Two New Children’s Books that Teach Important Truths
Reviewed by Catherine K. Arveseth

Easter Walk

This new picture book written by Deborah Pace Rowley and illustrated by Dan Burr, is about a brother and sister who join their Grandfather on a treasure hunt for the real meaning of Easter.

Using clues from the scriptures, Tyler and Amy find objects that symbolize specific moments in the Easter story. A prickly branch to remind them of the Savior’s crown of thorns, a wooden bird house to symbolize the cross He carried, a wilted leaf to represent His death.

Each token makes the scriptures more familiar while teaching the valuable truths of Easter. This beautiful book affirms the real reason we celebrate.

Burr’s illustrations are brightly colored, life-like and touching. My girls showed special interest in the pictures of Jesus. Although young, they asked lots of questions about His suffering. How He suffered. And why.

Rowley makes the Atonement accessible with her straightforward writing and tender story line. Because the book is about symbols, each meaning is layered, allowing children of all ages to learn at their level about the Savior’s Atonement.

Gently folded into the story is also the truth of eternal families. Tyler’s Grandpa takes him on his first Easter walk the year Tyler and Amy lose their mother. A few years later the Easter walk has become a special tradition Tyler loves. It is a chance for his family to remember the gift of Christ’s resurrection as well as their Mother. Together they joy at the prospect of seeing her again.

“Tyler, why did you choose a red tulip?” Grandpa asked.

Tyler knew just what he wanted to say. “Because these are my mom’s tulips, and I know that she is alive. She is alive because of Jesus and his atonement and resurrection. And I know we will see her again.”

Tyler brought the tulip to his cheek and pressed the blossom to his face…He felt peaceful and good inside, close to his mom and close to the Savior.

The miracle of Easter had happened again.

While reading the last few pages to my girls I swallowed hard to get the words out. Rowley’s story is very touching. It would make a thoughtful and meaningful gift for any child or family.

I am now inspired to take an Easter Walk with my own children this Spring. Easter Walk is a book we will read every year to remind us of the true and glorious meaning of Easter.

How Does the Holy Ghost Make Me Feel?

I must say, I loved this  book! It is written by Michele Leigh Carnesecca and illustrated by Carol Shelley Xanthos. Since becoming a mother I have felt one of the most important things I need to teach my children is how to recognize the Holy Ghost. What could be more important than knowing what the Spirit feels like and when God is whispering to them? This book of simple text and full-color illustrations does just that.

It helps children understand the fruits of the Spirit as detailed in Galatians – those feelings of happiness, love for others, peace, and gratitude. It helps children identify when the Holy Ghost is warning them or confirming that they have made a right decision. It explains where good ideas and inspired thoughts come from and that the Holy Ghost can help us understand difficult things. Here are a few examples.

The Holy Ghost gives me BIG feelings of happiness inside.
Doctrine and Covenants 11:13; Acts 13:52

The Holy Ghost comforts me when I am sad, just as my family does when I have a hard day.
Alma 17:10; John 14:27

The Holy Ghost helps me know when I have done something wrong. I want to repent and tell Heavenly Father and those I have hurt that I am sorry. I want to make things right with them.
Alma 5:51

The Holy Ghost helps me know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
3 Nephi 28:11; Doctrine and Covenants 42:17

The Holy Ghost can protect me from danger by giving me a warning feeling when I shouldn’t go somewhere or do something that would be bad for me. Sometimes, I even hear a voice telling me what to do.
2 Nephi 5:5-6; 1 Nephi 11:1-11; 1 Nephi 4:6

I read this book with my girls for the second time tonight. Part way through, my four-year-old said to me, “Mom! I have a warm feeling around my heart right now.” She noticed right then that she was feeling the Holy Ghost. Earlier in the week (after we had read the book for the first time), she told me she wanted to become a doctor so she could help people feel better. A few seconds later she said, “Hey Mom! Maybe the Holy Ghost gave me that thought!” Maybe he did.

This is a book I will return to again and again with my children. The doctrine is clear and backed up with verses of scripture on each page. Every illustration tells a small story, lending itself to further discussion about the truth depicted.

A book like this one has been long in coming. Children of all ages will understand its message. It would make a wonderful teaching aid for Primary lessons or Family Home Evening, as well as the perfect Baptism gift.

How Does the Holy Ghost Make Me Feel? is a must-have for every child’s bookshelf.

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