Friday, September 10, 2021

A Treasure from a Tender Warrior

Picture Book: When I Hold You

Author: Ashley Huffstutler

Illustrator: Airin O’Callaghan

Summary: This treasure of a book is authored by a young mother who, with tenderness and faith, is battling cancer. She has written it for her young children. It would be a wonderful resource for someone ministering to young children or their families. Here is the article which inspired my purchase: on-line article

This book’s structure is quite unique. Each double page spread has a beautiful image of a mother and young child. There are 2 pieces of text: 

One is the author’s description of a moment of faithful mothering. The other is a scripture in a different font floating above or below.

Unfortunately, the scriptures are hard to see. I especially appreciate the illustrator's use of diverse images of mothers and children and how natural settings give rich context.

Hanna’s Comments: I once heard in an interview, beloved priest Richard Rohr  list 3 crucial ideas to explain Jesus to children.

    1. You are not alone.

    2. There is someone protecting you.

    3. There is someone you can call upon.

I believe these same 3 ideas would apply to the other 2 members of The Trinity.

Upon reading this book, I decided to give it to a much-beloved young mother. She and her husband are progressive Christians who will appreciate the absence of limited interpretations of the scriptures. But this book would be a treasure for any Christian family. 

If your church gives gifts to young parents when a child is born or welcomed into a congregation, this book would be an excellent choice. Another excellent choice, if your church practices infant baptism, is this other PBT book: Welcome, Child of God

Original Publisher & Date: B & H Kids, 2021

Age Appropriateness: Infant & up

Formats other than Book: None at present

Scripture Connections: Look for these 12 scriptures:

Job 33:4        Philippians 4:5    Psalm 73:28    Psalm 63:3

John 1:16        Psalm 4:8            Psalm 56:8        Psalm 95:1

Psalm 147:4    Psalm 91:4        John 8:12        Isaiah 41:13

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: I listed this book in my Trinity Treasures preschool curriculum for a summer lesson during Year B (Psalm 34:1-8.) The theme for that lesson is God Hears Cries. It could be read in a nursery or preschool to convey God's comfort and unconditional love, like the love shown by these mothers.

PBT Applications: I would not read this book to children beyond age 3. However, the images and scriptures can be very inspiring for ministry to older groups. Pick a scripture, consider how it applies to your audience, and plan from there. God’s presence offers motherly comfort to all of us, no matter our age!

If you are interested in learning about Trinity Treasures, a scripture-based preschool Sunday school curriculum that features picture books & children’s Bibles, contact me at Right now, free lessons are emailed if you fill out the monthly feedback form.

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