Title: Welcome, Child of God
Author: Anne Ylvisaker
Illustrator: Claudia McGehee
Publication Date: 2011
Audience: Two and up, for family reading
Summary: Pictures of water in nature, the church gathered around a baptismal font, and families engaged in various activities all proclaim God’s welcome and care for the young child. The poem is printed on the back with the hymn tune Ar hyd y nos (Welsh Melody) so it can be sung as well as read.
Literary elements at work in the story: As this is first of all a book for a pre-literate child, the pictures are more important than the words. In this board book the colors are bright, the lines strong, the pages full and busy. There are details that a child will discover and recall through several readings. The book is suggested as a baptismal gift for the infant being baptized but it will have value for siblings and for other children of the church. This is part of Augburg’s Washed and Welcomed resource for baptism preparation.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The pictures (rather stylized) include people of various races, several family groupings, varied ages.
Theological Conversation Partners: Probably nothing proclaims “Salvation by grace alone” quite as clearly as the baptism of an infant. And probably no sacrament can be so easily forgotten or ignored as the years go by. Welcome, Child of God is a book that can interpret and remind parents, siblings, and a child of this life changing event in the months that follow. The emphasis here is on the welcome or adoption or engrafting into the Body of Christ. Other meanings will be learned as the child is nurtured in Christ. (And parents need this as much as the child.) God’s good creation, water, provides the sign for welcoming the child. After baptism the child’s new family guides and protects him/her. In difficulties and joys, the child is a member of God’s family . The book could be appropriately given to the sibling of a baptized child jointly with the child baptized. (There’s a place in the book for the name of the baptized child.) The book should certainly be in preschool and early elementary classes.
Faith Talk Questions:
While a growing infant can look at and handle this book, initial experiences will be to help the child “see”-what God has made, people around the font of water, the minister, people who love us, etc. The following questions may help pre-schoolers explore the book or as preparation for being present at the baptism of an infant or young child.
- What is baptism?
- What do we use as a sign in baptism?
- Who gave us water?
- Who takes part in baptism when a baby is baptized?
- What are some promises God makes?
- What are some promises that we make?
- How do we tend and guide a newly baptized child? For how long?
- Can you find any picture in the book where God is not caring for the new member of God’s family, the church?
This review is written by regular contributor and alumna Virginia Thomas.
Welcome, Child of God by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.