A Child’s View of Heaven

Thus marks the return of the book reviewing blogs. We try not to do it too often for our faithful readers :), but I was approached about some fun books and ideas lately, so here goes one of them. This week is Children’s Book Extravaganza. I received three kids’ books in the mail. Now, I don’t have kids, and I haven’t read kids’ books in many years, but I do have fond memories of many books from my children. Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, The Cat in the Hat, The Hungry Caterpillar, etc etc. I think the key to a good children’s book really lies in the illustrations as much as the words. When you can’t read, it’s all about the pictures, right? Maybe even when you can read…

So my favorite book of the three is called “God Gave Us Heaven,” by Lisa Tawn Bergren. It’s about a little polar bear cub and his father talking about what heaven will be like. Maybe I liked it so much because several months ago, my cousin lost her husband to lung failure and is now in the process of raising their three year old son by herself. And I wonder how in the world you even start to talk about something as abstract and mind blowing as heaven and eternal life. How do you tell you child where his father has gone, in a way that would make any sense at all? Even as an adult I only have vague ideas and concepts about it. I remember when I was little, imagining heaven as a gigantic slab of rock floating in space. It was dark all around, except for the stars. And there were people just milling around, some dangling their feet over the edge. And in the middle of the rock slab was a big building that you could go in to play Nintendo. Quite a view, hm? My new favorite description of heaven is found in C.S. Lewis’s final Narnia book, “The Last Battle.” I cry every time I get to the end because it’s so beautiful. Here’s Lewis’s description of heaven:

"Perhaps you will get some idea of it if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among the mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the glass there may have been a looking glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different — deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked like it meant more. I can't describe it any better than that: if you ever get there you will know what I mean. It was the unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried: "I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia so much is because it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!"(ch. 15)

Anyway, back to the book review, it’s at least a good start in the right direction. And really, relevant for both adults and kids. The other two books are both by Dandi Daley Mackall, entitled “God Loves Me More Than That” and “When God Created My Toes.” They’re both kind of goofy rhyme books about the love that God has for us, on a level that’s probably pretty accessible to kids.