Today's book review combines two of my favourite things:
Christmas and a children's picture book!
I have a long held love of children's literature. As a child, I wore out my parents' car driving back and forth to the Arts & Culture Centre Library. As an adult, I spent many years teaching music and creative arts to young children, and I loved poring over their books to help translate the stories into songs and art projects.
I was thrilled when I received the opportunity to review Beneath That Star,
written by Sally Meadows and illustrated by Sarah E. Nickel.
In full disclosure, I have to confess that Sally is a good friend of mine. I offered to review her book because I believe in her talents. That said, I wouldn't have made the offer if I didn't feel I could offer an honest review!
Beneath That Star has an interesting origin story. When the idea first came to Sally, she wrote it into a song, which she recorded on her Christmas album. Sally shares, "It was when I was in the studio recording my Christmas CD, Red & White, when the idea of expanding on the song’s story through a children’s picture book came to me."
I love this idea! In song form, the story can reach the adults who bought the CD, but in book form, we have the chance to inspire young readers with a new Christmas tale.
The heroine of our tale is Saray - a young girl living in Biblical times with her loving family. Saray has big dreams, but her family sees only her limitations. A tragic accident has left her dependent on a cane, and as a girl, her path in life is firmly set.
But Saray loves God and seeks his presence in her life. One night, she hears a strange voice calling to her. Was is God or a dream? Then, she sees a star in the sky and dares to follow it. What happens next changes her life forever.
Sally's attention to detail paints a engaging portrait of what happens when the divine enters the everyday. Sarah's beautiful illustrations highlight the story, and would easily allow even the non-reading child to follow along.
There are two added bonuses at the end of the book. One is a set of questions, designed to spark conversation and allow you apply the themes of the book to real life. The second is a Sally's behind-the-scenes account of creating Saray and Beneath That Star. (The keen reader will also notice that she includes the inspiration behind our Infinitely More name!)
Beneath That Star is an uplifting and inspiring story for any child (or adult) who has felt invisible to God. I hope you'll consider sharing it with a child you love this Christmas!
To learn more about Sally Meadows' books and music, please visit www.SallyMeadows.com