The Hidden Village by Bonnie Rose Hudson, A Review, A Unit Study, & A Giveaway
Learning to Step Up, Even When You Are Little
The Story begins with a little boy
Manju is a young boy who lives in a village at the edge of a mangrove forest in India. One morning he takes his new bible to the top of his favorite tree to spend time as close to God as he could climb.
The forest he lives near is a place where, “trees linked arms,” and mangroves with roots that stick out of the ground, “grew that way to catch boys who aren’t careful.” It is a wonderful place, but there are no other villages nearby.
Or are there? Manju reaches the top of the tree with his bible and spies a thread of smoke in the distance which diverts him and sets him on a path to discover a hidden village. Through his prayers and an unerring will to help, he saves the people of that hidden village and develops a stronger relationship with God in the process.
So many times children want to know how to pray and how to help others.
It is one thing to describe the process and works of missionaries. But that doesn’t really tell a child how to grab a mission when God presents you the opportunity, or how you can help change someone’s heart.
This story of Manju and the Hidden Village is a wonderful way to show children what showing someone the beauty of God really means, on a practical level. As Bonnie Rose Hudson shows us in this wonderful story, a child can make a difference when he uses his own heart, his compassion, and prayer.
There are so many, many ways you could use this book with your children!
The story includes reference sections at the end of the book that allows your child to explore Manju’s World and learn some vocabulary
The end of the book includes a section with vocabulary and one which describes the geography, animal life, and culture of people, like Manju, who live in West Bengal, India. The author even adds details of the type of food eaten in this region. You could look up the recipe for Bhapa Dahi (a dessert) and make it with your children as you talk about the story.
You could create a mini-unit study around the story with your children at home, at a homeschool Co-Op, or even with a group of children at church.
- Start with the book, reading a chapter each session.
- Geography/History Unit. Add a discussion of the Geography of India, or the history of the peoples. You could talk to your children about the unique geography of India that at first glance appears to be a continuous landmass, but with the mountainous regions in the center of the country and impassable rivers, India is really a confederation of many smaller cultures and languages. For older children, you could teach them about the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that separated families and destroyed so much culture, much in the same way that the division of East and West Germany did generations before.
- Nature / Science Unit. Talk about the animals that Manju would find in the Mangroves. Mangroves are like nurseries for so many, many animals and really are a unique ecosystem. There are many documentaries and programs you can find to watch with your children and show them the animals in that part of the world. Lori @ threegigglygirlsathome created a wonderful selection of videos and resources you can add to your reading of The Hidden Village that you can use to create a wonderful unit study for your children.
- Writing Unit. Younger children will enjoy learning with copywork using the bible verses in the book. You could ask your older children to write about or as discussion points (for those of us who have children who resist writing with every fiber of their being):
- If you were an animal living near Manju’s village, which would you be and what would you think as you watched Manju? Would you try to show him how to get to the hidden village?
- What would you do if you climbed a tree and saw a hidden village?
- Do you think that Manju did the right thing when he went to the village alone? Why do you think his father did not believe him?
- Literacy / Reading Unit.
- You could sit your young children down in a park or out in the backyard and teach them their letters, just like Manju does with the sisters that he meets in the hidden village. Learning outside can be a great experience. You can talk to them about the way that people learned to read through the centuries – with a simple reader and a gentle teacher.
- If you have older children, let them try teaching the young ones just like Manju did in the story.
- Math Unit. I have discovered that you can teach math with every book for children.
- Have your younger children go through the book and count all the animals they can find in the pictures. (answer: 7 – 1 barbet, p.6; 2 rhinos, p.26; 1 rhino, p.34; 1 rat, p.46; 1 cow, p.52; 1 more barbet bird on the back cover)
- Count how many seed potatoes are in the basket that Pastor Dandak brought the villagers. (answer: 6)
- Count how many bibles are in the picture on page 52. (answer: 4)
- For older children, you could give them a protractor and have them practice making circles and designs like the ones which adorn the final pages of the book. This is really a way to get hands-on experience with Geometry.
- You can also talk to your children about the number system and explain that the concept of zero as a number was first used in India, as far as we know today. Other cultures used zero as a simple place holder when there was nothing to record, but it was the culture of India that first used zero in math like we do today.
Art Unit. Set your children down with the book. Show them the pictures and the designs and then explain that a mural is a large picture or painting that many people can work on together. Explain that each of them gets to create their own portion of your Hidden Village mural. Let your children use their imaginations and run wild. Young ones can draw and paint.Older children can do the same but also add design details, text, and their imaginations. You will end up with a wall-sized mural of mangrove trees and animals and a village, with bible verses interspersed. When it is all finished, leave it up for a while. Give it pride of place. Then take a picture to save the memory. I did this with my own kids many times when they were young. The only big wall we had in the house was in my bedroom so above our bed was always a mural or oceans or forests, or imaginary worlds. The kids would dance about on the bed and point out all the parts they drew to their father in the evenings when he came home. Those are memories and activities that really drive home the messages and information you teach your children.
- Younger children can draw pictures of the animals in the story on paper with crayons or markers or tempera.
- Older children can draw or add design details and even bible verses or labels with scientifica names for the animals and plants.
- Religion Unit. This is something that Bonnie Rose Hudson laid out at the end of the book for you in a section called “Our World.” She takes the messages in the story one step further and guides you and your children to find ways to take action and learn like Manju did.
Bonnie Rose Hudson’s heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She works as the Director of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®. She would love for you to explore the wonderful curriculum available there and to stop by her author’s blog WriteBonnieRose.com for resources to help teach your children about missions and the persecuted Church, free history and writing printables, discover how you can write for the homeschool market, and check out her newest release from JourneyForth, The Hidden Village, an early reader sent in India.
Book Description from the BJU Press, JourneyForth
The Hidden Village tells the story of Manju, a young boy from West Bengal, India, who acts out the story of Zacchaeus. From the top of the tallest mangrove tree, he finds a hidden village deep in the forest. He wants to do everything he can to help the hungry people in the little village. But what can he do when the people in his village won’t believe his story, and even wild animals and the weather seem determined to stop him from helping?
About the Book
- Published: 2017
- Length – 72 pp.
- Ages: 6-7, but my teenagers loved it!
- Lexile Measurement – 630
- Publisher – BJU Press, JourneyForth
- ISBN: 978-1-62856-311-5
- eISBN: 978-1-62856-312-2
- Price: $6.99