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The Bronze Bow

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  15,331 Ratings  ·  1,371 Reviews
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)
The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his f
Paperback, 254 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by houghton mifflin books (first published 1961)
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The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
28th out of 96 books — 2,536 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayNumber the Stars by Lois LowryThe Luxe by Anna GodbersenThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Teen Historical Fiction
45th out of 1,037 books — 2,519 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 11, 2008 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Joleene Mills, Springtown Book Club
What a beautiful book! I am so thrilled that it won a Newbery medal. Daniel (the main character) is aloof, sullen, and passionate - almost enough to become frustrating to the reader... except that he has a tenderness and a deep sense of responsibility that he gives reign to just often enough that you can't help but admire and cheer for him. His character progression is gradual, sincere, and believable.

Also, I was fascinated to read a story with such a unique perspective on the life of Jesus Chri
Apr 24, 2009 Josiah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW. WOW. WOW. And WOW again.
I have high expectations (almost unrealistically so) whenever I read a book by Elizabeth George Speare, but each of her books that I have read has met and exceeded these high hopes.
The magnitude of "The Bronze Bow" is staggering. I can only compare the feel of sheer importance of the story to "Johnny Tremain", but I would contend that this one even surpasses that classic in terms of importance of the plot.
There is a pulsating electricity beneath the words of Eliz
Jubilation Lee
I sort of hate to give this book two stars, because it’s a Newbery Award Winner, but at the same time... it’s a Newbery Award Winner?! 1962, what were you thinking?! I mean, this is the same year Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his epic portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and we couldn’t do any better that year for the Newbery than The Bronze Bow? Eh.

My feelings for this man are absolutely out of control.

My biggest problem is with the protagonist himself. Daniel is so whiny, and s
Sep 20, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 13 And Up
After witnessing his father's crucifixion by Roman soldiers, Daniel bar Jamin is fired by a single passion: to avenge his father's death by driving the Roman legions form the land of Israel. Consumed by hatred, Daniel joins the brutal raids of an outlaw band living in the hills outside his village. Though his grandmother's death slows his plans by forcing him to move home to care for his sister, he continues his dangerous life by leading a group of boy guerrillas in spying and plotting, ...more
Nov 30, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone AND anyone :)
The story of a young Jewish boy, living with a group of Jewish outlaws, awaiting the coming of the Savior (whom they believe will save them from political opression). But when the boy actually meets Jesus Christ, and listens to his teachings, he battles with his faith. He's torn between the kind of salvation Christ is offering, versus the political freedom he thought the Savior would offer.

This story is captivating in the sense that everyone thinks that if they lived in the time of Christ, and
Sep 10, 2008 Annalisa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Annalisa by: book club
This book was so not what I expected. In fact, this is the second book in a row I've expected to be an American Indian tale from the title. That's the fun of not checking out the blurbs on a book: you get to be surprised.

This story is actually set in the time of Christ. The main character, Daniel, is a Jewish rebel (zealot) living in the mountains waiting for the opportune time, or person, to banish the Romans from Jerusalem. It was interesting to see the expectancy for a Messiah who would be a
Feb 27, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It reminded me a lot of "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglas, which I also liked. I really appreciated getting another perspective of Jesus Christ and how he may have appeared to many Jews.

Throughout most of the book, I thought that the descriptions of Daniel's anger was exaggerated and dramatic. Then I finally realized that he truly had these hateful, spiteful feelings and desires for vengeance that blinded him and were really out of control. I guess it's just hard for me t
Margo Berendsen
After a slow start, this book kept getting better and better, richer and richer, and the end made me cry.

For the record, there are only two other books that have made me cry: Bambi and Black Beauty. Maybe Where the Red Fern grows. And no animals died in this book! In fact, none of the main characters died in this book. But what happened on the last page, between the Jew, Daniel and the Roman, Marcus, just choked me up - in a good way, though.

