Author: Marcus Hummon
Illustrators: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers
Audience: Preschool-early elementary children
Summary: This book takes place during the evening ritual of a father and son saying prayers together. This particular evening the son does not want to say the laundry list of prayers he always recites but rather begins to ask his father questions regarding prayer, like “Does Grandma Anne hear my prayers in heaven?,” “Should I pray for people in jail?,” “God bless the homeless, and I hope they all get their own beds to pray in.” He wants to pray for all the creatures that “inhabit” the earth, because he does not want to leave one creature, even the tadpoles, out. The last question the little boy asks his father is whether there is a limit to the amount of prayers he can say. This book is a wonderful reminder of how we are called to have a child like faith, to see the beauty in things, question the things that do not make sense and are unfair, and that talking to God is meant to be simple and from your heart.
This book is about a critical conversation a little boy is having with his father and it is a wonderful opening to have a critical conversation with children. If this was used in a Sunday school class (probably 2nd to 4th grade) the teacher could read the book, the children could compile all of the little boy’s questions and then create their own. This book would be the catalyst for critical discussing prayer.
Literary elements at work in the story: This book employs dialogue, which draws the reader into the conversation making the reader feel a part of the story unfolding. Because there is a critical conversation going on it is a perfect medium for critically discussing prayer.
Perspective on gender/ race/ culture/ economic/ ability: While this book is about one boy and his father, the pictures illustrate multiple races and genders. The boy asks and talks about the homeless, those in jail, and children who speak different languages and their understanding of God, shedding light on different cultures and economic situations.
Scripture: This would be a wonderful book to use with children on the national day of prayer.
- Praying is talking to God; it does not have to be perfectly worded or beautiful sounding. Praying is simply telling God what is on your heart and mind, praying for those in need, and waiting for direction from God.
- You can pray anytime and anywhere. There is no limit to prayer (pray without ceasing).
Faith Talk Questions:
1. Who prays before they go to bed? Do you pray before your meals?
2. What do you like to pray about? Who do you pray for?
3. What are you doing when pray?
4. Where can you pray? When can you pray?
Review prepared by Ashley Cheeck, MDiv/MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2007