Left Behind: The Kids
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Cover of The Vanishings
|Publisher||Tyndale House Publishing|
|Published||1997 – 2004|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|No. of books||40 (List of books)|
Left Behind: The Kids (stylized as LEFT BEHIND >THE KIDS<) is a series written by Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, and Chris Fabry. The series consists of 40 short novels aimed primarily at the young adult market based on the adult series Left Behind also written by Jerry B. Jenkins. It follows a core group of teenagers as they experience the rapture and tribulation, based on scriptures found in the Bible, and background plots introduced in the adult novels. Like the adult series, the books were published by Tyndale House Publishing, and released over the 7 year period of 1997-2004. The series has sold over 11 million copies worldwide.
"In one shocking moment millions around the globe disappear. Those left behind face an uncertain future—especially four kids who now find themselves alone. As the kids search for help and for answers, they are told the truth behind the disappearances. But are they ready to believe it?"
There are 40 books in total for the series, which have also been released in some territories as collected volumes, mirroring the number of books in the adult series. The collected volumes have each background plots from their adult series counterparts. Also, LaHaye and Jenkins with Chris Fabry in 2000 wrote A Kids Guide to Understanding the End Times, which helps readers of the series to understand the end times events, similar to Are we Living in the End Times? by the original authors. Unlike the original Left Behind series, there are no prequel or sequel novels written by the authors.
Main Article: List of Left Behind Characters
Original members of The Young Tribulation Force
- Judd Thompson Jr.-Age at time of the rapture: 16 First Appearance: Book #1
Judd was born into a Christian family, and was once fairly devout but never made the commitment to Christ. He received a letter by mistake containing a credit card that was supposed to be for his dad. He called the credit card company and confirmed it himself. On the night of the Rapture, he took the credit card and ran away, telling his parents that he was going to the library to study. He instead went to O'Hare airport and boarded a one-way flight to London, England. When some of the people on board the plane disappeared, leaving only their clothes, Judd realized that what he heard all the time in church was true — Jesus had come back and he had been left behind. He met Bruce Barnes, the visitation pastor, and the only member of the staff left behind. He also met Vicki Byrne, Lionel Washington, and Ryan Daley. The four kids form the Young Tribulation Force. He allowed Vicki, Ryan, and Lionel to stay at his house until they were forced to flee because of the Global Community. Bruce and Judd go on a few international trips, the last of these was taken shortly before Bruce's death. Following the earthquake and Ryan's death the Young Trib force live in a cave until they can escape to a safer hideout. Zeke then gives them a new ID. He resists going to the schoolhouse, as he and Vicki have a massive falling out. He eventually goes in order to warn the kids about Wormwood. Due to their disagreements Vicki lets him and Lionel go to the Gala in Israel. The trip was meant to last a week but actually lasted around three years. He fell in love with an Israeli girl named Nada, however she was shot. Before she died, she wrote him a letter saying how she felt like there was somebody back home that he loved. He realized she meant Vicki. He proposed to Vicki after his return, and they marry about a year before the Glorious Appearing, where he and Vicki are both in Jerusalem.
- Vicki Byrne Thompson-Age at time of the rapture: 14 First Appearance: Book #1
Vicki grew up in a trailer park, and hated it because people regularly made fun of her and the others who lived in Prospect Gardens, calling them names such as "Trailer Trash". Her parents smoked, drank, and fought constantly. Every Friday, Vicki would usually have to baby-sit her sister Jeanni, however, occasionally she would ditch her and run off to smoke, drink or do dope with her friends. When Vicki was twelve, a man asked to speak at the dance. Everyone was first irritated, and then quiet as he told all present that Jesus had loved them enough to die for them and He wanted everyone to accept His gift of grace and eternal life. Vicki's parents and her sister all accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, along with her brother Eddie in Michigan, while a defiant Vicki refused. Following her parents' conversion, Vicki became even more rebellious and continued to refuse to convert. One night she came back from partying to find the house quiet and was under the impression that they had fallen asleep waiting for her. When she woke up the next morning, all her family were gone because they had been raptured. Though her best friend Shelley wondered what happened, Vicki knew the truth — Christ had come back for His own. She then accepted Christ upon meeting Bruce Barnes, Judd Thompson, Lionel Washington, and Ryan Daley. She spent the next seven years proselytizing, which included interrupting a concert by Z-Van (lead singer of the Four Horsemen and one of Nicolae Carpathia's false messiahs) and speaking to the crowd of thousands. She fell in love with Judd early in the series and the two were married around a year before the Glorious Appearing, shortly following Vicki's twentieth birthday.
- Lionel Washington-Age at time of the rapture: 13 First Appearance: Book #1
His whole family were the most devout Christians he knew, and he pretended to go along with them. The only one he could connect with was his Uncle André, who would turn into a drunk and a gambler one week and a "devout Christian" the next. All of his family disappeared in the Rapture except André, who died after being shot by LeRoy Banks and being caught up in a fire in his apartment complex. Lionel became a Christian and acknowledged that Jesus had raptured his church. He spent the next seven years proselytizing, spending most of his time with Judd and Bruce Barnes. He had to amputate his left arm after it was crushed in a rock slide while he and Judd were traveling back to the rest of the Young Tribulation Force from their adventures in the Middle East, but gained it back when Jesus returned at the end of the series. He came to stay in Petra after the marriage of Judd and Vicki where he was best man. At the end of the series he went to Jerusalem with the other believers.
- Ryan Daley- Age at time of the rapture: 12 First Appearance: Book #1
His mother and father, unbelievers, died because of the events after the rapture. He was the last one out of the four to become a believer. He was best friends with Rayford "Raymie" Steele Jr., Rayford Steele's son, and the two often had much fun together. Ryan finds a dog and names it Phoenix early on in the series. He and Lionel often clashed to the point of a brawl, yet they were still very close. In the book "On the Run", Ryan accompanies Judd to Israel where Ryan saves Judd's life after Judd is captured by the GC for having a tape containing the truth about the murders of Tsion Ben-Judah's family. Ryan died a couple days after the Wrath of the Lamb earthquake, having had a chunk of debris fall on him, causing his legs to become paralyzed and a wound in his back to become badly infected, from which he died soon afterward.
These books were written from 1998 to 2004 and are still in print today, with over 11 million sold in series. Unlike the adult series, Left Behind, they have no prequels or sequels (and none will be written), but are a set of 40 books focused on the Tribulation. The series was originally due to have 48 books, but was cut to 40 as the huge 2 year jump in Ominous Choices cut out a lot of possible material. The Left Behind: The Kids series was originally written for teen and young adult readers. However, the audience has grown to include adults. The Kids series has, like the adults, a dramatic audio series adapted for and aired on Christian radio. These are now available as audiobooks and are also available on iTunes.
Left Behind The Kids Live-Action Audio
The series was adapted into a set of audiobooks which are a series of 12 episode volumes covering anywhere between 4 and 9 books each. The audio adaptations were produced by GapDigital/EarFlix. Volume 1 covers books 1-4, volume 2 covers books 5-8, volume 3 covers books 9-12, volume 4 covers books 13-21, volume 5 covers books 22-33 and volume 6 covers books 34-40