I read this with my 9 and 12 year old girls for schoo
Dec 08, 2015 Morgan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Rating: PG

Recommended for: Ages 8 to Adult

This book is well researched. The times and culture are so vividly portrayed and the history is clearly real. Elizabeth George Speare was a master storyteller, her two Newberies and one Newbery honor attest to that. Her characters are so real. Daniel has so much hate he struggles with, and he does struggle. His temper is real. Leah is so fearful, and there is so much tension caused by her demon possession. It is so hard to see progress made with her undo
Oct 18, 2014 Abby rated it it was amazing
Thought for sure I had added this to goodreads...anyway I have read this three time because I love it so much! I think I read it just for the ending! (its kind of slow in the beginning) I usually do not like book with the boy as the main characters but following his I just love! The ending I just feel so, its hard to explain! At one point I always cry, when he is mean to his sister, it just always makes me want to scream! But then the final ending when he turns to Christ ♥ and does ...more
Apr 20, 2009 Marlene rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because of the portrayal of the subjection of the Jewish nation to Rome. They hated it and The Bronze Bow makes it easy enough for a child to understand their contempt. Add to this the expectation of a deliverer or a Messiah, and the reader gets a better notion of the great demands the Jewish people made of Jesus Christ. I was left with a better understanding of their disappointment when he didn't turn out to be the great "king" they were hoping for, and why it took such ...more
Aug 21, 2007 Natasha rated it it was amazing
another one of my favs... oh I love this book!
The Bronze Bow is a historical novel, winner of the Newbery Medal, intended for an upper-Intermediate/Advanced audience. Set in the time of Jesus, in a small village that's been taken over by Roman rule, Daniel, a young man working as a blacksmith and caring for his agoraphobic sister, has vowed vengeance upon the oppressive Roman army. But into the midst of his vitriol and thirst for justice strolls the fierce peace of Jesus, and Daniel must choose between his deeply entrenched vows to hate and ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
I would recommend this book to children because of how it makes the New Testament come to life. Although the story is not very engaging at the beginning and this book does not get really interesting until about the middle, it does a very good job of putting the reader in the shoes of someone who lived during the time of Jesus. It is easy for children to understand what it would have been like for the people back then because they are presented with so many different personal perspectives. This ...more
Katherine Cowley
Dec 21, 2011 Katherine Cowley rated it really liked it
This book reminds me of Ben-Hur. Except without the chariot racing (which is one of the most spectacular scenes in film history). Published in 1961, two years after Ben-Hur's cinematic debut, The Bronze Bow tells the story of a Jew, Daniel bar Jamin, who is filled with anger at what the Romans have done to his family. Also like in Ben Hur, the main character's life intersects at several key points with the life of Christ, and is made better for it.

I'd call this historical religious fiction, a g
Aug 16, 2013 Charlotte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-love, 2013
I discovered this Newberry Award winner when I was in middle school, and absolutely loved it. I can't even count the number of times I read it while I was in my teens, but I hadn't revisited it as an adult until now. Loved it every bit as much now as I did then!

The book is set in New Testament times, and follows Daniel, a young Jewish man who has a deep and bitter hatred of the Romans. We meet Daniel first in the mountains, where he lives with a band of freedom fighters - or bandits, depending
Lissa Chandler
Feb 16, 2012 Lissa Chandler rated it it was amazing
I have really mixed feelings about stories that fictionalize Jesus since religion is interpreted so differently on an individual basis, but I love how Speare wove this story. Daniel can be a little hard to understand at times, but I love that he's trying to do the best that he can do, even though he has one of the hottest tempers I've ever read about or seen in real life. Also, I loved the women in this book, especially Leah. Her character development absolutely fascinated me. Not gonna lie, ...more
Aug 22, 2016 Hannah rated it really liked it
The Bronze Bow is a wonderful read! It didn't capture my attention till around the middle of the book, but after that I could hardly put it down. The story line was neat and I enjoyed reading about Daniel and Leah as well as the other characters. It was beautiful to see how Jesus was woven into the story and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It was also neat to see the message of love overcoming hate. I think it's a message we especially need to hear in this day and age as theirs so much hate ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Ginny rated it it was amazing
Such a cool book! I ran across it unexpectedly, so I was completely naive about it's utter awesomeness. To be truthful, I was expecting the complete opposite of "utter awesomeness"--whatever that is.:-) It is historical fiction set in the time of Jesus Christ. It is the story of a boy, Daniel, who is consumed by hatred for the Romans. He craves vengeance for the deaths of his parents and also freedom for the Jews at any cost. Jesus, interestingly enough, is a side character in the book, but it ...more
Jan 29, 2015 Danny rated it really liked it
I have a soft spot in my heart for this book, if only because I won it as a prize in 5th grade for reading the most books of anyone else in my grade at Scera Park Elementary in Orem, Utah. (Which was no small feat considering I had to compete against the Frost triplets.) My old copy is battered, stained and falling apart.
It did win a Newberry Award, and is a good story, told from the perspective of a young angry zealot influenced for good by Christ.
Meridth Gimbel
Nov 20, 2008 Meridth Gimbel rated it it was amazing
Absolutely inspiring! This is the perfect book to get prepped for the Christmas season. Not only did I love the uplifting story about a young Jewish rebel during the time of Jesus...but I also was really delighted in all the historically accurate details that the author included. Totally delightful book.
Good but not great. Certainly not as good as The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It is a Jesus story but interesting because the main character is a young Zealot. I haven't seen a Zealot sympathetically portrayed very often, especially in a book for kids. In the end though, the plot was too predictable.
Jun 23, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a few years ago but I only remember that I loved it. :D
James F
Apr 16, 2015 James F rated it it was ok
Although this is well-written (and won a Newbery Award) the content was essentially just propaganda.

