African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage

Jerome Gay Jr.
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African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage
African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage
African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage
African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage
African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage
African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage
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African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage shows children how God has used all races and ethnicities in his plan of redemption by celebrating and highlighting the contributions of African theologians and martyrs.

Jordan and Jasmine's dad loves history and is always telling them stories about the past. One day when their family is out on a picnic, they start asking if there were any Christians who looked like them who God had used to help the church grow. They are excited when their dad shares inspiring true stories of early Christian leaders—both men and women—from Africa who helped to grow the early church in remarkable and significant ways.

Author Jerome Gay introduces children to the stories of eleven amazing African leaders including Augustine, Athanasius, Tertullian, and more. African Heroes presents these figures on a level children can understand with diverse imagery and colorful illustrations by John Joven.

  • Written for children ages four to seven to show the African roots of the early church.
  • Key principles and Bible verses are connected with each leader; for example, Augustine's life and work in Algeria is characterized by grace (Ephesians 2:8).
  • Christian parents and church leaders will value sharing this resource with children to show that people of diverse cultures were part of the early church.


Jerome Gay the founding and teaching pastor of Vision Church in Raleigh, NC. He has a vision to see gospel-centered churches planted, disciples multiplied, missionaries unleashed, and theologically sound and culturally engaging leaders raised up and sent out to impact the world with The Gospel. He is the author of The Whitewashing of Christianity: A Hidden Past, A Hurtful Present, and A Hopeful Future, Renewal: Grace and Redemption in the Story of Ruth, Church Hurt: Holding the Church Accountable and Helping Hurt People Heal, and the minibook, Talking to Your Children about Race. Jerome and his wife, Crystal, have two children.


John Joven is an illustrator and painter who works from home, where he can share his passion for drawing and painting with his children while working on projects. As a six-year-old, John took his first painting, sculpture, and character design class. As an adult, he has had many opportunities to bring his artistic vision to diverse media, including magazines, newspaper articles, children's books, and animation projects around the globe. He enjoys spending free time with his family, playing soccer with friends, watching movies, reading, writing, and traveling. He lives in Colombia with his wife, Ana, and two children.

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"Story has always been a powerful means to convey truth. What better way to tell the beautiful stories of our rich church history than this great work by Jerome Gay. Great art and truth belong together, and this resource is just that! Adults and children alike will enjoy this work that highlights the contributions of these African fathers and mothers of the faith. This work is bound to be a classic that will serve the faith of many until Jesus returns."
Eric Mason, Pastor; theologian; author

"Some of the most influential theologians in my life were born in and ministered on the continent of Africa. Theirs is a rich and beautiful heritage that is rarely marveled at or pointed out. Jerome Gay has done an exceptional job introducing some of these heroes of the faith to the next generation."
Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church; executive chairman, Acts 29

"Besides kid-friendly versions of the Bible itself, there is not another children's book I'd recommend more for Black families than African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage. As he has done in so much of his previous work, Pastor Jerome Gay has put together a book that teaches, celebrates, and presents Christianity the way God meant for it to be done—multiculturally. In reading about their rich Christian heritage, Black children will learn they are as loved, as cherished, and as empowered as any other race or ethnicity of people."
Chris Broussard, Internationally known Sports Broadcaster; founder/president of The K.I.N.G. Movement

"I discovered many of my African heroes in my twenties—and it changed my life! My heart is glad that future generations of children can discover these heroes at an early age. May this book and these heroes inspire children and change their lives too!"
Thabiti M. Anyabwile, President, The Crete Collective; pastor, Anacostia River Church

"History is the weight that can keep us grounded or drown us. Jerome Gay is providing the opportunity for young minds to be grounded in great glory and righteousness."
Sho Baraka, Author; artist

"It's not our history but our memories that most shape us. By pairing these heroes with the virtues they embodied, Jerome ensures that the richest parts of our Christian history are embedded deep into the memories of the next generation. I hope this unique and much-needed book begins a trend where others take up this task."
John Onwuchekwa, Director of Resources at Christianity Today; author; entrepreneur

"Africa's contributions to Christianity are rarely taught, but this book tells the story we've longed to hear. African Heroes will inspire, educate, and fan the flame of dignity for Black children. This isn't ""black-washing"" Christianity; rather, it's beautifully illustrated truth-telling for the glory of Jesus! Every family, regardless of race, needs this book in their home."
Sarita T. Lyons, Writer; speaker, psychotherapist; director of discipleship and women's ministry, Epiphany Fellowship Church, Philadelphia

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7 Reviews

  • 5
    A wonderful addition to your library of Christian biographies!

