Maria Fearing

The Girl Who Dreamed of Distant Lands

By K.A. Ellis, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz
from 18 reviews

Inspiring children's biography of Maria Fearing, a missionary who shared Christ’s love with children in Africa and protected them from slavery.

Part of the Do Great Things For God series.

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Read the true story of Maria Fearing, a missionary who shared Christ’s love with children in Africa and protected them from slavery.

Once freed from slavery on an Alabama plantation, Maria Fearing went to Africa to show children Jesus’ compassion and protect them from being sold into slavery. She even helped translate the Bible so that the children could read it in their own language. Her patience and grit in overcoming incredible obstacles to heed God’s call make her a great role model for young children.

This beautifully illustrated children's biography of Maria Fearing (1838-1937) features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos. It is part of a series designed to show kids that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Download free extras, such as worksheets, to help children interact with the true story and think of ways in which they can also follow God and encourage his people today.

These stories can be read to young children or enjoyed independently by early readers. The free extras make these stories useful for , Sunday school, missions events, and more.

Product details


  • Maria Fearing: Illustrated biography
    Further notes about Maria for adults and older children


Age range: 4+
Contributors K.A. Ellis, Isabel Muñoz
ISBN 9781784988265
Format Hardback
First published June 2023
Dimensions 195mm x 240mm x 7.2mm
Weight 0.32 kg
Language English
Pages 32
Publisher The Good Book Company

Nancy Guthrie

Bible teacher and author of the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series

I’m so grateful to have grown up in a church where I learned about missions and missionaries—but I never heard this story! I’m so glad to know it now and I’m so glad that this book will make Maria’s story known.

Jasmine Holmes

Author of Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope

Karen Ellis was already a hero of mine when she first introduced me to Maria Fearing—who quickly joined the pantheon. Hers is such an often-forgotten voice, and I am so excited to see her story in this engaging, accessible format! Karen’s gifts as a storyteller and an encourager meld beautifully in this tribute to Maria.

Lloyd Kim

Coordinator of Mission to the World (Presbyterian Church in America)

This is a wonderful account of how God has used a remarkable woman to bring the good news of the kingdom to many children in need. We pray her story will inspire countless others to answer the call to the Great Commission.

Customer reviews

20 Apr 2024

“Beautiful Christian Picture Book Biographies to Share with Young Children”

"Maria spent many years gathering children into her home until she was an old woman. Free and safe with her, for many years children fluttered in and out of her African home like busy little butterflies."

I highly recommend the entire Do Great Things for God series! This book is beautiful!!! Maria was born a slave and dreamed of faraway places. After the Civil War, she was freed and became a missionary. This beautifully illustrated book tackles difficult topics with grace in an age-appropriate way for young children. Maria is a wonderful role model for our children as she demonstrates boldness in standing up for the defenseless.

12 Apr 2024

“A great book about a godly woman!”

This is my favorite book from the "Do Great Things for God" series! It's the incredible story of a young girl who was enslaved on a plantation in Alabama. As a girl Maria felt God calling her to Africa, when she grew up she was freed and sailed to Congo with a missionary couple. Congo was ruled by a cruel king and his men were selling orphan boys and girls into slavery, Maria used whatever resources she had to set children free!
"Maria spent many years gathering children into her home until she was an old woman. Free and safe with her, for many years children fluttered in and out of her African home like busy little butterflies."
Maria helped translate the Bible so the children she took in could read Gods word for themselves! God used Maria's life, which was filled with hardship, to bring ".
...many children into a peaceful, loving, hope-filled home - a home with Jesus in this life and a home with him forever in glory."
Maria’s life is so inspiring, she remembered Gods promises to her and was faithful to follow his leading.
These books tackle difficult and deep topics in such an age appropriate way for young kids. I've had so many deep conversations with my girls while reading these.

The illustrations are colorful and engaging and the story flows well and is easy for kids to understand! This book is a must-have!

