October 16, 2018

Good News for Little Hearts: Books That Teach Children How to Turn to God in Difficult Situations

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We don't live in a world of absolute perfectness; there can be times in our lives when we come face to face with a range of different challenges and emotions. Perhaps it's fear, anxiousness, anger, or maybe even the possibility of failing to meet a desired goal. Being a mother, I want to do my best to protect my son from such issues, but unfortunately there may be times when he'll have to deal with them firsthand. The beauty is that God can show us, through His word, how to cope with the things we might face. All we have to do is be ready to accept what He has to say, and be steadfast in reading scripture to help guide us in the way we should go.

Just recently, we were introduced to a beautiful new children's picture book series called Good News for Little Hearts. This book collection not only touches up on real-life issues that children (and even some adults) may come up against, but it also directs them to what the Lord says about these things. Since these books were created for kids, each story is told using fictional animal characters that will appeal to younger ages. Children will be engaged as they read how each protagonist faces his or her challenges, and how they ultimately find a resolution that aligns with God's teachings.





Each book is meant to strike up meaningful conversations between parents and their children as they read about the difficulties the characters face in their own individual situation, and how they learn to live in faith and follow what God's word says. As the plot of each book progresses and the main character comes face to face with a unique challenge, Bible references, prayers, and scripture are introduced to show them what to do next. In turn, this teaches young children how to deal with their own emotions and what to do when all odds seem against them. The moral of each story is that there may be struggles that come our way, but we must learn the best way to approach them, and the key is to open our hearts to the Lord by giving Him our full trust and developing an ongoing relationship with Him.




There are also several additional features included, so not only are the stories fun and interesting to read, but they also serve as life lessons. In the back of every book there are special discussion starters based off of the topic from each story. This a two-page spread of notes that can help parents guide their own children and find meaningful and practical ways to talk with them about particular challenges and circumstances–just like the ones that each main character faces. My favorite inclusion is the last page of each book, which features something called Back Pocket Bible Verses. The main characters in each story all keep a special verse or note in their back pocket, which they retrieve when the time is right. These Back Pocket Bible Verses are meant to serve the same purpose. They can be torn out of the book (thanks to an included perforated line), and cut into four different verse cards, so children can keep them close by when they need a special word of encouragement from God. 






In Buster's Ears Trip Him Up, we meet Buster and his sister Ivy. Buster has always been the champion at his summer camp racing event, but now it has now gotten to his head a little too much. Soon he lets pride take over, and learns the hard way when an unfortunate incident sets him back. He begins to feel humiliated and can't face the rest of his friends. Ivy reminds him of a similar incident that she had previously encountered, where she let pride take over and how it backfired on her. Buster then reads a special note left by his Papa, which reminds him that God doesn't care about winning or losing, he loves us anyway and He always has. Buster than begins to learn the feeling of humility and the importance of not putting worldly goals over God's goals for our lives. 






 


 

In Jax's Tail Twitches, we follow a squirrel family as they get ready to gather all of their tree's acorns before winter. Each member of the squirrel family is faced with circumstances that irritate them. Jax is being antagonized by his brother, Papa doesn't appreciate neighbors that intrude on his property, and Mama burned her acorn crisp. The entire family is in a tizzy and they need a way to come down from all their hotheadedness. This story is nice, because it not only teaches children about the right way to deal with angry feelings and how we need to give these emotions to God, but it also touches up on sharing and giving to others.










In Zoe's Hiding Place, we follow a little mouse name Zoe who's a bit anxious and fearful about an upcoming field trip to the local art museum. Her fear stems from a previous visit to the museum that didn't turn out so well. All she wants to do is hide out in her purple quilt, because it always makes her feel safe. Her mother soon tells her about the fears that she once had when she was a young mouse and how her father shared a special verse in Psalm to remind her that God is a refuge and place of safety from trouble. Zoe decides to face her fears and brave the trip to the museum, where she actually encounters a similar circumstance from her last visit–only this time she is equipped with the word of God and is ready to defeat her feelings of fear and anxiousness. While we greatly enjoyed all of the stories in this series, this particular one was special, because it resonated with my family. If interested, you can read more about that in another post that I had recently wrote.

 



Every book in this series comes bound with a hardcover. There is also a dust jacket included for extra protection. The overall design of each book is quite consistent with the other. All three have similar layouts with fun patterns down the outer spine of the book, such as checkers, stripes, or polka dots. The illustrations throughout are fantastic! With the turn of each page, not only does the illustrator tell the story with his artwork, but he was also sure to incorporate all kinds of neat and interesting details in the background to really help give each story depth and life. In Jax's Tail Twitches, the artwork really encompasses the ambience of autumn with the leaves on the trees changing colors and falling to the ground. Cute details such as acorn wallpaper line the squirrel family's home, which is a little hint of just how important those acorns are to them. In Buster's Ears Trip Him Up, we enjoyed looking at the details of all the woodland creatures and how much fun they had partaking in the activities at summer camp. In Zoe's Hiding Place, we loved the little details of the mouse family's home. Some of these included a bottle cap/soda can tab nightstand, a pencil/hair comb bedpost, and a paper clip holding up a Christmas tree light bulb for an overhead light.

The entire Good News for Little Hearts series is a wonderful collection of children's books that touches up on real life situations and the best way to handle them as Christians. I am so blessed to not only have the opportunity to add these to our own home library, but to also let everyone else know about them. I definitely appreciate the way each story gets into real issues and circumstances that we may face, and how to personally come up against them with faith and grace. This is definitely a series that I hope will eventually expand to include additional stories.








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