I normally don’t review children’s books, but this one’s a keeper.
Who Counts? combines simple, direct storytelling with superb artwork and morally uplifting themes.
Its authors, a rabbi and a professor of Jewish Studies, retell three of Jesus’ parables from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15: the lost sheep, the lost piece of silver, and the lost son.
Though it might seem odd, the book’s use of stories from the Christian New Testament was quite deliberate. It illustrates that whatever else he might have been, Jesus was a Jewish teacher. In their basic attitudes toward life, morality, and priorities, Judaism and Christianity agree more often than not.
The book’s clear prose style, familiar words, and easily-understood morals will appeal to younger children. Its third story (the lost son) is a bit more layered than the first two. It touches lightly on emotional conflicts that many children experience. Thus, it provides a good starting point for supportive and heartfelt conversations between parent and child.
According to the authors, “All three stories are about the importance of making sure that everyone counts … [and] that everyone feels counted, no one is overlooked, discounted. The book is a counting book, in both senses of the term.”
Many social maladies stem from people feeling as if they don’t count. Who Counts? is an excellent, entertaining book to help children grow up into responsible, caring adults.