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Mixed Media Roundup March 2024


Enemies in the Orchard

By Dana VanderLugt
Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

Based on a true story, this World War II novel written in free verse is narrated from the alternating perspectives of 13-year-old Claire DeBoer of Apeldoorn, Mich., and Karl Hartmann of Ulm, Germany.

In September 1944, Claire’s father decides the only answer to his labor shortage is to hire German POWs brought to Michigan by presidential order. But Claire and her mother are unhappy with the prospect of enemies working in their orchard.

When Karl travels to Michigan, he begins to realize that the propaganda he’s heard since he was forced to join the Hitler Youth when he was 10 years old is nothing but lies.

Though recommended for readers aged 9-12, this novel—deeply moving and filled with poignant insights—is better suited to children ages 12 and older. (Zonderkidz)


Take Care of Maya

Reviewed by Mary Li Ma

This documentary chronicles the tragic loss within an immigrant family due to systemic failures of America’s child protection system. When 10-year-old Maya Kowalski experiences a mysterious and debilitating pain whose cause escapes most local physicians, her dedicated mother, Beata, a nurse, decides to seek unconventional treatment in Mexico. But when Maya’s illness flares up again and lands her in the emergency room a few months later, staff at the local hospital suspect medical child abuse and begin to question Maya’s parents.

Injustice and oppression can take on different forms and, in this case, it is found in the hospital system and in child protection services, where care for the most vulnerable is supposed to be a core value. (Netflix; rated PG-13)


English Ministry Podcast

Reviewed by Daniel Jung

Those of us who lead ministries in Asian American contexts have become experts at making theological Sullungtang, a Korean soup dish that requires continual straining of excess fat and nonessentials until the desired milky-white color is achieved.

But we are beginning to see an influx of media content that brings contextual wisdom into the blossoming theological spaces we occupy, benefiting the entire body of Christ.

The English Ministry podcast is one example of this trend. Pastor John Sungyak Kim hosts this podcast to “amplify (Asian American) voices far and wide.” He meets his guests in person, and their face-to-face conversations about ministry in immigrant church contexts are nearly unedited, with episodes ranging from one to two hours.

The English Ministry podcast is part of a growing menu crafted specifically for us.


The Lowdown

Strange Religion: Award-winning author, blogger, speaker, and New Testament teacher Nijay Gupta traces the emerging Christian faith in its Roman context in this accessible and engaging book. (Brazos Press)

Millie Bobby Brown Stars: A new fantasy movie called Damsel sees the Stranger Things star play the role of an imperiled maiden who takes matters into her own hands to escape a place guarded by fire-breathing dragons. (March 8, Netflix)

Based on a Real Dog: Arthur the King is a new dog adventure film directed by Simon Cellan Jones and starring Mark Wahlberg and Simu Liu. It’s based on the 2016 nonfiction book Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord. (In theaters March 15)

The Great Divide: A Novel: Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans, tells a tale of the building of the Panama Canal from the perspective of fishmongers, laborers, doctors, and journalists. (March 5, Ecco)

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