19 Dec 2023

“Thought provoking”

Some of the concepts were a little hard for my son ( who hasn’t been exposed to much about slavery) to understand. However, I think the book handles the descriptions of the cruelty of slavery very well. I also love that it inspires children that they can do great things for God regardless of skin color or background. Maria Fearing was truly fearless. This one will definitely bring up some tough topics for children, but it is much needed.

6 Aug 2023

“An Inspiring Read for Parents and Children”

Before reading this book, I had never heard the story of Maria Fearing. However, I was excited about the opportunity to learn her story myself and share it with my little one. Maria Fearing: The Girl Who Dreamed of Distant Lands is a perfect addition to homeschool lessons and activities, especially for teaching children about Christians who lived lives in service to Christ. This book is part of The Do Great Things for God Series. I highly recommend them all!

One of the aspects I particularly love about these books is their accessibility for children. The language is easy to understand, making it enjoyable for young readers.

5 Aug 2023

“They Make me Cry!”

Okay, so all of the Do Great Things for God books make me cry! HAHA! This one was no exception. It's just so incredible how God can use our stories, even our hard circumstances, for His glory! Maria was born a slave but emancipation came during her lifetime and she spent the rest of her years as a missionary in the Congo. Her heart for the Lord and her faith is so admirable. I love learning with my children about these "normal" women who do extraordinary things because they trust the Lord and they let Him shine in their lives!

In the back of everyone of these books is more resources to interact with the stories. I still have little kids so we just read the stories now, but I'm collecting all the books and excited to continue using them as they get older for book reports and study in our homeschool!

2 Aug 2023

“Seeing God’s Valuable Image in Vulnerable Children”

Maria Fearing is the girl who dreamed of distant lands. Written by K.A. Ellis, this new children’s biography tells of a missionary who shared Christ’s love with children in Africa and protected them from slavery.

The illustrations by Isabel Muñoz are dramatic yet kid-friendly. Her angles and use of colors make Fearing’s life of love vibrant and bold.

Seeing God’s Valuable Image in Vulnerable Children

I was most fascinated to see that Fearing helped translate the Bible. She believed that children should read it in their own language, and it encouraged me to train my children and the children at church to read the Bible for themselves and love it like a treasure.

I was not familiar with Fearing before this book. She has now become one of my favorite missionaries — a hero of the faith who saw God’s valuable image in vulnerable children.

I received a media copy of Maria Fearing and this is my honest review.

30 Jul 2023

“Encouraging Biography”

This book is perfect for kids/families to read through. Maria Fearing has an encouraging testimony that the author clearly communicates. If reading as a family, this can provide great opportunities for further discussion on Fearing’s life! Would recommend this book and the other books in the Do Great Things for God series!

7 Jul 2023

“Much Needed!”

TGBC does it again! I love K.A Ellis and I also have been so encouraged by what I've learned about Maria Fearing. The lack of biographies about missionaries of color is so discouraging, and I'm so grateful that TGBC has featured two women of color. This book brought up great conversations with the children I read it to and it also encouraged me. Keep it up Good Book Company!

7 Jul 2023

“Wonderful for Families”

After learning about being Christ's ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) this summer, this series makes more sense for my children. This addition to the series is wonderful. Maria Fearing's story led to so many great discussions with our family about image bearers and God loving people all over the world.

I received a copy of this book from The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review.

4 Jul 2023

“Very interesting”

I have never heard of Maria Fearing before and I am so glad that now I know a little bit about her. She was a wonderful woman.

I like that the author, K.A. Ellis, reinforces truths from God’s word and teaches the reader how Maria used God’s word in her own life.

At the back of the book is a real-life picture of Maria, as well as a timeline of life events, discussion questions, a labeled world map to follow Maria across the ocean, and pictures of the free resources from The Good Book Company that accompany this book.

I would highly recommend this book to any Christian family interested in reading Christian biographies. In addition, Maria’s story would also be great in a Sunday school classroom or church library.

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Maria Fearing | K.A. Ellis, Isabel Muñoz |