A Glimpse at “Good News Bad News” by Alexandra Chakos, Illustrated by Mike Stonelake

Ancient Faith Publishing’s brand new chapter book for kids ages 7-12, Good News Bad News, was written by Alexandra Chakos and is illustrated by Mike Stonelake. This book is the story of a young man who really wants to win a fabulous bike prize by selling lots of things for his school’s fundraiser, and he will go to almost any length to do so. It is the story of two brothers who do not always get along. It is also the story of a parish raising money for a new church building while also working together to raise the children in their midst. And it’s the story of two regular parents (who happen to be a priest and presvytera) who are learning with (and through!) their children.

They may be a priest’s family, but the Papadopoulos clan could pass for any other Orthodox Christian family who are trying to learn to love each other and grow in the Faith. The author’s introduction at the end of the book reveals that this story was based on real-life events that Presvytera Alexandra Chakos experienced while raising her own family. This explains why the story is so realistic! It is told in such a way that readers come away feeling that they’ve just been spying on the Papadopoulos family as they interact with each other and help each other through life’s challenges. 

Mike Stonelake’s engaging illustrations add a touch of humor to the story. They provide additional dimension to the characters and setting, drawing the reader in even more fully to the Papadopoulos’ world. Each illustration better helps the reader understand that priests’ families do normal things, too. For example, the dad of the family still drags their Christmas tree through the front door: he just does so while dressed in his cassock!

Parents and children alike will enjoy this tale. It has been woven with scriptures, joy, and just enough surprises to keep the reader guessing! The heartwarming ending takes place (appropriately) on Christmas day.

Purchase your own copy here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/good-news-bad-news/

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts.

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