As a pastor, I read for a living. It may come as a surprise that I’m not a naturally avid reader. I’ve always been slow and easily bored as a reader. But as a dad, I like reading to my daughter. Her books are poetic and inspiring. They are simple but profound. One of my new favorites is Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers. There are many good children’s books about the universal nature of children, how across all cultures, children learn and are loved. This, alone, should be enough to end all war.
Each page pair is dedicated to something babies do “every day, everywhere…” Each baby does it his/her own way, which is really neat. I really like being a dad. But while Meyer certainly celebrates babies, she doesn’t romanticize too much: “they cry and they squeal”. The words are very lyrical and dance as easily as any Dr. Seuss. The pictures tell the rest of the story.
I love the illustrations, by Marla Frazee. Children’s literature is a treasure trove of fantastic art. Frazee’s illustrations remind me of Norman Rockwell, with amazingly perceptive detail. The babies are chubby and floppy; their limbs are the right proportion. They are messy with cool clothes and lots of equipment. The grandparents look old but firm and the parents look tired. There’s even a subtle nod to families without children. My favorite drawing accompanies the page “Every day, everywhere children are walking…” The page mimics the Evolution of Man with a baby taking her first stumbling steps, with a victorious cheer at the last ‘stage’.
So, read all the theology, church development, worship ideas, biblical studies material you can get your holy little paws on. And read children’s books.