Mo Willems is a genius, particularly when Elephant and Piggie peek past the fourth wall.
When we push past the fourth wall of a children’s book, though, we find two readers. We find the child and the adult.
Why does this matter for the readers of children’s books?
Jesus’ invitation to “become like children” is, at least in part, an invitation to become as deeply perceptive as a child. My son is young, but I am sure he can pick up on the fact that I think the Elephant and Piggie books are brilliant while others are fairly forgettable.
The child is reading the book as well as the adult’s opinion of the book.
This is a deeply important question for religious resources, as a parent’s attitudes and practices of religion form that of the child.
This is why Audacious Ignatius strives for delight and depth. The book aims to captivate the young person and also strike a chord with the adult, so that when our children read us, they find joy and wonder.
The crayons in my son’s toddler classroom are shaped like large pebbles. This form serves the crayon’s function: to teach him to productively hold a pencil.
It is our sincere hope that Audacious Ignatius has a similarly productive form. We hope that its beauty and joy offers a simple reminder to productively hold the stuff of one’s life as Ignatius did, enabling attentiveness to the Spirit and freedom to participate in the work of God in the world.
Both Katie and I are grateful to be able to able to work from home on projects like Audacious Ignatius, though the workplace is not always the most efficient. I found this text conversation from the morning of a big deadline day.
(Ñaño is the most prized comfort object. He actually makes a cameo in the “Preaching in Spain” page of Audacious Ignatius!)