemporary language that children would easily understand.

I would not recommend this devotional for a tween to be done alone and I am even a bit skeptical about it for a young teen.

Tyndale provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I am a Preteen Director (5-6th grades) at church and am looking for a daily devotional to teach our students. I read the sample and LOVED Monday, but felt like the other days needed more as well.

    Have you found a resource that includes more of what the Monday edition has in this book? Specifically thinking about a book for boys.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.