“I love stories like this,” my ten-year-old said, holding up a biography she found at the library. “The ones where they have to overcome something.”

And it seemed to me that most of history could fall into that category.

Courageous World Changers, by Shirley Raye Redmond | Little Book, Big Story

Shirley Raye Redmond’s Courageous World Changers is an anthology of short biographies of “daring women of God”: women who had to overcome different challenges in their lives, whether persecution, illness, suffering, or opposition. Yet this book differs from other popular anthologies about bold women or rebel girls in that the women introduced here conquer not for their own sake or even to “make a better world” but because they love and obey God, the Maker of all things, and strive to glorify him with their lives.

Courageous World Changers, by Shirley Raye Redmond | Little Book, Big Story

So, my daughter loved these stories of women facing challenges and, through God’s grace, being transformed. I loved them because reading through this book is like getting a flyover view of church history, up to and including today. Many of the women mentioned in this book are still living, which is a bold move on the author’s part—these women’s earthly stories aren’t finished yet. But by the end of the book, I came to love that aspect of it: Courageous World Changers shows church history as something that is still happening, something that our daughters are actually a part of. Redmond introduces the usual beloved cast of missionaries, mothers, hymnwriters, and wives, but she also includes athletes, professors, musicians, novelists, and more. She paints a full picture of how we as women can glorify God in whatever work he gives us to do, in any season of our lives.

Courageous World Changers, by Shirley Raye Redmond | Little Book, Big Story

I did question the decision to include a couple of women who seemed to qualify mainly because they grew up in Christian homes though, even in the biographies mentioned here, nothing mentioned about their adult lives seems to give evidence that they continued in the Christian faith. But even those entries led to some fruitful conversation with my daughters: Why do you think the author included them? What is it that makes someone a Christian? What kind of fruit would you look for? And so on. All in all, this is a great addition to the old home library—one that will elicit a lot of discussion and that will encourage readers (us as well!) to love God faithfully, wherever he sends us.

PS: Redmond has also written a book like this for boys titled Brave Heroes and Bold Defenders!

Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
Shirley Raye Redmond; Katya Longhi (2020)