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The Suitcase: A Story About Giving Paperback – March 1, 2017
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Thomas, the stories protagonist, has many of the hallmarks of a boy with autism: he enjoys spinning and lining up toys and a favorite quiet spot and talking at length about subjects he loves. I was immediately fond of Thomas, as he reminds me so much of many of the persons I love.
I love two things especially about this story:
1.) The parables about the Kingdom of God are represented in terms of the concrete thinking that is recognizable and accessible to people on the autism spectrum.
2.)Thomas is thoughtful about his faith and takes it seriously enough to fill a suitcase with items he'll need to enter the Kingdom of God.
It's rare to find a resource, much less a beautifully illustrated children's book, that shows concrete thinking as a gift. It's even rarer to find autistic children shown to be gifted with insights about faith.
I plan to use this book to supplement discussions with my children about the meaning of Jesus' parables of the Kingdom of God. We will probably also read the book in our church's children's groups.
I like that Thomas' family is multi-ethnic, and the group scene at the end of the book includes a diverse group of adults and children. It's good for children to recognize themselves in books, especially when the children are concrete thinkers.
Families will enjoy finding references to each of the parables in Thomas' suitcase. My favorite was the mustard seed. The seed is small, but Thomas went to great lengths to find it. The artwork, lovely throughout, is especially poignant here in conveying the earnest faith of a young boy who takes God at his word. (See photo excerpted from the book.)
I received a reading copy of The Suitcase in exchange for an honest review. It makes an excellent Easter/Pascha gift for the children in your life.
It seems to me that Thomas is the kind of boy that, once you get to know him, you imagine a complex system of gears turning inside his head. You realize there is a lot more going on in there than one might guess from the outside, a rich inner world that you only see glimpses of. One Sunday before dinner, one of those revealing moments takes place. Thomas has been listening, and those gears have been turning. He has been making a packing list for a special journey, and he finally has it all planned out. But as he shows his family the contents of his suitcase, what he has packed are not the typical items a boy might pack for a journey, nor are his reasons predictable. Thomas has a pure heart and determination, and he has something to give. His simple faith and willingness to act on it motivate his family to set aside their own dinner to help serve dinner to others in need.
Children young and old will enjoy the gentle text and illustrations of this story, over and over again. There is also a "Resource for Grown-Ups" page with inspiring tips to encourage a child's desire to love and serve others. Your heartstrings can't help but be tugged! The Suitcase reminds us that every child, no matter the age or ability, is capable of experiencing grace and is welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Disclaimer: I received a reading copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
The Suitcase is a fascinating and unique story, that makes the reader want to read more, immediately!Read more