As a child growing up in one of Michigan’s 10 poorest counties, author Lisa Van Engen became familiar with the challenges people faced. As her parents interacted with people in need, Van Engen listened and watched. She “wanted to understand what was real. For me, Jesus resided not so much in the church pews but among the people in my community.”
Van Engen’s passion for justice shines throughout this informative, inspirational, and hope-filled book. Each of the 14 chapters deals with a social justice issue—clean water and sanitation, health care, poverty, human trafficking, and more—and is structured in a similar way for easy access.
Van Engen thoughtfully and succinctly offers general background information on each topic, highlighting both global problems and next-door concerns (with a focus on the United States). As well, each chapter includes innovative solutions, age-appropriate discussion questions, a brief devotional and questions, relevant book lists and activities, and ways to extend awareness about each issue.
As a parent and educator, Van Engen has continued to witness “the surprising ways kids pursue justice when guided and empowered to do so.” After quoting 1 John 3:16-18, she asks, “Do we have the courage to love with actions and in truth, and do we teach the children in our lives to do the same?”
And Social Justice for All is a valuable resource that parents, educators, church leaders, and anyone who wants to guide children in the ways of justice can return to again and again for spiritual direction, information, and practical guidance. (Kregel)