Learning About Martin Luther and the Reformation? Read When Lightning Struck: The Story of Martin Luther by Danika Cooley

I’ve always been interested in the time period of the Reformation. There were many great reformers, but the life of Martin Luther has always been especially interesting. I’ve read much about him, fiction and nonfiction alike. So when I had the opportunity to read and review When Lightning Struck: The Story of Martin Luther by Danika Cooley, I was excited.

When Lightning Struck is compelling historical fiction that presents the life of Martin Luther and the impact that his actions had on the Christian church. The book is intended to be read by middle and high school student or as a family read aloud for upper elementary-aged kids and older.

Review of When Lightning Struck, a young adult book about the life of Martin Luther

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The author of When Lightning Struck, Danika Cooley, is well-known in homeschool circles for her Bible survey curriculum, Bible Road Trip. Danika is a wife and mother and curriculum author, and you can find her at the Thinking Kids blog sharing parenting wisdom and homeschooling resources.

When Lightning Struck is the story of Martin Luther’s life. The story opens when Martin Luther is caught is a deadly storm and is literally almost struck by lightning. When he escapes death, Martin vows to become a monk. Even as a monk, however, he struggles to feel that he can finally do enough to earn his salvation and he’s constantly troubled and despairing for his life.

The book traces Martin’s journey from this despair into the truth that “the just shall live by faith.” From Martin’s personal experiences, the reader then learns of the ninety-five theses and Luther’s desire to make known some of the wrongs of the church. One of my favorite quotes from the book: “Ignorant to the importance of his actions, with every beat of his hammer Martin created shockwaves that were to travel through all of Germany, the whole of Europe, and the history of Christianity.”

Danika Cooley does an excellent job communicating the facts of Martin Luther’s life and his actions which made such a powerful impact on the Church while making the writing interesting and alive and compelling to the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I know that it will hold the interest of younger readers as well. I love the historical fiction genre when it is well done. And Danika Cooley does it well. She makes the story come alive while still teaching the reader about the characters and events of the time period.

There are two companion resources for When Lightning Struck. The Discussion Guide contains chapter by chapter discussion and review questions. You can find it free on Danika’s site here. There is also a twelve-week unit study that coordinates with the book. It contains cross-curriculum activities including art, geography, science, history, timeline, copywork, vocabulary, writing, and Scripture. It is intended to use with grades 6-12 and it is also free for Danika’s subscribers. You can find it on the page here.

Martin Luther unit study for When Lightning Struck

Discussion guide for When Lightning Struck, a book about Martin Luther

I was very impressed by When Lightning Struck. I have it scheduled for my son to use as his next literature book. He’s reading through world history, and this will make a great companion book as he reads through the reformation. I love the discussion guide and have scheduled this for him to use in accompaniment with the book. These are just such great resources.

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