(Branson Globe) Reader’s Corner: Creation adventure series helps tweens defend faith

By Cindy Thomas, Staff Writer

Ben Russell showing his book series at the recent homeschool conference in Branson (Photo by Cindy Thomas)

For whatever reason, kids are often fascinated by dinosaurs. And at some point, questions arise as to when and how dinosaurs became extinct, with most sources citing millions of years. Dinosaurs co- existing with people is usually not considered a possibility; even “Jurassic Park” was “sci-fi,” using genetic engineering as the ticket.

Unless, of course, you believe in literal 6-day creation as described in the book of Genesis in the Bible. A straightforward reading of the Bible from that viewpoint says dinosaurs perished in the flood, just like all other life except that on the ark. A pair of dinosaurs would have survived, made more dinosaurs, adapt- ed to have different characteristics, and eventually perished for other reasons. Or—are some still around?

Ozark, Missouri, author Ben Russell grew up with a typical “evolution plus God” experience blend- ing textbooks and Sunday school. He hadn’t given much thought to the subject when he and his wife decided to homeschool their children, until the family attended a biblical creation seminar hosted by a Springfield church. There they learned that the dinosaurs-and-people idea isn’t as far-fetched as evolutionary theorists teach. (Where, for example, did legends about dragons and sea monsters come from?) However, it can be awk- ward when kids learn the biblical account at home or church and then encounter school or other settings where particles-to-people evolution is taught as fact rather than theory.

Impressed by the speaker’s presentation, the Russells realized biblical 6-day creation made sense and answered many questions evolution could not. As their family grew, though, they noticed that places like theme parks and museums almost exclusively communicated millions- of-years evolution. And enjoyable creation-based fiction for tweens/ teens was nearly non-existent.

Russell, already a writer, thought, “Why doesn’t someone do something about that?” And in response, he felt God was saying, “Why not you?” That inspired Creation Tales. The “Noah Drake and the Dragon” series chronicles the adventures of a modern-day boy who discovers a living dinosaur while on family vacation.

The series involves a homeschool family, but Russell assures potential readers the books aren’t exclusively written for that audience. As the Drake family and those who oppose them in the stories discuss their beliefs, all young readers will be inspired to think for themselves and to discuss the origins topic confidently with friends.

The Drake family are likely relatable for other families as they must decide how to respond graciously to someone trying to harm them. Older siblings learn to assist young- er ones, a familiar scene to homeschoolers as Mom may be teaching a middle-schooler math while a high-schooler coaches a beginning reader, but also any other busy family whose teens help younger siblings with homework or chauffeur them to soccer practice.

“I get excited about the idea that dinosaurs didn’t die out millions of years ago,” says Russell, who enjoys chatting with other families at homeschool events, church events, and craft fairs around the area. Check out Creation Tales and Russell’s other juvenile fiction books and blog at www.creationtales.com, or email him at ben@ creationtales.com.

This article was published on page 25 of the April 8th edition of the Branson Globe, a free newspaper in the Branson, Missouri area. You can find it online at https://issuu.com/bransonglobe/docs/bransonglobe_040822_3014_online/25