A great way for children to make new friends is at Barnes and Noble “storytime” in Bellingham, WA, where a different book is read to children every Saturday morning, 11:00 am. For more information and directions: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3037682-45
If you don’t have time for that consider Noel Pipers book on childhood friendship, review below:
Do You Want a Friend,by Noel Piper, Illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker, Crossway Books, 2009, 32 Pages, Ages 4-8, ISBN-13:978-1433506215, $12.99
After the moving truck pulls away, the little boy sits on the porch with his dog and wonders where he will find new friends. With the turn of a page, he discovers there are lots of would-be friends in the neighborhood, across the street, around the corner, down the street and beyond.
In addition to colorful two page spreads that illustrate children and families playing, praying and sharing meals, the story asks what kind of friend the reader would like to find. A friend who loves you, comforts you? Helps you be strong, a friend to hang out with, who knows God? A friend who prays? Friends who forgive you when you act wrong and help you do better next time?
Questions are answered on opposing pages with Scripture references. For example, for the question, “Do you want a friend who helps you be strong?” The well-known scripture from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him [Jesus, the Lord] who strengthens me” is the response.
The storybook features different ages, genders and ethnicities. From children with different colored hair and skin, to those with glasses and those without, a disabled child, even babies join in the fun. Piper ends with why Jesus Christ is the one true Friend who can be all things all the time because “there is no friend like Jesus.” He is perfect.
Gail Schoonmaker’s delightful caricatures complement Noel Piper’s story, with illustrations of Jesus talking with children, washing His disciple’s feet, healing the sick and his death on the cross.
The question arises about why Jesus can love us when we sometimes aren’t good is answered with John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friend.” Because “Jesus died for sinners…then rose from the dead” to give us eternal life.
The last page includes the sheet music and words to John Newton’s hymn, “One there is, Above all others.”
Noel Piper, wife of Pastor John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, children’s book on friendship is exceptional, appealing and age appropriate for youngsters. Her brief explanations give just the right amount of information for the age group. The book would make an excellent gift for children, church, home or library.
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