Even young children want answers to the hard questions about God and suffering. In The Moon Is Always Round, seminary professor and author Jonathan Gibson uses the vivid imagery of the moon to explain to children how God's goodness is always present, even when it might appear to be obscured by upsetting or difficult circumstances.
In this beautiful, full-color illustrated book, he allows readers to eavesdrop on the conversations he had with his young son in response to his sister's death. Father and son share a simple liturgy together that reminds them that, just as the moon is always round despite its different phases, so also the goodness of God is always present throughout the different phases of life.
A section in the back of the book offers further biblical help for parents and caregivers in explaining God's goodness to children. Jonathan Gibson reminds children of all ages that God's goodness is present in the most difficult of times, even if we can't always see it.
The Moon Is Always Round gives children a way to understand God’s goodness in the midst of grief, the companion book, You are Still a Mother by Jackie Gibson, tells the story of loss and heartache from her unique perspective as a mom.
Jonathan Gibson (PhD, Cambridge) is ordained in the International Presbyterian Church, UK, and is associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He is coeditor with Mark Earngey of Reformation Worship, contributor to and coeditor with David Gibson of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, and Covenant Continuity and Fidelity: A Study of Inner-Biblical Allusion and Exegesis in Malachi. He is married to Jacqueline, and they have two children: Benjamin and Leila.
Joe Hox was raised on a farm in southern Iowa where he doodled whenever he wasn’t spading thistles or feeding pigs. Everyone knew by his crooked hay rows that he would choose art over farming. Joe earned his BA in Art and Education from Dordt College and his MA from the University of Nebraska. Today he lives with his wife and four children in Pella, Iowa, where he illustrates and teaches art. Joe has illustrated all of the Good News for Little Hearts series.
“It is with the greatest pleasure and sense of privilege that I commend this book about Leila, Jonny and Jackie Gibson’s precious, stillborn daughter. As I held Leila’s tiny lifeless body in my arms, I wondered what great things God would do through her brief, mainly hidden, life in this world. May this beautiful and poignant reflection, from a loving and devoted father, bring God’s compassion and comfort to many. She being dead yet speaks—Leila the Evangelist!”
Ian Hamilton, Former minister of Cambridge Presbyterian Church, England
“The Moon Is Always Round offers gentle instruction to the hearts of our children when life in this world has broken their hearts.”
Nancy Guthrie, Author of What Every Child Should Know about Prayer
“When our children were growing up, we sought out books to read to them, and a little later, books that they could read themselves. Many of them they wore out, unselfconsciously memorizing prose and poetry alike. The Moon Is Always Round has now been added to the ‘must-read-and-cherish’ list, not only because it is a good story and a true story, but because it is an important story that they will need to think about all their lives.”
D. A. Carson, Author of How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil
“It’s always best to rely on what we know to be true, rather than be guided by feelings. It’s an important lesson, especially for boys and girls, and Jonny Gibson teaches it in his wonderful, new book for children, The Moon Is Always Round. Through a tender, yet tough story—and beautiful illustrations—Jonny provides a heartwarming guide to any parent shepherding their child(ren) through times of loss and grief. I give a hearty thumbs-up to this special book!”
Joni Eareckson Tada, Author of A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty
“This sweet and touching book is wonderfully simple without being at all simplistic. The metaphor of the always-round moon will stick with children and parents alike. The lesson here is a profound one for any family wrestling with grief, but it is also a needed reminder for every Christian who may ever doubt the goodness of God.”
Kevin DeYoung, Author of The Biggest Story
“When we experience a deep loss, it’s easy to doubt God’s goodness. But that is exactly when we need to be reminded that God’s tender, personal love for us never changes. Kids need to know that just as much as anyone else, and this beautiful book will give parents a way to help them understand that truth. But don’t think this book is just for kids. Anyone who has experienced a deep loss will be comforted by this book’s simple reminder that the moon is always round.”
Libbie Groves, Author of Grief Undone and Becoming a Widow
“Most Christian children’s books get too preachy. They say too much and see too little—like a bad sermon. Not this book. Jonny Gibson has given us a modern-day psalm for children that takes us into the depths and points us to faith in God. Thank you, Jonny. Well done!”
Paul Miller, Author of J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life and A Praying Life
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When our daughter died after she was born 26 years ago, having 2 preschool aged sons, I was drawn to Christ-centered books that would help kids experience sadness and tragedy but help them to understand that God is still faithful and loving. I have read many but this takes my breath away. I ADORE this book. Funny thing, just last week i was talking with an adult who was struggling with something difficult in his life, but not at all a death, and I was quick with "But the moon is always round" and it was like someone switched on a light for him. I just can't say enough wonderful things about this book. Thanks so much for sharing your God-given wisdom and your experience with us all.
