“‘What is that?’ Simon half-whispered his thoughts aloud. Ignoring the icy fingers of wind that slipped down his coat neck, he trained his eyes on the strange object at the water’s edge. There was something mysterious about the smooth object embedded in the beach’s shoreline. It glowed.”
Thus begins Taryn Hayes’s new youth novel, Seekers of the Lost Boy, a story set in the Western Cape of South Africa.
The tale focuses on a homeschooling family, the Wards, who embark on a journey to track down the author of the message in a bottle. What they learn in the process about their country and themselves is more than they ever set out to accomplish.
Several components make this book unique. Firstly, the fact that the main characters are homeschooled gives a refreshing glimpse into the perks and potential drawbacks of this particular educational choice. Since our family happens to homeschool, my kids loved being able to relate to main characters in a way that they have never been able to relate before. Weeks after we finished the book, I caught my son borrowing a phrase used in the book by the Ward family, as he announced, “I finished my seat work.” Seekers of the Lost Boy, among other things, gives flesh to the stereotypical skeleton of homeschooling that many people never get to see or understand.
Another unique aspect I appreciated about this book was how historically informative it was for our family. Though I am an American, my husband and children were all born in South Africa. Seekers of the Lost Boy was a wonderful launch pad for me to delve into more details about South African history with my children.
As the story weaves through flashbacks of apartheid and the forced removals in District Six, it provided a great platform for family discussion, and even prompted me to check out children’s books from the library on the life of Nelson Mandela. I also found myself clicking around on Google to show my kids pictures of the former and present District Six.
My greatest motivation for passing this book on to others is the clear gospel message that it contains. I really appreciated the way Hayes intentionally and lucidly wove the truths of the gospel into the fabric of her novel.
In terms of constructive criticism, one component that could be enhanced, in my opinion, is the spiritual development of the characters. Without giving away too much of the storyline, there are conversions that take place amongst some of the characters. I would have loved to see more about how the gift of salvation specifically affected those characters who were converted, and how their lives were changed in practical, day-to-day aspects — but rumor has it that this may be the first in a series of adventures for the Ward family. If so, I look forward to seeing how their newfound faith plays a role in their family as they grow in grace and sanctification.
Overall, I am grateful to Taryn Hayes for making this book a reality, as it not only provided much enjoyment for me and my kids as we read it together, but also resulted in fruitful discussion for us as well.
This wholesome, educational tale is one I have already purchased three times to give to American friends and family members as a gift. If you’re looking for a good story and a fun and easy way to learn more about another culture, pick up a copy of this book.
Enter to Win a Copy of Seekers of the Lost Boy
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
To Those Who Want To Be Truly Happy: Stop Chasing Happiness
Chasing happiness isn't all it's cracked up to be. Here are a few reasons why.
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
What Women Are Saying
-- Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships8 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles6 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles6 years ago
Relationships1 year ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture5 months ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions