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Zoe’s Hiding Place: When You Are Anxious is the first book in the Good News For Little Hearts series. The story creator is Jocelyn Flenders who has a background in intercultural studies and counseling. David Powlison, the editor, is a biblical counselor with over thirty years of experience and a faculty member at CCEF. He has written many good books and booklets on sanctification, anger, anxiety, and more. Joe Hox has illustrated the other two books in this series, and you can see his style here.
The story here centers around Zoe, a small mouse. The story begins with bright rays of golden sunshine streaming into Zoe’s room. A book lies open-faced on the floor. Zoe peeks out from her purple patchwork quilt and thinks about how safe she feels in her own bed. She probably fell asleep reading her favorite book of fairy tales, which she picks up before heading to breakfast. Zoe leaves for school immersed in her new book. When she sits down for class, she is so immersed in her thoughts that she doesn’t hear the teacher Miss Minnick say that the whole class will be going to the Mulberry Meadow Art Museum the next morning. Zoe’s friend Layla can hardly hold in her elation. Zoe, on the other hand, feigns excitement. Last time the class left her behind. Not on purpose, of course. Zoe was staring at a painting which reminded her of her favorite fairy tale. Next thing she knew, everyone was gone. Why would she want to go to that museum again? Why risk being alone forever?
On her way home, all Zoe could think of was the negative—lonely rooms and scary pictures. She runs home and hides under big purple patchwork quilt. Mama understands that Zoe hates to be alone, and she says that God created us to want to stay safe. She reminds Zoe that God is with her even though she can’t see him. She is never really alone. Mama tells her that even she still has worries. They never go away. But she tells them to Jesus, and she asks for his help. Mama tells Zoe to “turn each fear into a prayer.” Along with that, Zoe needs to pay attention and listen. She won’t be left behind if she puts her listening ears on.
Zoe remembers to put her listening ears on at the museum, but then, enamored with the paintings, she loses sight of her class. You can clearly see the anxiety on Zoe’s face. But she remembers to pray, she knows that God is near, and she walks ahead and eventually finds her classmates who are all sitting together under a hefty tree.
The book ends with ten ways to help your child with anxiety. There are good reasons to be anxious and afraid. We live in a broken world, and Jesus told his disciples (and us) that we will have troubles (John 16:33). But the most frequent command in the bible is “Do not be afraid.” God is our refuge and strength, and he gives us better reasons to trust him. Be looking for the source of your child’s anxiety, and when you find it apply the Scriptures to it. We work through these things one step, and one day, at a time.
Joe Hox did an excellent job in this book too (actually it’s the first in the series, but it’s the third one I’ve reviewed). You kids will enjoy the picture of the castle in the purple clouds. Have them tell you what is different about Zoe’s bed than their own (her’s is made up of pencils, a comb, and a matchbox), what cereal the family is eating (Cheesy Flakes), and what is on the top of their cabinets (a marble, a building block, a Sorry! board game piece, and a broken egg shell). The animals express emotions well, and it’s plain to see what they are feeling (anger, shock, surprise, frustration, sorrow, happiness). The environments and backgrounds are well illustrated. Micah enjoys flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures.
I understand what Zoe feels. As a kid, I feared being left behind. For years I had to know that at least one parent (whom I knew) was around somewhere, whether I was at home, a friends house, at church, or the store. Some children worry about this more than others, but all kids will experience some kind of fear like this. This is a good tool to have to be able to talk to your kids about fear, to remind that God is near, and for you to be on the lookout as to how you can help them work through their fear by looking to God (and by giving them practical tips so that they pay attention and don’t lose sight of the adult). Highly recommended.
- Series: Good News for Little Hearts (Book 1)
- Author: David Powlison
- Illustrator: Joe Hox
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Age Range: 5-11 years
- Publisher: New Growth Press (October 8, 2018)
- Read a sample
- Other book reviews on the series:
Find it on Amazon and New Growth Press!
Disclosure: I received this book free from New Growth Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.