Stories of the Hymns


Book: Stories of the Hymns

Authors: Glenn Rawson, Jean Tonioli, and Jason Tonioli

Publisher: Rawson and Tonioli, 2021

ISBN-13: 9781685242503

ISBN-10: 1685242503

Related website(s): (author), (author)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Suitable for everyone

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Non-fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Rawson, Glenn; Tonioli, Jean; and Tonioli, Jason.  Stories of the Hymns (Published in 2021 by Rawson and Tonioli).   I have been studying the history and background of hymns for over forty years, during which time I published hymn studies on various e-mail lists, one of which was a daily “Hymn of the Day” for a number of years.  Currently, I have a “Hymn Studies” blog where I post a new hymn study each week.  As a result, I have amassed quite a collection of books about hymn stories, including one of my own entitled Songs of Zion and consisting of around one-hundred of my older hymn studies.  The latest one that I have added to my shelf is Stories of the Hymns by Rawson and Tonioli.

     This book of stories is intended to bring to life and give new perspective on the origin stories behind 41 of the most famous Christian hymns. It is not a music book but a story book with inspirational accounts that delve deeper into how the authors and composers wrote some of the most beloved hymns that cross denominational lines.  The stories are written to be three to six minutes long and should work perfectly for use as a spiritual thought to start a class or meeting. Or they could be read for personal devotions.  These stories will help the reader to look forever at many of these songs differently and sing them with greater intent. The book would make a fantastic gift for anyone who loves music and the hymns.  The authors hope that each story will bring greater meaning to worship.

     Glenn Rawson has been telling inspirational stories for over 30 years and now broadcasts throughout the United States on more than 50 radio stations each week.  Jean Tonioli is a former elementary school teacher who is currently on the Adjunct Faculty at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.  Jason Tonioli started piano lessons when he was in Kindergarten and has typically been known for his solo piano work and piano solo hymn arrangements.  Some of the selections in Stories of the Hymns are well known, such as John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” and James Black’s “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” while others are perhaps a bit more obscure, like “Behold a Royal Army” by Fanny Crosby and “God Is Love” by Thomas Rawson Taylor.  There is an index of hymns but not of authors.  The book is identified as “Volume 1,” so I assume that we can expect future companions.

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