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Culture Children's Books
Sophie and the Heidelberg Cat
Sophie has a spat with her sister and explodes at her parents, but she never expects her neighbor’s white cat to confront her. They take a rooftop walk, and Sophie expresses guilt and frustration: “It’s so hard to be good all the time.” The cat helps Sophie see that no one, not even her parents, teacher, pastor, or Bible heroes, is without sin—only Christ is. Wilson puts the Heidelberg Catechism’s first question and answer into a simple story that kids can grasp. “Hope doesn’t come from the good things we do,” the cat says. “It comes as a gift, from what Jesus has done.” (Ages 4-8)
Why Do We Say Good Night?
Children who fear the dark will find reassuring truths in this book to prepare them when the lights go out. Written as a bedside conversation between a mother and daughter, the book’s simple prose enlightens a common childhood question: How can the night and darkness possibly be good? The girl’s mother speaks soothing words about God as an illuminating Good Shepherd who is near, watching over and protecting His children. He “made nighttime good and right,” the mother tells her daughter. “You need not fear.” Illustrator Rommel Ruiz adds vibrant pictures that capture both the scariness and the wonder of a darkened bedroom. (Ages 3-6)
Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!)
Lloyd-Jones wants children to know that anyone can write a book, and she prods with simple pointers that will help them start. With humor and whimsical illustrations, the book gives a step-by-step guide to the writing process, from choosing an idea and considering the audience to covering the necessary story elements and capturing the reader’s attention. It includes plenty of tongue-in-cheek commentary, common writing mishaps, and witty tricks and tips to demystify the task. From the best-selling author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, this book will inspire both budding and reluctant writers, and perhaps even their parents. (Ages 4-8)
God Made Boys and Girls
Children naturally have questions and sometimes confusion about gender, especially in a culture that tells them they can choose whether to be a boy or a girl. This book helps parents introduce young children to a Biblical perspective on gender differences that “celebrates God’s good gift of creating each of us either male or female.” The book avoids stereotypes and emphasizes that what girls or boys do, like, or think does not decide their gender. Machowski delicately ties in the gospel, reminding children “people get mixed up” because of sin and brokenness and only Christ can free them. (Ages 4-8)
With eight adopted children at home ranging in age from 3 to 19, former NFL football coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren have their own focus group to test their recent children’s books.
In Maria Finds Courage, Maria overcomes her fear of a new sport. In Carson Chooses Forgiveness, Carson and his teammates reconcile with the star player who wouldn’t pass the ball. In Austin Plays Fair, Austin learns that playing by the rules is more important than winning. In We Chose You, Calvin learns how special he is to God and his adoptive parents. All four books, which Harvest House released this year and last, display racial and ethnic diversity and sensitivity to issues of adoption and foster care.
Although themes of forgiveness and adoption can be theologically deep, the Dungys keep their stories simple with 6- to 9-year-olds in mind. “If you get their attention early, that’s much better than waiting until they are 10 or 11 years old,” Tony said. —Russ Pulliam