Name of Book: Where Does God Live?
Author: August Gold
Illustrator: Matthew J. Perlman
Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing (August 2001)
Audience: Ages 3 – 6 years
Summary: In this picture book for young children a child ask the parents where God lives and the parents respond by telling the child the multitude of places that God lives and how the child sees and feels God all day every day.
Literary elements at work in the story: The genre of this book is a very realistic one, as it portrays a conversation between a child and her parents when the child asks where God lives. It is also realistic in that it deals with the child’s struggle to comprehend something as immense as God, and where God can be found, and the role of the parents in helping her understand. The book is told from the point of view of the parents as they attempt to show their daughter where God can be found. The setting is the present day. Also, due to the multitude and variety of photographs used, children of all walks of life in a multitude of settings can relate. Since this book is geared to 3-6 year olds the characters are very simple – mother, father and child – and are presented in a simple fashion that mimics conversations that young readers probably have with their own family members. The plot, simple though it is, is about parents helping their child understand their relationship to God more fully. The theme of understanding more about God, is summed up in the title of the book. The combination of the words and the beautiful photographs help the reader “feel” the things that are described in the book.
(How) does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The book uses a wide range of photographs to tell the story. In these photographs children will find other children, places and things that resemble the child and where they live, but they will also be introduced to other children and settings that look very different. Through these pictures children can learn that God is in all people and places and not just people that look and dress or live in similar places as they do.
Theological conversation partners: In reading this book to the children of my church I am reminded of two passages of scripture from the Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 19:14-15 and Matthew 28:20. I think both of these passages are very well represented in the book, and I have used both when I have used this book in preschool lessons. First, by the parents’ loving response to the child they reaffirm for the reader that they are not only welcomed by God, but encouraged to ask questions of and about God. Secondly, by illustrating for the child all the places that God lives, the parents have reinforced our belief that God is with us in all places, times and circumstances forever. One caution I would give to adults sharing this book with children is to emphasize the fact that, while God is present in all facets of our lives, God is still ONE God. The young children who will enjoy this book are very concrete thinkers, and can easily form the idea that God is many and not one. Adults need to keep this in mind as they read and discuss it with small children.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Where do you think God lives? (Ask this question before reading the book.)
- Now that you have read the book, do you have other ideas of where God might live?
- Which picture of one of God’s homes do you like best? Why?
- How does it make you feel knowing God is so close to you?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Shasta Bode-Brown.