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The Heart Changer

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater
Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 26th 2019 by Ambassador International
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Average rating 4.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  35 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Melanie Mead
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
As an adult who really enjoys reading children's books, I have to say this was such a wonderful book! The author is a friend of mine and it was exciting to read this, her first published work. It really brought the story of Namaan and the little Israelite girl to life and testified to the power God has to change hearts. We loved having Jarm visit us here in England and speak to our homeschool co-op group about her book and her journey to becoming an author. My 8 year old daughter has read and re ...more
Hannah Mead
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Review to come shortly!
Suzie Waltner
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adore books for young readers that carry the message that, no matter what age we are, our actions, decisions, and reactions are noticed—and often influence—others. Jarm del Boccio takes it a step further by introducing young minds to a Bible story they may not have heard or paid a lot of attention to before.

When young Miriam is taken captive and put to work as a slave girl, she’s understandably angry, wondering how a loving God could tear her away from her family and deposit her in a new land
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finding freedom in captivity

The Heart Changer is a very touching and believable account of a twelve-year-old girl who has been torn from her home and forced to serve as a slave for the wife of the man responsible for her slavery and the destruction of her village. Written for a younger audience, there is not a great deal of violence, yet Miriam's agony is clearly felt. I love the way she learned to adjust to her new environment and the struggles she experienced as she sought to trust God even in
Nay Denise
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Received a copy from the publisher for review.

Beautiful MG biblical fiction. Definitely enjoyed this. Wish there was more to it.

Full review to come...


This was such a beautiful read. I have never read a MG-based biblical fiction novel so this was sort of new to me. I didn't go in expecting to enjoy my reading experience as I would adult biblical fiction, but I did! I loved the writing. The chapters were short, but they were packed with essential moments, conversati
Nay Denise
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Received a copy from the publisher for review.

Beautiful MG biblical fiction. Definitely enjoyed this. Wish there was more to it.

Full review to come...


This was such a beautiful read. I have never read a MG-based biblical fiction novel so this was sort of new to me. I didn't go in expecting to enjoy my reading experience as I would adult biblical fiction, but I did! I loved the writing. The chapters were short, but they were packed with essential moments, conversati
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Biblical fiction, especially when the main character is a little-known Bible character. This type of situation gives the author room to allow their own imagination to develop a story for that character. I have no problem with this concept as long as it doesn’t change what we do know from Scripture.
Jarm Del Boccio tells a delightful story of Miriam, the captured Israeli girl who becomes the slave to Naaman’s wife. I love how Miriam grows in her faith of Jehovah as the story progresses, a
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have read the story of Naaman’s healing in the Bible many times, and heard the story told in Sunday School as a child. I was always amazed that Naaman was able to be healed of his leprosy by bathing in the Jordan River seven times. However, I never really thought about the little details of the story. Naaman was the commander of the army of Syria. After he became ill, his wife’s servant girl, an Israelite, is the one who told him to go to the prophet Elisha for healing. We know little about th ...more
Becca-Rae Weidel
The Heart Changer is a Middle Grade fiction read appealing to adults as well. It could have easily been turned into a full-length novel, but I recognize the intended audience which makes the length more appropriate. I often find that middle grade fiction feels more choppy simply due to reading level of the audience. Instead I was pleased that this story flowed quite smoothly and was highly capable of creating vivid imagery in my mind. Having said that, it may be better suited to more advanced mi ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my first Jarm Del Boccio book. I read it as an ebook. She begins The Heart Changer - a story for children of all ages - in a burst of activity which immediately tugged at this reader’s heart. With vivid descriptions of sights and sounds that enlivened my senses, I quickly felt sorry for the main character, Miriam's trials and traumas as a pre-teen separated from her family. I loved feeling the impact of a compassionate smile when everything is scary and unfamiliar. And now have a better ...more
Candy Smith
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely enjoyed this Biblical Fiction story especially since it's such a small account in the massive book of countless stories that Miriam's story may often be overlooked, which makes me admire the author's ability to bring it to life! I'm always intrigued to see Biblical stories come to life in fiction even if they're not totally accurate, which is why it's "fiction", it helps open the eyes of the reader to whole new forgotten worlds of past peoples and culturals. The author did a fantast ...more
June Jacobs
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This middle-grade historical {Biblical period} novel is filled with faith, forgiveness, love, and personal growth.

The author has done an excellent job of creating a story which would make an excellent family, classroom, or church school read-aloud.

I appreciated the poem the author included in the prologue, 'The Master Weaver', and the high-level vocabulary and sentence structure she used throughout the book. The story is filled with a wide range of emotions which draw a reader into the story fro
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Heart Changer takes you on a journey of a young girl who finds forgiveness and compassion and learns how to show it to those who have wronged her.