I am so glad that I purchased this book for my church library. This is a great book for any child (and parent) who goes through an awful loss. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Appreciate how quickly this came!
I loved reading this to my boys, even though I could hardly get through it on the first reading. This book is great in explaining miscarriage to younger children, while pointing them to God's faithfulness in the midst of trial. God is always there, even when you can't see His hand!
While this would be a wonderful book to read with a child whose loss actually was of a sibling in stillbirth or in early hours of infancy, I cannot see reading it to a typical three year old for whom even the idea of birth is still a mystery, let alone the idea of death before birth. I wish I had paid attention to the reviews and that the publisher’s description had been clearer than reference to a “sister’s death.” For very young children, this is an “after the fact” book. The lesson being taught regarding God’s constant, never-ending goodness, even when things look dark, is for everyone.
The Moon Is Always Round is a story for children but it is a reminder to ALL of us of God's goodness. Over and over again, we hear a father reassuring his little boy that even though he isn't seeing a full moon, the moon is always round. And just as we may not understand all that is happening in our lives, God is always there. Even when problems and trouble appear to cover it up, God's goodness is always present. This is a sweet story with beautiful illustrations and it offers parents and their children the chance to talk about God and His wonderful Grace. In the back of the book, author Jonathan Gibson offers Lessons for Children and The Story Behind This Book and these extras offer more opportunities to discuss how God's goodness is always with us. I am hesitant, however, to recommend this as a book for all children because there is a mention of a baby sister who is stillborn and we see the grief of this family. This would certainly be an excellent book for parents and children who are dealing with miscarriage or death but I'm not sure that it should be read to all young children. I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Growth Press but a positive review was not required. These are my own thoughts.
What a sweet, heartbreaking, and truthful book that a parent can share with a child about loss, sadness, and when bad things happen and there is no answer. This story is about a little boy and his family who go through a great loss and as natural the little boy has questions. And naturally the father answers the questions to the best of his ability, but unfortunately there are some questions that we cannot answer this side of heaven. However, the father does not leave his son without hope. And as the moon is always round, even though many times throughout the month we do not see its true shape becomes a very important lesson for this little boy when sadness comes. Just like the moon is always round his father reminds him that God is always good even when we don't understand His ways. What a powerful message in a poignant story with the added bonus of beautiful illustrations. Definitely read this one with some tissues. I was provided a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review an all views and opinions are my own.
A beautiful, bittersweet children's book about God's unending goodness, in the midst of our suffering. The story follows a young boy and his parents, as they eagerly await the birth of a new baby sister. The seasons change as does the shape of the moon, when unexpected events occur, the family holds tight to the promise of God's goodness. A beautiful hardcover picture book, with lovely illustrations that show the striking contrast between light and dark, day and night, highlighting the brilliance of the moon. A well written book that talks about God's goodness, even in the midst of suffering. It includes lesson suggestions, the story behind the book, and a catechism on the moon. Overall, a really well done book all around, very thoughtfully written and paced. A beautiful story about God's unchanging goodness, written for young children, but it can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and would be great for starting deep discussions with the young person in your life. I was very impressed, and highly recommend. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
What I loved about this book was how the father gently reassured his son that no matter what happens in life whether tragic or wonderful, God's love never changes, even though circumstances in life does. The moon is a representation of God being ubiquitous and omnipresent. And it brings great comfort and reassurance for his son as well as to the parents as they mourn the loss of their precious little girl. This book brought tears to my eyes because everyone was so happy and excited to be welcoming a precious baby into the family. But loss is a part of life, and to explain this loss to small children can be difficult, this wonderful book helps adults speak to children at their emotional level to cope and hopefully understand that sometimes bad things do happen.
The Moon Is Always Round by Jonathan Gibson is a beautiful book that is filled with love as it tackles a tough subject: the death of a sibling. This is a book that pulled at the heartstrings and caused me to cry. This book is incredibly relatable and I wish this existed when it was my turn. This isn't for every kid, but for the kid dealing with death, this would be an excellent book to read together. It gives children hope and reminds children that when they look at the moon, it is always round. Just like the moon is always round, God is always with us. In the fact of the book, you can find the story behind the story. I'd recommend that part for the adults. However, it can make for some great discussion. The author also includes two different ways you can use the book. One revolving around the moon just like in the story and the other lesson revolving around Good Friday. Highly recommended for parents, teachers, counselors, or anyone who works with children. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.