Laura Alary

Laura Alary

Writing stories that make us bigger on the inside

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Here: Review on Picture Book Theology

September 23, 2022

Back in 2015 I stumbled upon a blog called Picture Book Theology. Not only did the author, Hanna Brown Schock, clearly share my passion for picture books, she also demonstrated a wonderful openness to the way all sorts of books–not just explicitly faith-based ones–can nourish the spirits, hearts, and minds of readers of all ages. I sensed she might be a kindred spirit, so I sent her a message and told her about the sorts of books I write. She had a bit of trouble tracking them down at first (this was almost eight years ago so my American distribution was more limited). But once she did, she invited me to be part of her very first Guest Author post on PBT.

Since then, our paths have crossed online and–at last–in person!

Hanna brings great depth and sensitivity to her reading and interpretation of texts of all kinds, including picture books. I respect her opinion, so was particularly happy when she chose to feature Here: The Dot We Call Home on her blog.

After summarizing the movement of the story outward from a child’s room to the far reaches of the solar system, Hanna writes: “Our intelligent tour guide ends this thought exercise with a far view of our globe; Dot can look very small from space. She lovingly wishes she could care for all of Earth for the people who are to come after her. “But it is too big. And I am so small.” So she engages in a beautiful practice! When feeling overwhelmed by the issues of our globe, she says to herself, “But I can love this… and this.”

Mindful moments and small acts of creation care serve to boost her hope about the resilience of our home and its inhabitants.”

She concludes:

“Alary & Peterslund offer a remarkable construction of the breadth of the subject of home and the details that give it beauty and meaning. Through a thoughtful imaginary journey to the past and consideration for the future, the narrator models how to sense a calling for the present! The clarity & detail of the illustrations tell stories beyond the words so be sure to spend some time exploring those images. This keen-eyed girl invites all to gaze gratefully. She may be small and the subject of her worries big, but her vision and agency are expansive. Let her encourage your own children to care for our Dot so that we don’t leave so much ugliness behind.”

You can read the entire review, including suggestions for further discussion, here.

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