Inside: Joanna, homeschooling mom of four and coordinator for her local Classical Conversations co-op, shares two no-prep questions you can use to help kids find God in any book. These questions can help kids remember God is at work all around them and spark kid-led discussions about faith.
Much like their mom, my kids love books. They love to be read to, they love to sit and look at books by themselves, the older ones like to read to the younger ones, and I’d be lying if I said they don’t often use a stack of books as a makeshift step-stool. These kids are creative and resourceful!
And also like their mom, more often than not, they read for the sake of reading. They read to kill time. They read to relax. They read to escape into worlds of dragons, flying treehouses, talking trains, and sharks that sing.
Two Questions to Help Kids Find God in Any Book
We rarely read a book and then delve into a conversation on a deeper meaning behind it. So when I read Perfect Square to my four- and six-year-old boys and then asked them two simple questions, their insights really impressed me. I didn’t ask probing or leading questions, just:
- What did you like about this book?
- Did you see God in this book?
I love the way these open-ended questions encouraged them to form their own connections to God. Plus, the conversation gave me a chance to remind them I value their insights.
These discussion starters aren’t just for picture books. You can use them with older kids reading chapter books and novels, too. So even if I can’t keep up with my 9-year-old’s voracious reading pace (which I can’t), I can still hear her reflections.
Picture Book: Perfect Square
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In case you are not familiar with this fun book, let me give you a quick summary. In the story, a square is cut and torn in all kinds of ways. Each time, it finds a way to be happy by making itself into lovely spaces and places: a fountain, a bridge, a mountain, and so on. The end brings the message of creative resilience full circle. (But I won’t spoil it.)
Kids Find God in the Book: Perfect Square
First, here are my four-year-old’s thoughts:
What did you like about this book?
“My favorite picture was the one with the purple mountain because I just liked it! (No surprise here: purple is his absolute favorite color.) But Mom, I also liked when the story said that the fountain clapped, and I didn’t think fountains could clap because they don’t have hands!”
Did you see God in this book?
“I think that this story reminds me that sometimes animals know better than people do that God made them. Sometimes people forget God made them. Sometimes people forget that God loves us and knows best of all what we want to be. I want to be a train, but God made me a boy and not a train because if we were all trains, then there would only be trains in the world. But God wanted more than just trains. Trains can’t go off the track or swim or talk or walk, but God made it so that we can talk so that we can tell people nice things, like to obey your parents and to love our Maker because He loves us. He cares about the whole world.”
Next, here’s what my six-year-old had to say:
What did you like about this book?
“I think it’s neat that there is a window that saw everything the square turned into.”
How did you see God in this book?
“We could turn into anything, but it might be good or bad or in the middle. If we choose good, then it will be right because God created good for us. We have a choice about what we do and who we turn into, but sometimes God makes that decision for us. When He makes that decision, it’s always good, even if it wasn’t what we wanted in the first place. But we should be thankful for what He does, because our Father made it and decided it and designed it, and He knows everything.”
I admit that I am not the best at turning books into life lessons. Because it isn’t a practiced art around here, I found it simply beautiful that my sons had no trouble pointing this book back to the Lord. Both understand in their hearts two crucial aspects of God: He is good, and He knows what is best for us. At the crux of our faith is choosing to believe those two things about Him.
There are so many ways to notice God around us each day as we work, play, rest, and read. Perhaps you’ll see God in an act of kindness or sacrifice, the beauty of nature, a changed life, a miracle, forgiveness, or a second chance–either in real life or in the pages of your next book.
But don’t worry if you ask these questions, and your kids (or you) can’t think of any connections to God right away! The mere act of asking, “Where did you see God in this book?” reminds us of God’s constant presence and helps us become more open to His love and leading.
Remember, friend. Sometimes God uses His word to reveal those things to us. Other times, He uses teachers or studies. And still other times, He uses a simple book and the faith of children to remind us: He is good, and He knows what is best.
LEAVE A COMMENT
What have you learned from your kids lately? When have you found God in a book or been surprised by Him in an everyday moment? I’d love to hear, so please leave a comment below.
More in this series
- Perfect Square: Picture Books Aren’t Just for Little Kids (Post 3)
- Siblings Share Inspiration: Perfect Square Picture Book (Post 2)
- Lessons from Kids on the Perfect Square Picture Book (Post 1)
Do you love no-prep ways to lead your family to deeper faith and persistent joy? Grab our free Inspire Gratitude Journal for Kids!