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Just how are we supposed to answer such big questions from children when they are big questions with no visible, concrete answers even for us? That is especially difficult when you know a lot rides on that answer. One such question is about the existence of God? How do we know God is Really There? is a book by Melissa Cain Travis and illustrated by Christopher Voss and published by Apologia that might get you started with your little ones and maybe, even firm the debate dialogue in your own mind.

Father and son reading the book which is the cover pic of this book.The story is a simple plot that plays out in many bedrooms, kitchens, backyards, and yes, treehouses over and over. A mother and child or a father and child playing and learning together when a child suddenly asks that question that makes our mind jerk to a halt and releases the feelings of inadequacy and even a little fear as the questions of our own spill into our mind. What? How did we get here now? How can I possibly explain this to him when I can’t always put words to this myself? How do I tell her that I just know God exists because I see Him everywhere when He is invisible? Using wonderful illustrations that look drawn by a child and almost real enough to touch the crayon wax and words that fill your mind with awe and lead you through a rational discovery through the known ideas of science to the abstract thinking in a step by step path to the only conclusion that makes sense of a person who chose to create the world and has the power to do it. You end with a pretty powerful answer to that all-important question: How Do We Know God is Really There?

Father and son looking through a telescope at Saturn as they explore God's creation to discover Him as Creator.

The  book’s scientific content does seem a bit weighty for very young children, but it can be a good read-to-me book for five to eight year olds and a good read together book for up to about ten or eleven with some children. The concept though can be used in conversations beyond that age level. Many young children and some special needs children may not get all the deep content the first time, but they will get the gist that can be grown through repeated readings as they grow older. The analogy to to rewinding a video is a humorous way of toning down that weighty science material. if it isn’t enough, the idea might lead you to something even better that your child will understand, so don’t fear giving this book a chance.

Father and son discussing how they can know God is really there by exploring creation to know there is a Creator, God.

You can find this book on Apologia’s web site to get more information or to order. The price is $16.00 for a durable, glossy, full-color hardback copy. That is affordable, but is it worth it? Three parents that I asked to read the book felt it was a great way to handle this tough question. Two students I read it to, including one in ASL, got really big-eyed and curious and really loved the pictures. The book got even the four year old who happened to be listening, too, talking about how “God is so big and can do anything.” That delight was enough for me to make it a part of our library permanently.

I received a copy of the above product to facilitate the writing of a frank and honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed. All opinions are my own. Your results and opinions may vary.

Do you remember some of the stories you read as a young child? Do you remember the stories written ages ago when the world was a little purer in some ways? Salem Ridge Press founder, Daniel Mills, does despite his young age. He read many of those books while he was homeschooled growing up not so long ago. His parents saw the goodness in many of those books that are now out of print and very difficult to find. Now he works to republish many of those old books, so our children can learn from them and cherish them as well.
There was certain richness to those stories of old. They captured the essence of an age long gone. Values were taught in those stories that could make godly men and women of boys and girls. It is hard to find those kinds of things in many of the books written today. I received three of the books republished by Salem Ridge Press. One was an old favorite of mine back when I was about six or seven years old. It was called Mary Jane- Her Book which is such a simple title for a delightful book. I am nearly fifty years old, and while reading this book, the memories flashed in brilliant color. I could so easily recall many of the protagonist’s adventures because the story was so richly told as the child learned so many of life’s valuable lessons along the way. Many of the books I read today regardless of the good information or lessons they teach are forgotten within a few months. The rich detail is just not there.
I also remember the loving times of looking at those illustrations in the old books though they were just black and white line drawings and so few in any particular selection. It was very expensive to add illustrations back then and color printing was not yet available. Artists learned well to put clarity and emotion into those illustrations. One picture was full of life that I could use to dream about for hours.
Yes, I think the Salem Ridge Press founder is absolutely right. Many of those old books deserve to be republished during these times. His company has published more than eighteen books including the Emma Leslie Church History Series since its beginning in 2005 with many more to come. Mr. Mills uses Philippians 4:8 as the foundational philosophy behind his republishing company. He believes that what we read matters and is a major factor in the development of character. While choosing many titles which may or may not be explicitly Christian, his basis for choice of titles is “fitting the qualifications outlined in the Bible”.
In printing books written in the distant past, cultural values are not always presented as we wish. Man has made many mistakes throughout history and during such times man didn’t often see the err of his ways. Therefore, some books may present some issues such as slavery as a mere statement of fact or even in somewhat of a positive light. Parents can look at those titles individually and evaluate them as they choose. However, as Christ didn’t immediately condemn slavery during His time on earth and even told the slave to be content in his situation though we know that He did deplore the institution, I still feel the books deserve to be republished and should be used as ways to discuss the sins of man as a reality and as evidence of our need for the Savior.
Salem Ridge Press,, is doing a great mission in providing these books once again for the enjoyment of our future generations. Let us support this mission as this generation is in definite need of books that truly teach godliness.

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