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Book Review: Mesi’s Season of Change: A Friendship Story (Girls ‘n Grace Collection) by Pam Davis

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In Mesi’s Season of Change: A Friendship Story, Pam Davis’ continues the story she began with Mesi: A Girl 'n Grace in Africa. The latest title builds onto the timeline begun in the first installment, though enough background information is woven into the text to make the second a stand-alone title or a place where new readers can jump into the Girls 'n Grace series.

After receiving the saving gift of God’s grace in the first book in Mesi’s story, Mesi finds herself longing for the things of the Lord. She dreams of a church established in her poor village, of a place where she can share God’s gift of grace with others – even those who mock her new faith.

When a man of Mesi’s tribe, the Ashanti, accuses the neighbouring Kienese of stealing his boat, tensions run high. When Mesi and her best friend Kwasi discover a badly injured Kinese boy named Numu, she must draw upon the lessons of kindness and mercy that are newly learned through her fledgling relationship with God in order to overcome generations of intertribal conflict and prejudice. When Kwasi urges Mesi to turn Numu over to the village leaders, Mesi fears for his life, resists, and dedicates herself to his recovery and survival.

Drawing upon the informal discipleship received from her spiritual mentor Miss Ama, Mesi secretly extends mercy to this ‘enemy’ of her tribe. As her love for others grows, she risks even her own personal safety in her efforts to see Numu reunited with his family. Through Mesi’s attempts to deal with mocking family members, unbelieving friends, and looming conflict wherever she turns, her spiritual growth is front and center.

Watching her work through her troubles from the perspective of her new faith, and seeing her Christian character blossom have marked this title as my favourite in the series to date. In addition to being the richest Girls ‘n Grace story in terms of clear-cut character development, Davis has also spun the most suspenseful tale yet in the series. My six-year-old was on tenterhooks waiting to discover Mesi and Numu’s fate.

Engagingly designed, the text is interposed with graphics, colourful design elements and full-page illustrations that appear at the beginning of each short chapter. Written for children ages six and older, it’s easy to see how the vibrant appearance and engaging text will encourage young girls to enter into Mesi’s world. In addition to the intrinsic, culture-sketching story that provides details of African tribal life, an “In Step With Africa” section at the back of the book adds demographic, geographic, and other information about Africa. A series of devotional questions is also included to help young readers reflect on the story.

The opportunity to walk along side Mesi as she grows in God’s grace, and develops a more Christ-like character through the challenging circumstances she’s faced with is a valuable one. Young girls being conformed into His likeness will benefit greatly from Mesi’s accessible, positive example while thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process.

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