“Impress [these commands] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:7
This verse has a way of lacing up its running shoes and doing laps around my mind. It’s so honest, so simple. God takes the time to show us how to teach our kids: often, with purpose, and stirred into the daily-ness of kitchen conversation. He draws a map, clearly instructing us to bring God into the mundane rather than separating moments out for Him. We are not to isolate Jesus to Sunday, Awana, or Cub Scouts. And thank goodness! Bringing God into the kitchen, the garage, and the muddy backyard models for our kids that there is nothing in our lives that is not spiritual.
At our house, when it comes to teaching our children–be it about sharks, recycling, or Easter–you will find me searching for a good book. Our kids are tough critics: they love the library, they know what a Caldecott Award and a Newbery Medal are, and they have a sharp eye for literature that is colorful both in word and form.
In light of this, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a book that meets those criteria and adds to them a measure of wit and wisdom that our children found delightful. Anthony DeStefano, bestselling author of A Travel Guide to Heaven, and Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To debuts his first children’s book this month. Published by WaterMark Press and set for release on February 16, This Little Prayer of Mine carries with it high praise from such notable folks as Bernice A. King [daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King] and the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
DeStafano tackles tough issues like justice, rebellion, isolation and confusion, wrapping them in soothing rhyme and ensuring that high concepts are palatable for young readers. Woven throughout these larger issues are models of both intercession and prayers of gratitude; the scope of this prayer demonstrates that nothing is off limits when we talk to God.
Illustrated by Mark Elliot, the book’s images are wonderfully life-like, with the cover-art reminding me vaguely of Disney’s Toy Story. Our children commented that the pictures “look so real!” but that the inside ones “are a little dim” [we wish they were all as vibrant as the cover]. The pictures convey the text so that very young children can sit with this book and understand much of its message even if mom and dad are not nearby.
This Little Prayer of Mine is a book that will be re-read often at our home. While our 6 & 7 year-olds are perhaps at the upper-end of its influence, our 4 year-old sat at attention, pointing to pictures and adding his own color commentary. If you are a mother of a toddler or preschooler [ages 1-5] striving to live out God’s command in Deuteronomy, take a peek at Anthony DeStefano’s latest release. May it not only become a treasure to your children, but may your children grow to treasure its message: we can take anything to the Lord in prayer.
My sincere thanks to Anthony for inviting me to read and review this book. It was an honor!