He Is My Shepherd
Helen & David Haidle
Of all the images of God in the Bible, surely the image of the Shepherd is one that resonates most deeply with children. Last year, when my daughter and I participated in a family preschool program, we observed a Godly Play presentation each week. All of the stories were captivating (our teacher was incredibly talented!) but the presentation of the Good Shepherd was one that stuck with us all year long. In fact, I even purchased some felt and figurines so we could replicate the story at home.
Ever since then I’ve been on the lookout for a good children’s book that explores the imagery of God as Shepherd, and today I’m happy to add He Is My Shepherd to Aslan’s Library. This book goes through Psalm 23 and offers insight and a short prayer for each beautiful, meaning-laden line. Here is the portion on the valley of the shadow of death:
A dark valley is a scary place to be. Sheep do not want to walk through shadowy pathways and deep ravines, but they learn to overcome fear when the shepherd is by their side. They huddle close to him as he leads them through the valley.
Lord, you know everything that scares me. You even know the things I’m afraid might happen to me. I’m glad you’re with me no matter what happens.
The goodness and tenderness of God shines through the words and images of this book. It’s a perfect choice for just about any scenario I can think of: a child in need of comfort, a child struggling with fear, a child who struggles with pursuing their own ways instead of Christ’s ways, a child who doesn’t want to go to sleep. The message of this book, and of Psalm 23, reaches deep into the human heart. Wherever we are, whatever we are facing, there is a Shepherd who is ready to give us the care and guidance that we need.
He Is My Shepherd is older than many of the books we’ve reviewed, and I’ll admit that its illustrations may not be as remarkable as those in, say, Love Is or He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. Nonetheless, the warmth of the shepherd towards his sheep comes through quite clearly. I found myself endeared to the sheep who are in such clear need of their master’s care. At the end of the book we read that “they have learned that he is completely trustworthy,” and I daresay that as you turn the last page you’ll be refreshed in your own trust in our Lord, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep.
Any recommendations for figurines for telling the Good Shepherd story? Did you buy them from Godly Play or Catechesis of the Good Shepherd?
Great question. I went the cheap route and did plastic animal figurines because I wasn’t sure how much they would actually get played with. Turns out that they were played with a LOT, though, so I think I actually could have justified something a bit nicer and more expensive. You could try the wooden animals at Nova or one of the Waldorf toy sites, or search for “waldorf sheep” on etsy. Let me know if you find anything particularly great!
I love The Tanglewood Secret by Patricia St. John, which explores this theme but for an older child – my daughter is 8 and can read it and my son read it around that age, as well.
Thanks so much for the recommendation, Michelle!
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