    Posted by Danika Cooley on 06 07 2024

    African Heroes is an attractive 64-page picture book that provides overviews of the lives of eleven Christian theologians and martyrs. Winsomely illustrated by John Joven, the colorful pictures are sure to grab the attention of your 4-7 year olds. As a literature-based homeschool mom, I was always searching for biographies and overviews that fit particular time periods and geography. I think it is so important that our children know about the many places and people who have followed Jesus throughout history. That's the reason I'm so excited about a book for younger kids that highlights theologians and Christians who lived during the Early Church period, and who were from Africa. African Heroes contains biographies on the following people from the 2nd to 5th Centuries: * Tertullian (c. 155 - c. 220 AD) * Origen of Alexandria (c. 185 - c. 254 AD) * Perpetua (c. 182 - c. 203 AD) * Felicity (c. 182 - c. 203 AD) * Athanasius (c. 293 - 373 AD) * Cyprian of Carthage (c. 200 - c. 258 AD) * Lactantius (c. 250 - c. 325 AD) * Pachomius the Great (c. 290 - c. 346 AD) * Cyril of Alexandria (c. 375 - c. 444 AD) * Augustine (c. 354 - c. 430 AD) * Shenoute of Atripe (c. 350 - c. 466 AD) There are four pages dedicated to each person highlighted in the book, with a short biography that features a character trait that is portrayed in that Christian's testimony. Jerome Gay, Jr. points out godly traits like leadership, commitment, love, service, and courage. African Heroes is a wonderful addition to the existing literature on Christian heroes for young people, and I highly recommend it!

  • 5

    Posted by Scott Rabine on 01 16 2024

    The biographies found in this book range from the known to the unknown. Going through this book with my son has been enlightening for both of us. I highly recommend this title.

  • 4
    Great examples of early African Christian influencers

    Posted by SHIRLEY ALARIE on 12 27 2023

    Author Jerome Gay’s African Heroes: Discovering Our Christian Heritage is a beautiful showcase of many African influencers of the early Christian church. Admittedly, I was not aware of most of these martyrs and other prominent changemakers of the early church and found their stories very inspiring. Each short story gives enough information to be educational and interesting while remaining suitable for short attention spans. The stories are told by a father to his children, who are interested in learning if people of their heritage had played a role in the development of their faith. Through this storytelling, an audience of any ethnicity would be able to appreciate the worldwide contribution to the Christian faith. Perhaps African Heroes will inspire audiences to explore further how Christianity spread throughout each continent of the world. African Heroes includes captivating illustrations by John Joven. The audience listed on Amazon is for ages 4-7 and the reading level for ages 7-10. Children of any of these ages would pick up at least some learning from this look back at history.

  • 5
    So glad we found this!!

    Posted by Carol Ann on 11 07 2023

    We have a Swahili-speaking congregation who come from all parts of Africa. This will be a great resource to use with the children! Very informative and inclusive with great artwork. Thank you!

  • 5
    African Heroes

    Posted by Evans Jean on 10 23 2023

    This book is a must-have in every Christian home and public library. This book helps me teach my son about African Heroes who impacted Christianity at his age level of understanding. Africa has a rich history in early Christianity, and Pastor Gay highlights several notable figures who emerged as influential church fathers. These early African church fathers made substantial contributions to Christian theology, philosophy, and ecclesiastical structure, leaving a lasting impact on the development of Christianity. This book will inspire you and your child to learn more about our Christian Heritage. If you're looking to delve deeper into the lives and teachings of the early African church fathers with your family, you will find this book by Pastor Gay informative and engaging.

  • 5
    Biblical truth and discovery for the whole family!

    Posted by Nikeenah Dockery on 10 04 2023

    African Heros written by author, Jerome Gay is a wonderfully written work that unlocks the theologians of our Biblical history. As my son and I opened the book we were captivated by the lovely illustrations and introduced to a family that finds time to enjoy the beauty of God's creation all while teaching the readers about the mighty people of God who submitted their lives for His work. Page after page we learned all sorts of facts about men and women who look like us. I highly recommend African Heros to everyone and I hope to see other books in this series in the future.

  • 5
    Amazing book, even for adults

    Posted by Michelle Turner on 10 04 2023

    This book was easy for my 7 yr old god daughter to read and understand. She is learning about church history in a way that makes it fun and educational. Highly recommend this book.

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