May 2004. Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso's God's Paintbrush, one of our very favorite children's books, is having a birthday, and we want to join the chorus of readers sending Sasso and her publisher, Jewish Lights, congratulations and expressions of gratitude. In a special note to parents in this 10th Anniversary Edition of the book, Sasso writes: "Once a journalist asked me, 'Where are the answers to the questions in your book in the back?' I responded, 'No, the answers are inside you.' "
Thay may be the secret to the success of this book. It engages our imagination and help us, children and adults alike, to bring up our deepest feelings and beliefs. Looking at the pictures and talking about the accompanying questions, we find that our God-talk is grounded in everyday experiences. It's okay to wonder, to think about what God is like, to believe that God is calling to us, to know that we can paint with God's paintbrush. Join us in celebrating 10 years of God's Paintbrush!
This classic by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso with illustrations by Annette Compton salutes imagination as a very good spiritual faculty. Recommended for children ages 4 - 8, it uses questions and drawings to invite children to encounter God during moments and activities in their own lives.
One kid thinks of a sunbeam as God's paintbrush and wonders what color to paint the world today. Two children at the beach imagine that the rain is God's tears and the giant waves with white foam on the top make God laugh. The author asks, "What do you think would make God cry or laugh?"
In another spread a boy recalls how he scraped his knee, and it hurt, and how it also hurt when his best friend moved away. This leads to questions about what makes God hurt and how can we be God's friend. An illustration of a class on a school outting shows the children hearing echoes. They wonder if people are God's echo. One child describes feelings as God's touch. Another tries to see the world through God's eyes.
The interactive approach of this wonder-inducing book encourages adults to join in the quest to discover God in the everyday. In a special note to parents for this 10th Anniversary Edition, Rabbi Sasso reminds adults that they do not need to have all the answers for children. Indeed, "children realize that they can't control everything and that the world is filled with mystery." She sees God's Paintbrush as giving children the language to talk about their spiritual lives and offers some very practical tips for parents reading the book with their children. Sasso concludes with this wise advise:
"We often tell children that God is everywhere, but our chidren are not everywhere: they are in a particular time and place in their lives. We need to talk to our children where they are, to allow them to look in God's mirror and tell us what they see. And when we are privileged to glimpse God's colors in them, we too will paint with God's paintbrush."