Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
AFA Staff
AFA Staff
AFA Journal staff reviews movies, books and other resources

March 2021The Bright Light and the Super Scary Darkness
Almost every child is fearful of the dark during some stage of childhood. Author and theology professor Dan DeWitt does a great job of using God’s Word to reassure and comfort scared and anxious children in The Bright Light and the Super Scary Darkness. He uses the imagery of darkness and light to explain God’s power over evil.

DeWitt’s simple message gives readers a brief overview of the gospel by referring to the Bible as “one big story about the light and the dark.” A Parent Connection with Scripture references and questions is provided at the end of the book, which is intended for ages 4-8. The book even has a glow-in-the-dark front cover!

From B&H Publishing, the book is available at

Rebecca Davis

Defend Your Faith: 100 Devotions for Kids With Questions
Defend Your Faith: 100 Devotions for Kids With Questions by Jesse Florea is a valuable resource for children ages 8-12, the age range when many make a decision for Christ. The devotional is a practical way to introduce young believers to apologetics by discussing topics that are relevant to their lives. For example, Florea uses Scripture to explain the existence of dinosaurs, the purpose of doing good, and the harm in seeking fame – among a variety of other topics.

Each devotional is brief but solid, making this very doable for young people who are seeking to establish daily time in the Word while learning to defend what they believe. It’s a companion to the CSB Defend Your Faith Bible.

Defend Your Faith devotional is published by B&H Publishing and is available at

Rebecca Davis

Big Mouth Sally Learns to Think Before She Speaks
“After doing many Bible studies myself on the power of words,” wrote Mave Duke, “I thought it was important to explain the concept to children.” And Duke does that well in her book titled Big Mouth Sally Learns to Think Before She Speaks.

The book follows the life of Sally, a vivacious little girl who has trouble controlling her tongue in a number of situations. Duke uses whimsy and rhyme to teach the importance of thinking before speaking; the takeaway from the story is grounded in Luke 6:45: “From out of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Sally learns her lesson in the end, and the author concludes the book with several pages of helpful and practical ways to help readers remember and apply the lesson to their lives. Available from online retailers.

Rebecca Davis

Hope When Your Heart is Breaking
For many, the year 2020 was month after month of valleys filled with obstacles and tribulation. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the loss of many lives, and countless families have lost irreplaceable relationships.

It was against this backdrop that Ron Hutchcraft released Hope When Your Heart is Breaking: Finding God’s Presence in Your Pain. Through his personal journey and observation, he discovered that loss has many forms.

“Losing your marriage,” Hutchcraft wrote, “Losing your dream. Losing your health. Losing your job … your income … your retirement.” This book discusses losses of all sorts, and how within each different season of loss, there is only one source of true hope: Jesus Christ. He includes priceless testimonies as well as lessons for weathering life’s storms while keeping hope alive.

“If you were to ask me what this book is about,” Hutchcraft explains, “and I had to do it in four words, I’d say loss … grief … choices … hope. Not ‘hope’ the concept. But ‘hope’ the experience. ‘Hope’ the choice.” Available at online bookstores.

Mason Beasler

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?
In today’s world, countless issues are argued every day, often causing a divide between the different sides and stances. Arguably one of the most important and heated debates in culture today is the topic of abortion. The pro-life side argues that the unborn baby is worth protecting, and killing that baby is wrong. The pro-abortion side argues that killing the unborn baby is morally acceptable, often claiming the baby is not a life or does not have actual rights to life.

In his new book, Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?, Randy Alcorn outlines 15 different arguments made by the pro-choice side in support of abortion. He logically examines each claim in a fair and organized manner. With each pro-choice claim, Alcorn analyzes the argument itself and then reveals its fallacies.

“Many of us have seen what happens when those who have strong opinions one way or the other try to discuss the abortion issue,” Alcorn wrote. “Most of the time they rapidly become heated and accusatory, generating far more heat than light.”

Alcorn now offers a calm and intelligent approach to the abortion issue, one that will provoke further thought and consideration as well as a guide to defending life against today’s top pro-choice arguments. Available at

Mason Beasler

In Michael Brown’s recent book, Revolution: An Urgent Call to a Holy Uprising, he raises the questions: Is the American church awake? Is the body of Christ aware of what is transpiring in this nation? The year 2020 has been the most tumultuous year many have seen in a long time. From the outbreak of COVID-19 around the world, to the death of George Floyd, to the countless riots and vandalism around the country, many city streets were left filled with rubble and smoke.

“If ever there was a time for a fresh Jesus revolution,” wrote Brown, “that time is now.” Because of the insanity of 2020, the presence and power of Jesus Christ are needed in America more than ever.

