Tuesday, February 27, 2007

God Made You Special

God Made You Special, by Jennifer Holder, begins by pointing out that just as no two snowflakes or fingerprints are the same, neither are any two people. Some people, the author writes, are fair skinned, some are dark skinned, some have great smiles, others have beautiful eyes. Our differences make us special: "There are billions of people in the world - but only one you. That's special!"

But this board book goes beyond this simple message to encourage children to share their special abilities. If you can paint a picture, sing, or catch a baseball, that's a gift, the author says, and then explains how children can use that gift to help others.

The book wraps up by saying we're each made by God, in his image. Being made in his image means (in part) that God's son "loves you and wants to be your friend," the author says. She explains that Jesus came to earth so we could live with him in heaven someday. Then the author asks the parent and child reading the book to say a prayer, thanking God for making the child just as he or she is.

The last page of the book includes two "parent tips," offering simple ideas for incorporating the message of the book in our everyday lives.

What I Like: All children need to know they are made by God in his image...and this fact makes them special. The author does a good job of laying this out (although she - perhaps wisely, given the focus of the book - doesn't delve into what "made in his image" means exactly). She also does a good job of explaining how kids can use their uniqueness to help others. I also love that the book ends with a prayer, plus some good ideas for activities after the book is read. The illustrations, by C.A. Nobens, are colorful and show children of a variety of ethniticies interacting with other children and adults.

What I Dislike: I think this book attempts too much for the youngest children. Toward the end of the book, the author looses focus and tries to explain Jesus' role as our "friend" and Savior, but she doesn't tie this in well with the rest of the text. I think the last few pages of the book confuse the issue a bit and should have been edited out (and saved for another book).

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: The publisher says infant to preschool, but I think this book is really too wordy for infants. I'd say it's best for toddlers and kindergarten.

Publishing Info: Standard Publishing, 2002; ISBN 0784713995; board book; $7.99

Buy Now at Amazon for $7.99.

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