Tag: laura wifler (page 1 of 1)

Like Me

It is 6:04 a.m. I am sitting at our kitchen table, fortifying myself with green tea as I prepare to write this post, surrounded by a stack of picture books, each waiting their turn to be reviewed. And yet: Like Me is conspicuously absent from that pile, because my daughter drifted downstairs a few minutes ago, sleepily proclaimed her love for that book, swiped it, and then drifted back upstairs to read Like Me in bed.

And that is the highest praise I can offer a book. Like Me is so beloved in our household that it’s taken me months to review it, because I keep having to fish it out of people’s bedsheets and backpacks and bookshelves. It is one thing for me, The Mom, to publish a 600-word review of a picture book to the internet. It is another entirely for a child to voluntarily spend her early morning curled up in bed reading it.

I think I know which one makes an author’s heart feel warmest and fuzziest.

Like Me, by Laura Wifler | Little Book, Big Story

But I get it: I get why my daughter chose this book out of the whole pile. Laura Wifler’s Like Me is a delightful invitation into the life of one family for one day, narrated by a boy whose youngest brother has disabilities. It is an ordinary day for his family—a day that will likely feel wonderfully recognizable to readers who have or live with someone who has disabilities. For those of us who aren’t currently sharing our daily lives with a loved one who has special needs, Like Me serves as a crystal-clear window into what can be like to have, or to love someone who has, disabilities.

And that is its strength: rather than introducing readers to ideas about disabilities (what they are, for example, or how to best love those who have them), Like Me offers us a story in which we see these big ideas lived out. Wifler tells this story in a way that feels honest and balanced, recognizing the challenges this family faces and dignifying them by revealing the parts of them that are shared. For example, the narrator loses his patience with his brother, a moment that highlights the frustrations one might feel when interacting with someone who sees the world so differently, even as it touches on a universal moment every reader can connect with (haven’t we all lost patience with someone we love?). Yet Wifler also emphasizes the narrator’s particular love for and enjoyment of his brother. And his affection is contagious: it invites readers to view his brother with compassion and to delight in the things the big brother loves about him. Wifler reminds us gently, through the mother’s words,

It’s a privilege to know another human being, no matter what they look like or how they act.

Like Me, by Laura Wifler | Little Book, Big Story

Skylar White’s illustrations, too, are worth noting. They are detailed and specific, giving readers a sense of visiting not just a house, but this house, inhabited by a particular family with a history and interests that extend beyond the pages of this book. (White’s work reminds me cozily of Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations for A Child’s Calendar.)

Like Me is enlightening in the best possible way: by switching on a light in this story, Wifler and White invite us see just a little more clearly how much God loves every one of his people—no matter what we look like or how we act.

Like Me: A Story About Disability and Discovering God’s Image in Every Person
Laura Wifler; Skylar White (2023)

Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer

Teaching kids to pray can be tricky. When we talk to other people, we take in all kinds of cues, from their posture to their facial expression to what they do with their hands. They interact with us as we speak, even if they respond only with a distracted “Mmm-hmm.” But the act of prayer itself requires some degree of faith that the person you’re talking to—that you cannot see or hear (at least not in the way we’re used to)—is listening and will respond. Though they are experts at imagining the unseen, I know my daughters find this difficult sometimes; sometimes I do, too. Recently, my seven-year-old lamented, “I wish God had a body so we could see him.”

Ah, I told her. But he does! And one day we’ll see it— “No,” she said. “I mean, right now.”

Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer, by Laura Wifler | Little Book, Big Story

And so I appreciate Laura Wifler’s book Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer and the way she translates the subject from prayer from an abstract concept to a concrete one. She gives young readers (and their parents) language to discuss this central part of the Christian life, and she does so without diluting it. She trusts that her readers can understand this idea, no matter how big it is, and she offers lots of specific examples that help children (and parents) visualize the role of prayer in the Christian life.

Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations use examples from church history and modern kid life to remind readers that prayer is for all of us, all the time—no matter how long ago we lived or how tall we are. And that whatever the size of our requests, God is eager to hear them and to hear from us. We may not be able to sit across from God and watch him respond as we pray, but Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer reminds us that he is listening. And that he will respond.

Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer, by Laura Wifler | Little Book, Big Story

Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer: A True Story of How You Can Talk With God
Laura Wifler; Catalina Echeverri (2021)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.