“The purpose of this book,” Brown explained, “is to awaken and equip this generation of believers, young and old alike, to arise in the fullness of the Spirit, ablaze with love for God and neighbor, and to shake America with the gospel from coast to coast.”

This is not a call to violent revolt but a call to something more, an idea of revolution that comes from God’s Word – the only type of revolution that can make a lasting impact. Available at online bookstores.

Mason Beasler

Amazing Grace: Addiction Bible Study
Michael K. Mason addresses the popular theory that addiction is a disease of the brain leaving the so-called “addict” powerless to resist the seduction of addictive chemicals. In this Bible study, Mason sets out to help substance abusers overcome the “once an addict, always an addict” mentality. He uses science to disqualify misguided perceptions and applies Scripture to describe the relationship between addiction and sin.

Divided into 16 sections, the study walks readers through a process to help them grasp the biblical portrayal of sin, identify sinful thoughts and behaviors, and overcome temptation through an ongoing, dependent relationship with Christ. Those struggling with stubborn cravings and addictions are taught to focus their minds on Christ and rely on the indwelling Holy Spirit to wage war on their behalf.

Also available is Addiction and God: Reconciling Science With the Spirit, Mason’s book that led him to write Amazing Grace: Addiction Bible Study. Both are available at online and retail bookstores.

Anne Reed

When You Ask Why
Since its first printing in February 2002, Daniel E. Johnson’s When You Ask Why has remained relevant through the years. Written in the wake of the September 11 attacks, this book focuses on difficult questions that arise amidst raw and real stories of tragedy and loss.

How does one come to terms with the darkness of this world when told that a loving God is in control of all things? Johnson doesn’t shy away from the harsh responses and questions that humans have about difficult circumstances, but he juxtaposes them to the infinite grace of God and the hope of eternal life in Christ.

This book is a much-needed reminder that no matter the circumstances, God is faithful and sovereign over all things, even when we ask why. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Canada Burns

Network of Deceit
Texas summers can be hot, dangerously hot. In this engaging novel, a young man is found dead at a waterpark in San Antonio, and a heatstroke seems to be the culprit. But fresh-faced homicide detective Amara Alvares doesn’t think so. As clues and inconsistencies begin to pile up, the evidence of something more sinister starts to take shape.

Soon Detective Alvarez finds herself caught up in the midst of a case involving a world she is unfamiliar with: cybercrime. As she begins to piece together the puzzle, Amara is confronted with the reality that even she is not safe from the mysterious hacker who has been pulling all the strings. The resulting conflict could affect not only her, but also her family. 

In Network of Deceit, author Tom Threadgill offers an entertaining murder mystery that will leave the reader guessing till the very end. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Canada Burns

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Jodie Berndt has released an updated and expanded version of her bestselling book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children.

Most Christian parents well know the importance of praying for their children. However, many simply do not know where to start.

Throughout 20 short chapters, Berndt guides readers through various areas of concern, and over different topics such as faith, character, relationships, and more. By using real-life examples, the book offers a unique perspective on the significance of praying specifically for one’s children.

Parents, grandparents, or anyone intimately involved in the life of children and seeking their best spiritual interest will find this book to be a valuable resource. Available at

Matthew White

For many Christians, trying to navigate dating in today’s world is complicated. But in his new book, Outdated, author Jonathan “JP” Pokluda combats today’s dating myths and misconceptions with the truth of the Word. He is very forthcoming about past dating mistakes he made before meeting Christ. Through his transparency and use of Scriptures, he encourages readers to seek true love rooted in the Word of God over the lies the dating world teaches.   

Perfect for anyone needing godly and practical advice, this book encourages singles and dating couples to find true love with their Creator. Available March 2, 2021, at

Hannah Harrison

Hope for the Warrior Family
From the beginning, this book is a practical guide for veterans’ families. Authors Bob Waldrep and Andrew Edwin Jenkins offer pointers for a family to devise a reasoned and effective plan to help soldiers defeat post-traumatic stress and moral injury when they return from military service.

The book is based on extensive research including interviews with hundreds of warriors and with professionals in the area of treating emotional and mental trauma rooted in military service.

Beyond that, it clarifies that a returned soldier’s stress is both a personal challenge and a family challenge.

In a section titled “What Can I Do?” the authors cite questions not to ask and how to word questions that help family and soldier move toward healing and hope. One chapter deals with building three teams to support the warrior – fellow veterans, service providers (organizations that help vets), and family and friends.

It is hard to imagine a more useful tool for families searching for ways to help service men and women find their way back to productive lifestyles. Available at, a service of Crosswinds Foundation, a Birmingham, Alabama, ministry that offers many print and video resources to help struggling veterans.

Randall Murphree