Friday, March 17, 2017

Mother Love, God Love

Last Friday, I posted a tribute to author Amy Krouse Rosenthal after reading that she had a terminal illness. Sadly, AKR died on Monday. [Here’s] an obituary that gives you the breadth of her great work. Below is a post about her most recent publication. I've heard more original will be published posthumously. I’m glad and very thankful for her life and her work.

Picture Book: That’s Me Loving You
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Teagan White 
Summary: Each page of this gorgeous book explains how a particular child might find additional meaning in particular experiences of nature. A shimmering star is "me winking at you."
A drifting cloud is "me thinking of you."
The ocean is "me waving at you."
And even a clap of thunder is "me raving about you."
Even insect encounters are given new meaning. A persistent mosquito is "me bugging you"
and a butterfly, "that's me hugging you."
All these nature experiences are moments of transcendence and love in the presence 
and absence of a loved one who is missed.
Hanna’s Comments: Check out AKR's 1.5 minute short film [Today is a Gift]. Similar sentiments undergird this book. Knowing the plight of AKR, her words here have bittersweet meaning. She dedicates the book to her 3 children and others who are obviously close to her. Mother love has been featured as a sort of parallel to God's love in other PBT books such as the ever-present love found in The Runaway Bunny and the unconditional love found in I Love You Stinky, Face. The kind of love that is expressed in today's PBT book can also be a parallel to God’s unfathomable love and ever-presence. In the United Methodist Church, we hear about prevenient grace, a wooing sort of love that is holy and wonderfully prevenient (anticipatory and constant). Like the mother's love in this book, it is found in God’s generous creation. Find more PBT books that connect to prevenient grace [here]. Children are not too young to hear such an usual word. With their magical thinking, they get that love can transcend time and place. They can find comfort in knowing that God’s presence (and that of an absent parent) can be found in creation in all sorts of ways through acts of contemplation and simply through beauty. Thanks be to God!
Original Publisher & Date: Random House, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: My presence will go with you (Exodus 33:14); In your presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11); Where can I go from your Spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence? … (Psalm 139:7); I (Jesus) am with you always (Matthew 28:20)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are learning about how God’s loving presence is with us and can be particularly meaningful when experiencing God’s creation.