Title: Drawn by a China Moon
Author: Dave & Neta Jackson
Series: Trailblazer books
Major Themes: Missionaries, Lottie Moon, China
Synopsis: When Molly’s best friend, Ida Baker, and her family move to China to help Lottie Moon, the two friends try to keep their friendship up despite the difficulty and distance between them.
Several years ago, when I was away from home, I picked up Drawn by a China Moon to record and send to my siblings. When I was 9 or 10, I remember getting several books in the Trailblazer series and absolutely loving them. After that, whenever I went to my grandmother’s house or new libraries, I would look to see if there were any new books in the series that I could read. I don’t know how many I ended up reading—I do remember one point where I got tired of the stories because they all ended up feeling similar—but as a youngster, these were a great series for me, because they had a decent amount of adventure, told a mostly true story, and were set in many different fascinating places around the world. I hoped that for my siblings, this book would be just as interesting as I found other books in the series when I was close to their age. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case—but I’ll discuss that later.
Molly Jones and her best friend Ida Baker are living happy, mostly carefree lives in their hometown of Sugar Grove in Virginia, when one day, the famous missionary, Lottie Moon, comes to visit the ladies in their town. Then, the unthinkable happens. Ida’s father, Pastor Baker, announces that he and his family are going to China as missionaries. Molly is heartbroken. What about her dreams for the future that included Ida? Now not only two continents, but an ocean, will separate them! As Ida goes off to start her new life in an unfamiliar culture, both girls do their best to preserve their friendship, despite the distance. But as life gets harder in China and the Boxer Rebellion begins, the two friends face the toughest decisions of their lives. What does following God really mean? What does He want them to do with their lives?
Although I did occasionally try to keep reading Drawn by a China Moon, my siblings weren’t overly excited about the story, so that made reading a bit harder. But when I did take the time to sit down and read to them anyway, they got re-engaged with the story and frequently asked me to keep reading.
This is an excellent portrait of Lottie Moon’s life. I have read a lot of missionary stories, but somehow, I haven’t spent a lot of time studying her story over the years. Mom read us the Benge’s version of Lottie’s story several years ago, and I found that quite interesting, but other than that, I’ve had very little exposure to her life’s work. I feel like Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor are perhaps more well-known and talked about, or at least I’m a lot more familiar with their stories than Lottie Moon’s story. Regardless, I found this book’s portrayal of her work both fascinating and challenging. She poured herself out for the Chinese people and eventually gave her life for the work—after being raised as a privileged Southern woman in high society.
If you are wanting to introduce your children to people in the past who have loved and faithfully served the Lord, the Trailblazer books are a great place to start. Drawn by a China Moon is another interesting story that many children would find fun to read—it’s just too bad that my siblings have gotten beyond the best age for these stories!
WARNING: “My word” is used in chapter 1. A boy falls, breaks his neck, and dies in chapter 10. A little boy dies, and a character sees men being mistreated in chapter 11.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12