The protagonist, Daniel, is an adolescent Jewish boy living in Galilee, whose father was killed by the Romans. At the beginning of the novel, he has run away from the blacksmith to whom he is apprenticed and is fighting in the mountains with a sort of partisan group headed by a man named Rosh. He has left behind a poor grandmother and a mentally ill sister named Leah. He makes friends with anothe
Oct 13, 2016 Cambria rated it did not like it
Not my favorite because it talked about action but never got to the point where the action happened.
Ammanuel Hailu
Oct 03, 2016 Ammanuel Hailu rated it it was amazing
This book is a very well written book about taking a U-turn in our lives. It is Christian based and can be seen as very relatable to many Christians. Daniel (main character) is driven with hatred by his father’s death, and wants to seek revenge against the Romans, who crucified him in front of his very own eyes. He comes across the word of God while recruiting men to join the cause of killing Romans, and as he does that he runs into a carpenter (Jesus). He goes through series of events that make ...more
Dec 23, 2012 Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery, historical, audio
I approached this book, winner of the 1962 Newbery Award, with equal parts anticipation and trepidation. On the one hand, this was the author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, one of my all-time favorite Newbery books. On the other hand, it was going to be a historical novel where one of the characters was Jesus.

In the end, I thought the book was interesting, but nowhere near as good as its sister book. The characters are well drawn, with clear personality traits, multiple and complex goals. The
Feb 14, 2010 Meg rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-with-kids
LEAH'S RATING (age 4): *****

LEAH'S REVIEW: I learned about giving and loving and helping people instead of hating them.

LEAH'S FAVORITE QUOTE: "He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze." (King David, from scripture)

RAEF'S RATING (age 6): ****

RAEF'S REVIEW: I liked the things that happened in the story. Also about how Jesus said the only thing stronger than hate is love.

RAEF'S FAVORITE QUOTE: "No use to burn good wood. We're in need of supplies, not bonfires."
Emily Michelle
Apr 08, 2011 Emily Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This novel is extraordinary. I first read it in high school and I've read it a million times since then, and this piece of fiction for young people has changed for the better the way I understand and view my faith. How many YA books can you say that about?

The book, written by the author of the also-fabulous Witch of Blackbird Pond, is set in first-century Galilee and follows the story of a boy named Daniel who, after a family tragedy, swears to rid the land of its Roman conquerors or die trying.
Hillary Muller
The Bronze Bow is about young Daniel bar Jamin, a Jewish boy sworn to rid Israel of the hated Romans. After his parents die because of the Roman occupation, Daniel runs away from his grandmother and incapacitated sister, to live with the bandit and Zealot Rosh in the mountains. He is quite happy there nursing his hatred against the Romans and doing everything he can to fight against them. Then his grandmother dies and he is forced to come back to the village to care for his incapacitated sister. ...more
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I was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1908. I have lived all my life in New England, and though I love to travel I can't imagine ever calling any other place on earth home. Since I can't remember a time when I didn't intend to write, it is hard to explain why I took so long getting around to it in earnest. But the years seemed to go by very quickly. In 1936 I married Alden Speare ...more
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“Daniel, he said. I would have you follow me.

Master!....I will fight for you to the end!.

My loyal friend, he said, I would ask something much harder than that. Would you love for me to the end?

...I don't understand, he said again, You tell people about the kingdom. Are we not to fight for it?

The kingdom is only bought at a great price, Jesus said. There was one who came just yesterday and wanted to follow me. He was very rich, and when I asked him to give up his wealth, he went away.

I will give you everything I have!

....Riches are not keeping you from the kingdom, he said. You must give up your hate.”
“The impression of strength came from an extraordinary vitality that seemed to pulse in the very air around him” 15 likes
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