"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
September 11, 2013
Simple Truths in Books for Kids
by Laurie Williams Sowby

Baptism and confirmation are major milestones in the lives of children as well as their families and require careful teaching. And teaching children about keeping covenants and adhering to gospel standards after those events takes consistent effort. Here are a few selected books on my “recommended” list to help almost-8-year-olds (and others) understand these important concepts.

Author Michele Leigh Carnesecca and illustrator Carol Shelley Xanthos have teamed up in two excellent hardcover companion volumes from Deseret Book, What Are the Promises I Make at Baptism? (2011, $17.99) and How Does the Holy Ghost Make Me Feel? (2010, $18.99). Each book offers an introduction providing background for adults on the ordinances.

Baptism keeps it simple for children by explaining what “covenant” means, then briefly listing “promises I make to Heavenly Father” and “promises He makes to me.” Each promise receives some elaboration and lists scriptural references. The author does a good job of incorporating the principles of Atonement, repentance, and forgiveness along with the baptismal ordinance.

How Does the Holy Ghost Make Me Feel? is a book a newly baptized person of any age could benefit from. The examples are of experiences and feelings children can certainly relate to, but adults can as well. In both volumes, nicely rendered pastel illustrations offer more to talk about together. Each is about 45 slick pages that will stand up to many readings.

Another good selection just out is The Holy Ghost is Like a Blanket, written by Annalisa Hall and illustrated by Corey Egbert (Cedar Fort 2013, 36 pages, $14.99 in hard cover). Bright illustrations accompany the text, which can be appreciated on varying levels of maturity as the Holy Ghost is likened to things familiar to a child’s world.

For instance: “The Holy Ghost is like a rose. A rose is beautiful, but the thorns prick if you hold it wrong. The little prick from the Holy Ghost reminds you to do the right thing. He pricks your heart to know to say ‘I’m sorry’ and to forgive others. The beauty of the Holy Ghost heals pain and sorrow.”

Following “The End” are two pages highlighting scriptures and Primary songs that match each metaphor.

Brand new is Wendy Watson Nelson’s The Not Even Once Club (Deseret Book 2013, 32 pages, $18.99). Bestselling illustrator Brandon Dorman has created delightful characters and detailed scenes illustrating the very short story of a boy named Tyler whose friends in a well-supplied tree house support each other in making good choices. They have made a pact with each other never to (fill in the blank) — not even once.

The author, a professor of marriage and family therapy for 25 years before marrying Elder Russell M. Nelson, has provided a guide for parents and children following the story to help teach concepts such as modesty, chastity, obedience to the Word of Wisdom, repentance, and avoiding pornography.

Discussion questions for ages 3-7 and older children have been developed by Jill Manning, Ph.D., author of What’s the Big Deal About Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation (Shadow Mountain, 2008). The Not Even Once Club is an engaging book that should prompt valuable parent-child discussions.

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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