A Review of Bible Belles: The Adventures of Rooney Cruz Book Series
Words and Images by Dianne Jago
It’s been said that kids are sponges, and the fact of the matter is that everything around us is teaching our children something. The words said when we think they aren’t listening, the music we play in the car, the TV shows our kids watch, and the books we read are all preaching some sort of message. The world is full of messages, and while some are outright good or bad, others are subtle lies disguised in half-truths. That’s why I’m so grateful for material that points our kids to God.
It wasn’t that long ago that I received a few books by Erin Weidemann called Bible Belles. If you haven’t heard of it, Bible Belles is a series all about nine-year-old Rooney Cruz and her adventures meeting various women (or superheroes) of the Bible. Each story opens with a child-relatable struggle involving Rooney.
In Hannah: The Belle of Prayer, Rooney is made fun of by a group of girls for not having fashionable clothes. An angel pops up and takes Rooney back into the past, showing her scenes from Hannah’s life. Rooney witnesses Hannah’s struggles and sees that her go-to tactic is to pray. By the end of the story, Rooney learns that Hannah could turn to God in prayer, and she can too. Rooney receives a bell, her own superpower—in this instance, the bell of prayer—that she can keep forever and ever. This is only one storyline out of the series, but the goal for all the books is the same: to connect our daughters to women of the Bible and show that they have everything they need in God to work through the struggles they may face.
It is important to note, to younger kids especially, that this is a series incorporating fiction with truth. A six- or nine-year-old may have no problem discerning that she doesn’t need a physical bell or superpower to pray with God, so I made sure I explained that to my three-year-old. If anything, this opens further opportunity to share the Gospel with our kids. We can explain that like Rooney or Mommy or Daddy, they too can have a relationship with the Lord. We can walk them through all that the Gospel entails and explain that when we get saved, it is the Holy Spirit that enables us with patience or bravery, like the bells Rooney receives in her adventures.
I love the idea of my daughter viewing Esther or Hannah as a superhero rather than popular movie princesses. I also really appreciated that particular storyline, as I was made fun of as a young child. In fact, I liked it so much that I read it to my six-year-old boy, so he would understand he has access to prayer in times of hardship just the same as Rooney. Rooney’s struggles, paralleled with the Bible-story examples, reinforce to kids that the truth of the Bible is relevant today.
These glimpses of God-fearing women will hopefully spur our little ones to look further into other men and women of virtue. As we do that with them, we can share the understanding that these characters are meant to point us to Christ—our ultimate superhero. Our family has enjoyed these books and I think yours will too!