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Survival, enchantment, and redemption


WORLD Radio - Survival, enchantment, and redemption

Consider a podcast, an audiobook, and children’s Scripture songs to fill the time on summer road trips

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MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, May 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Well, It’s that time of year again—time to pack the car, grab the sunscreen, and hit the road for a family vacation.

Reviewer Emily Whitten now with three listening options for families to help the miles go by.


REVIEWER EMILY WHITTEN: Summer is a time for new adventures. And if your family is ready to break out of the ordinary, check out the podcast Real Survival Stories. Narrated by actor John Hopkins, it’s just right for adventure-hungry boys and teens.

DEEP SEA DIVER: But one hundred meters below the surface, on the seabed, there is deathly calm. Through his diving mask, thirty-two year-old Chris Lemons scans the black expanse above him, his panicked eyes searching the gloom for a glimmer of light.

With over 40 episodes, I couldn’t listen to all of them. But in the ones I heard, there’s plenty of action, as Hopkins drops readers right into the climax of the story. We hear interviews with the survivors–people like deep sea divers and ultra-distance runners who nearly died adventuring. For instance, Lauren Elder’s plane crashed in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

PLANE CRASH IN SIERRAS: As I look out the window, there’s just literally a vertical wall of granite that’s very, very, very close. Much too close for comfort. And that’s the last thing I remember.

Younger children and sensitive listeners should definitely skip this podcast. Its serious tone can be frightening, and episodes include gruesome injuries and gross survival tactics. But for more mature kids and adults, Real Survival Stories offers gripping storytelling that’s life-affirming and emphasizes resilience. At times, survivors call out to God. Most don’t know Jesus, but their stories boldly illustrate themes of salvation and self-sacrifice.

For instance, in Dilemma on Mount Blanc, one mountain climber puts his life in danger to stay with another.

DILEMMA ON MT. BLANC: He was told to leave me. I’d like to think I’d never have left him. But I can’t prove that. Whereas Matt absolutely has proved it, because he didn’t leave me. The man is so staunch, it’s unbelievable.

Next up: older girls and young teens who enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia might try a new audiobook called Once a Queen available on Audible and Spotify. It’s by Christian author Sarah Arthur and narrated by Shakira Shute. Once a Queen is about an American teenager named Eva who goes to stay with her wealthy British grandmother in an English manor house.

AUDIOBOOK: I tried to act as though all of this was perfectly ordinary. Riding in an actual luxury car driven by an actual chauffeur to an actual English manor house owned by my actual grandmother. As one does.

Eva quickly learns that the estate is full of mysteries. Every night, paintings seem to come alive. She learns about portals to another world, but why won’t anyone let her in on the secret?

AUDIOBOOK: It felt like they were all part of the same conspiracy: to keep me in the dark as long as possible about everything, for reasons I could only guess. Maybe my nosiness was a threat to whatever delicate equilibrium they’d all achieved at Carrick Hall.

Ultimately, Eva’s relationship with her queen-like grandmother takes a surprising turn. Readers may notice this book uses a lot of Christian allegory, but the allusions don’t overwhelm the narrative. That makes the end satisfying on a number of levels.

Our final listening option is likely best for those with younger kids.


The Great Jungle Journey is the most recent album by Seeds Kids Worship. As in previous albums, Jason Houser and his team here set Bible verses to music. Their goal is to make Scripture easy to memorize or as they put it, to “help plant God’s word” in hearts and minds.

KING OF THE AGES: To the King of the Ages: immortal, invisible, the only God.

The Great Jungle Journey differs from some earlier albums in one way–it was created in partnership Answers in Genesis. So, the album initially focuses on the Bible’s first chapters.

GOD CREATED: Day one: God created the light. Day two: God created the sky. Day three: the dry land and the seas and all the wild plants, the forests full of trees, yeah.

With only 6 songs total, the album doesn’t have a huge scope. And most of the songs have a bouncy, summer camp feel. But the musicians take on a slightly more somber tone to reflect humanity's need for a Savior.

NOT EVEN ONE:  They have all turned aside together, they have become corrupt. There is none who does good, not even one, not even one.

These tracks can be repetitive at times, but that might mean faster memorization. However, if your family doesn’t enjoy this kind of kids’ music, you might try Caroline Cobb’s music album based on the Psalms. You can find our review of that album linked in today’s transcript.

In the meantime, I hope these three listening options get you off to a great start on your family’s summer adventures.

I’m Emily Whitten. Bekah McCallum contributed to this review.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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