Thursdays Reviews at Inklings

Two wondrous books for kids

What is it like to be a child in 2020? Summer camp was canceled and school is on a screen. The family reunions were postponed until a better year. Playgrounds are closed and everyone seems nervous. There is talk among adults of masks, distancing and sickness.

Kids are so intuitive. Even if you are careful to monitor your conversations, they are getting some pretty negative vibes right now. They feel our sadness, but we can, we must, help preserve their childhood and their hope for a better future.

Books can help do that.

These are two that made me happy this week. I thought I’d share with you.

“Maybe: A Story About the Endless Potential in All of Us” by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Gabriella Barouch, published by Compendium in September 2019, $17.95 

First, let me say that this book is worthy of a prime spot on your coffee table so it can be shared with every child and adult who passes through your home. Filled with gorgeous, lifelike illustrations, a little girl strolls, sails, stretches and skips through her world, wondering why she is here. She is seen closely observing the objects she encounters, thoughtfully pondering their beauty while the text restates the possibilities on each page.

Her uniqueness is celebrated as she ponders what she can bring to her world that is just the thing she was made for. She may invent something, build something, reflect beauty or shine a light of inspiration around her. There may be hard times along the way and mistakes made. There may be fear and failure, but she and we were made to contribute what only we can.

“As It Is in Heaven: A Collection of Prayers for All Ages,” illustrated by Éric Puybaret, published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on March 10, $17.99 

This lovely book can share the coffee table with the one I described above. From the cover: “Éric Puybaret illuminates classic prayers of the Church, drawn from over two thousand years of faith. From the Magnificat to the Apostles’ Creed to the peace prayer of St. Francis, this timeless collection is an opportunity to introduce — or rediscover — words prayed by people around the world for centuries.”

That is what the publisher says, but I’ll tell you what caught my eye. For the Lord’s Prayer, Puybaret has used soft colors to show us a man and boy standing on a sea cliff with hands raised in gratitude and wonder. The Apostle’s Creed is matched with rich red tones of a multistory building and a lone man sitting on the rooftop gazing at the sunset. The Gloria is illustrated with a scene that could be in Africa or the Middle East of two people watching an approaching sandstorm. Veni Sancte Spiritus is paired with a shining lighthouse lighting the way for a young woman.

The book contains 14 such beautiful pairings — a full page with the text of a prayer and the facing page a large illustration.

OK, these books aren’t just for kids. But we could all use a little encouragement, don’t you think? Place them near the sofa. Your kids and grandkids, years from now, may remember those special books you had that made you all feel warm and cozy during that crazy year of 2020.

Today's Review was done by Susan Richmond!