51lyyzgnlyl._sx331_bo1204203200_You know what’s helpful? A book that aggregates resources, thoughtful writing, and spiritual support. Such a book should occupy the shelf of pastors, youth leaders, confirmation mentors, and other spiritual guides who work with children of all ages. If you have a hole in your own shelf for such a resource, I commend to you: When Kids Ask Hard Questions: Faith-Filled Responses for Tough Topics edited by Bromleigh McCleneghan and Karen Ware Jackson.

When Kids Ask Hard Questions covers sex, divorce, grief, race, suicide, doubt, violence, and forgiveness, among other topics. Each brief chapter contains a moving reflection or short essay. Then there are steps or guidelines for conversations around the topic. The closing offering is a list of additional recommended resources. So you receive a personal story, guided help, and a “what to next” all in a neat package.

It is hard for me to decide what to quote, since the variety of authors are diverse and their writing is piercing. I can’t even pick one essay to tell you to read first (Hazel Salazar-Davidson’s).

This is not a book that you hand to a child to read for themselves. This is by adults for adults. This book is intended to equip parents, teachers, and others in the relationship that comes through conversation, time, and trust. With this book in hand, the most uncertain life teacher has a cadre of supporters, encouragers, and helpers. The children in your life trust you to help them and to live their questions with them. They want honesty when you don’t know and it’s also okay to say, “I need a couple days to think about that. Let’s make a date to talk about it in two days.”

I received an advanced review copy of this book with nothing expected in exchange. I’m going to purchase two copies of it, one for my own shelf and one to give to someone I’m mentoring. It’s that kind of book.

The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Big Timber Lutheran Church (ELCA)  in Big Timber, MT. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com and readsallthethings.com. She contributed to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit and is President of the board of RevGalBlogPals, Inc.

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