I was pleasantly surprised when Deseret Book asked me if I would read and review a new children’s book. I have never reviewed a children’s book before, but was excited to try my hand at it. While my own children are now exiting their 30s, I recently was promoted off the High Council and into a Primary class, so feel adeptly qualified to give my impressions on all things related to very short people.
McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding give us a promising and thoughtful book, “Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families”. The artwork is done by Caitlin Connelly.
The book is designed with each left facing page sharing a key concept regarding the Family, often noting a concept related first to our Heavenly Family, and then how it applies to the earthly family. Under this explanation are a few questions to be asked to the family. On the right-facing page, is a quote from a Church leader, with an illustration. The wording and phrasing is made beyond the average small child’s vocabulary, encouraging a parent to read and discuss the book with the child.
As with the design on the front cover, the illustrations are simple, yet enhance what is being discussed on each page. I could envision asking a child what he/she thought about the illustration, and what it meant.My favorite illustrations show a mother walking along rough terrain, with one small boy on her back, and her hand behind her, clutching to a girl’s hand; and of a father failing at his attempt to teach his son how to use a Yoyo.
The first concept taught is “Families Are Divine.” I noted the clear terminology used to emphasize an important teaching: both Heavenly Father and Mother are specifically noted. I love the following phrasing, “Boys were created in Heavenly Father’s image, and girls were created in Heavenly Mother’s image.” This is an important step forward in helping both boys and girls to relate with their Heavenly parents and know they are literally created in their image.
The book offers several unexpected ideas and suggestions, as well. Under “Families Work and Play”, it recommends that families can find their own unique ways to have fun. Then it suggests we consider camping, opera and/or pillow fights! Quite an eclectic selection to recommend. While my family did enjoy camping and pillow fights, had I taken my children to an opera, I’m certain one of them (if not me) would have loudly pondered when the fat lady was going to sing….
As noted, each right-facing page includes a quote from a Church leader. Thankfully, the quotes are not just from our wonderful prophets and apostles, but the book also includes quotes from Carol F. McConkie, Carole M. Stephens and other thoughtful and faithful sister leaders. It is a great first step in preparing the next generation to listen as intently to the Women’s Session of General Conference as they should to Priesthood Session.
It is a wonderful book for families to read and discuss together. There is a nice balance for both boys and girls, so each child can feel his/her importance in the family of our Heavenly Parents and in their earthly families, as well.
You can purchase the book from Deseret Book here: https://deseretbook.com/p/our-heavenly-family-our-earthly-families?variant_id=135731-hardcover