When faced with the reality that she may never see her family again, Miriam is heart broken and feels only hatred towards her master and his wife. But over time, she learns the importance of learning to forgive those who have hurt her and trusting God to carry out His plan in the midst of her pain. She realizes that that only He can restore hope w
Rose (Adventurous Bookworm)
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to keep my attention in a middle-grade novel. Normally. This book was an exception. I was hooked right from the start with the story and writing style.
Miriam jumped out of the page with her personality and tale. Miriam is a very likable character with her struggles and her journey to actually serving God with her life. While seeing life from her perspective, we get a deeper look into an Old Testament Bible story regarding Elisha and the man with leprosy.
I would recommend this story to
Pippa Chorley
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Heart Changer, attracted me because the title was so powerful and the front cover captivating. The setting and historical time frame was one I know little about but it definitely felt an authentic read and created vivid images in my mind of what it might have been like in those times. Jarm Del Boccio obviously researched widely for this book! Whilst the book is a fictional story, it tales the tale of a character taken from Biblical scripture and for many this will create a debate over accura ...more
Nancy Sanders
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was so intrigued to read a retelling of the story of Naaman from the Bible and the young girl who recommended he look to the God of Israel to be healed from leprosy. As I read, it felt like the Bible came alive to me. The sights and sounds of young Miriam’s world, her capture and struggle in her new life away from family and friends, and her journey of faith all made this book a treasure to read. Perfect for middle grade readers looking to learn more about the Bible and what life was like livi ...more
Connie Dow
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Heart Changer is Jarmilia Vicki Del Boccio's new middle grade historical novel, and is the retelling of an ancient story. The time and place (the Middle East) is evoked through the many exotic sights, sounds, foods, and situations the main character, Miriam, experiences in her time as a captured slave. Readers will enjoy this well-written and well-paced book, and the colorful and evocative glimpse into the past.
June Smalls
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Miriam is ripped from her life and family and made into a servant in the household of the very commander who's people stormed her village. Though she is angry and at times questions her faith. She strives to be good and to make the right choices, even when it is hard, and even though she knows it may not help her get back to her family. She finds forgiveness and peace in her new lot in life and, through her faith, becomes the catalyst for a miracle. ...more
Tina Shepardson
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Heart Changer is a middle-grade historical novel about a young refugee trying to find her way in a very difficult part of the world. Through many hardships she learns about forgiveness, compassion, inner strength, faith, hope and love. An excellent book to read aloud or together with an audience in school, home, or other location embracing the life lessons this story teaches us.

Jarm Boccio
May 27, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Although I can't give this a rating, because I'm the author, I do hope this story offers it's young readers heart, hope and a hero. It's not easy serving the man who destroyed your village. Eventually Miriam uses the only weapon she knows - forgiveness. And it changes the whole course of her life — she becomes part of a miracle! ...more
Emma Filbrun
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school, review-copies
This is a short book that starts out with a bang and ends with a sweet scene. Young girls who enjoy historical or Biblical fiction will enjoy learning about the One who can change our hearts and make us into someone He can use. There were elements of this story which we found somewhat unrealistic, but overall it is a good story.
Stephen Zanias
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
Interesting take on the story behind Naaman wife's servant and the events leading up to his miraculous healing by God via the prophet Elisha. The events were portrayed in descriptive detail and helped to make me feel likeI was actually there. Jarm Del Boccio does a nice job of setting the stage and driving home the key aspect of our need for a Heart Changer. ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imaginative back story for 2 Kings 5!
A.D. Lawrence
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting take on the story of Naaman's healing. Descriptive language helped me feel like I was present in the story. Very good :) ...more
Katherine Bartlett
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very sweet and touching story that shows even the hardest heart can change with God
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: justread-tours
My Thoughts:
I gave this book a quick read. By this I mean it only took me an hour or so to read. It's a great story for your middle-grade readers. The Heart Changer focuses on a young twelve-year-old who is captured by the Syrian army. Her captor sees something in her and offers her to Naaman as a house servant as his wife has been wanting a new one.

Miriam isn't sure if her family survived and doesn't know how she can do this. At first, she's mad at God and doesn't understand what's going on. S
Mary E.
A deep look into the heart of a slave girl; her fears; her struggles, her victories
Mariah Mead
rated it it was amazing
Aug 02, 2019
Michelle Hernandez
rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2020
Amanda Geaney
Review coming to https://christianshelfesteem.wordpres... on Monday, March 11th. ...more
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Great Middle Grad...: The Heart Changer - MG Historical Fiction 2 14 May 19, 2020 09:01AM  
Christian Schools: Author HomeSchool Visits 1 3 May 14, 2020 12:50PM  

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Jarm (’J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way, as she slowly checks off destinations on her bucket list.

Being a former teacher and librarian, Jarm’s passion is to breathe new life into the pages of history. She believes with inspiration from the past, children c

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