I love to read. In fact, it’s one of the things I love most in the world. Because of how much I love and value reading, I want very much for my daughters to become avid readers.
I also, more importantly, want them to become committed followers of Jesus.
As a youth worker, I want the same for the kids I have the privilege of ministering to.
Because of this desire, I’m always on the lookout for good quality children’s books that help kids encounter God in very real ways. These are harder to find than you might imagine. However, Matthew Paul Turner’s books consistently fit the bill. Matthew’s newest book, “When God Made the World” certainly does.
I loved When God Made the World for five reasons:
1) It’s diverse and whimsical illustrations. The main, illustrated character in When God Made the World is a person of color. What’s more, the illustrations foster wonder. You see something new each time you read it – which means that kids want to keep reading it.
2) The rhymes work. This might seem like a given but I’m amazed (and horrified) by how often the rhymes in children’s books simply don’t. When God Made the World is a pleasure to read because it has an oral rhythm and cadence that you can feel in your bones.
3) When God Made the World explores the creation story in a way that will grow with your child. My oldest daughter is 4.5 and she enjoyed reading this book. I expect she'll still enjoy reading it when she’s 8 because this book doesn’t simplify the story of creation; It expands it in beautiful ways.
4) When God Made the World emphasizes story. So often we try to reduce the Bible to principles… We even do this with the creation story with kids. Yet, in When God Made the World, Matthew embraces story – the story of creation, the story that God is writing, and the part we play in that story. In Matthew’s closing words, “’Cause when God made the world and the world started spinning, the story God wrote was just a beginning.”
5) Without ever saying anything about giving or stewardship, When God Made the World emphasizes creation care, encouraging kids to “Discover a star, a planet, or moon or help keep a forest from dying too soon. Save a whale, hug a tree, protect every bee. Recycle, repurpose, reject apathy.”
Without a doubt, When God Made the World will make a good edition to any child’s – or church’s – library.