Title: Hiding Places
Author: Kathleen Trock
Publisher: Pebbles and Stones
Publication Date: 2009
Audience: 4-10 years
Summary: Do you have a favorite hiding place? There are times, like games or surprise parties, when we hide for fun but not all hiding is for fun. In a storm we may hide under the bed. There are other ways to hide: playing like you’re sick when you’re afraid to take a test at school; turning up a video game to hide your parents’ angry voices; running to your father when you skin your knee. Everyone needs a hiding place. David, a shepherd long ago, said to God, “You are my hiding place, you will keep me safe from trouble.” (Ps. 32:7a) When David needed a hiding place he talked with God and God showed him where to hide and what to do. Eduardo did this when his friends asked him to do something wrong. When he knew that God was his hiding place he began to feel safe. When you want to hide, talk with God about it. God is there. Eight scripture verses on the final page, taken from The Message, emphasize the book’s theme.
Literary elements at work in the story: Hiding Places is equal parts photographs of children, children’s art, and text, with text being less than the other two. On the first page of the book there is a “mirror” that shows a dim reflection of the reader. It is one way Trock invites children into the book, into an experience with God. This can most aptly be called a devotional book for the only plot is children’s need and the answering presence of God. The protagonists are photographs of children much like the readers. The many fish, drawn by Eduardo, with one small fish swimming against the school depict effectively what it feels like to be alone and afraid. Trock has been the resource for programs of neighborhood prayer and Bible study groups for children around the world and she thanks these children for sharing their hiding places with those they trust.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? Not applicable.
Theological Conversation Partners: Who has not been afraid? Hiding Places addresses this universal condition from the viewpoint of children though adults can easily join in this conversation.
“Why are you afraid,” Jesus asks the disciples in the storm (Mt. 8:26) Though the answer seems obvious to us as the storm rages around them, naming our fears is the first step in facing them. Some fears are reasonable, some are exaggerated, some have no basis; but all can be taken to God. Hiding Places can help children talk about their fears. A repeated metaphor of the Psalms is that God is our refuge, our place of safety. (Ps 27, Ps. 46. There are 7 of these in the first verses of Ps. 18) Giving children words that will help them focus on God’s love for them as individuals as well as the world is a first step in hiding in God. A second is helping them to pray. Though the cry for help may be spontaneous, we need to learn to pray. The disciples, you will recall, asked Jesus to teach them. These metaphors help here, too, as do the scripture verses at the books end. Finding a hiding place in God, also means trusting those through whom God works. The child who is afraid of the dark and a child abused by an adult have different needs. This book, so simple in approach, demands careful listening.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Think of a time that you have been afraid. What caused the fear? Did you tell someone? What made you feel safe?
- What are some occasions when children in Hiding Places have been afraid? Are any of their fears like yours?
- In the book a hiding place is not always a place. What are some other ways to hide without hiding physically?
- Choose some words that name or describe God that can give you courage. Look at Psalm 18, 23, 27, or 46.
- Who helped Eduardo when he felt like a lonely fish? Who are people you can trust to encourage you?
- Choose a verse from the last page of the book that you can remember it when you are afraid.
- Are there some things that you should fear?
This book review is written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Virginia Thomas.
Hiding Places by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.