Our latest favourite find…..TTMYHS

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love the “Jesus Storybook Bible”by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  At this year’s South Island I was gifted a Manna book voucher and to my delight found Sally’s latest book on their bookstand at the conference.  “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing”, is a beautifully illustrated book of devotions (and conversations) to share with your children.

Sally Lloyd-Jones shares her desire and intent for her books:

The Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB) tells the great story of the Bible–the magnificent story under all the other stories of the Bible–The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.  And at the centre of that story is the Rescuer.

My hope and prayer is that Thoughts That Make Your Heart Sing (TTMYHS) takes the child by the hand and gently introduces them to what Corrie ten Boom called, ” the Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him” (The Rescuer).  Faith.  What it looks like in everyday life.

 What inspired you to write Thoughts That Make Your Heart Sing ?

My niece was the inspiration.  She was 8 at the time.  And almost overnight, she went from being a vivacious little girl full of life to a quiet, hidden child.  Even her voice changed–into a very quiet voice you could hardly hear.

And we found out she was being bullied at school. I wished she had a book that she would want to have by her bedside, a book she would look forward to reading, a book no one would have to make her read–but that she would choose to read–a book that would tell her what God says about her instead of what these bullies were saying.

And so I wrote the book for her–and every child like her.

 How can parents best leverage this book?

I’d love parents to be free to just let the book be the child’s book–without attaching any shoulds or oughts to it. Perhaps the child will want to share it with the family. Let them lead in that.  That’s what I’d love to see.

Having said that, I think it’s great to read it together as a family and wonder aloud together about the questions it raises.  I wrote the book deliberately to inspire wonder and open up the child to questions–I didn’t write it to try and give all the answers. (I would encourage parents to let the wondering happen–and not feel they have to come in immediately with answers.  The best thing a book can do, I think, is engage the child and get them thinking… And you know the definition of a boring book?  One that does the work of the reader for them!

 What is the target age range of this book?

Initially the publisher had an age cap.  But I asked for them to remove it and instead say “6 and up”–because I had a hunch that grownups would like it too… and sure enough that’s what we’re hearing which makes me very happy… so it’s 6 to 106! : )

 C S Lewis said that a children’s book that can only be read by children isn’t a good children‘s book in the least.

So often especially for kids the gospel is “simplified” and in the simplification the power and the beauty of the gospel is lost.  How do you “distill” the Gospel so well?  

The Bible is a “grown up” book and by its very nature, if we are to reach children, we’re going to have to simplify it.  But in our effort to simplify the Bible for children, we often drill it down into a moral lesson. We have to be alert and vigilant against this.  The Bible isn’t a moral lesson – it’s above all a story.

The other thing we need to constantly remind ourselves of is this: being child-like isn’t being childish.  Being simple isn’t being simple-minded. Being simple is distilling down to the core truth and expressing it in words that the young can understand.  What children need from us are not silly voices.  What they need from us is to take them seriously.  And we show how seriously we take our audience by how much time we prepare.