Nancy Cocks listens to children and takes them seriously. Their thoughts and what they are experiencing of life all around them is where their questions about God take root. She believes that storytelling is a way of meeting those questions. After all everybody loves a good story. Consider how people, young and old, gather each year to hear, sing about and act out, the Christmas story.
[pullquote]She has been a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada for more than 20 years and taught pastoral theology for 10 years at the Vancouver School of Theology. Understanding how stories play a role in communicating deep truths has been central to her ministry and she has spent years of research into how it works. It has also led to her writing illustrated storybooks for children, the most well known probably being the various adventures of Fergie the Frog.
Growing Up with God is divided into three parts. The first part draws on her research and contains excellent advice on how to relate and work with children in their own space. Part two is a collection of her stories with the author’s commentary on how the story may be used. These include not only stories about Fergie the Frog but also Sherman the Hound Dog and Jackie Rabbit. Part three is a treasury of resource materials including indices covering faith themes, life situations, biblical references and feelings explored. In her introduction Nancy Cocks writes, “This is a book for adults who are eager to encourage children around them to know and trust God. It is for parents and grandparents, teachers and leaders, ministers and priests, for any adult who cares about the spiritual lives of children.” She has done her task well and I suspect it would make a welcome gift for any and all in the above categories at this season of the year when our attention is particularly focused on a newborn child in Bethlehem.
Novalis has published the following Fergie the Frog books for children, with illustrations by Jirina Marton, at $4.95 each.
Fergie Tries to Fly
Where Oh Where Is Fergie
You Can Count on Fergie
Nobody Loves Fergie
Fergie Cleans Up
Fergie Counts His Blessings
Fergie Has a Birthday Party
Fergie Goes to Grandma’s