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Because Nothing Looks Like God

Because Nothing Looks Like God

by Lawrence Kushner

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"Where is God?"
“What does God look like?”
“How does God make things happen?”

With little hands, and big hands. With young hands and old hands, With your hands.” Mixing sparks of curiosity and spiritual imagination, this wondrous book lights children's creativity and shows how God is with us every day, in


"Where is God?"
“What does God look like?”
“How does God make things happen?”

With little hands, and big hands. With young hands and old hands, With your hands.” Mixing sparks of curiosity and spiritual imagination, this wondrous book lights children's creativity and shows how God is with us every day, in every way. It is a vibrant invitation to children and their adults to explore—together—what, where, and how God is in our lives. Multicultural,

Nondenominational, Nonsectarian; Endorsed by Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish Religious Leaders

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What a delight to have a book about God that does not talk down to children, but lifts them up and takes their spiritual lives seriously…. A good place for parents and children to wander and wonder."
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Rabbi, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck; author of God's Paintbrush and other books

“Shapes great wisdom into the words and the images where children live and wonder and learn…. The perfect guide, companion, teacher.”
Walter Wangerin, Jr., author of The Book of God; Paul; and many other books

“Helps children explore….the most important truths, common to all traditions, encouraging children to be curious, confident, and compassionate.”
Martin Boroson, author of Becoming Me: A Story of Creation

“Delighful and insightful…. Like adults, children have spiritual hungers. The Kushners and Dawn Majewski provide a creative and nourishing meal for children and adults, who hunger for the mystery of God.”
Bishop Robert F. Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Green Bay

“A grand subject. Simply and movingly told.”
Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lawrence Kushner (The Book of Miracles: A Young Person's Guide to Jewish Spiritual Awareness) and Karen Kushner (contributor to How to Be a Jewish Parent) tackle three big questions in this discussion-starter of a book: Where is God? What does God look like? How does God make things happen? There is no story here, just these three questions and the Kushners' sometimes profound, sometimes contrived, answers. God is "in the way people come together.... And in the Band-Aid fix-up after a fall." God is also "in birdchirp, frogsong and chattering squirrels,/ And in the fly caught in the spider's web." The Kushners are at their best in their refusal to simplify: "God doesn't look like anything.../ Because there is nothing to see." The last section takes a few theological shortcuts. The authors explain how God works by advising readers to "look at your town. One family gives money for people who lost their home.... Look in the mirror. Can you visit someone who feels lonely? Or pick up trash in the playground?" Kids who are sticklers for logic may not be convinced (What about the homeless families who are not helped?), but others will feel ennobled: God makes things happen "with little hands, and big hands.... With your hands." Parents who want help teaching difficult religious concepts will like the Kushners' method of bridging abstract ideas and concrete images. Majewski's (King Midas) uniformly cheerful but unevenly executed pictures mostly serve up tableaux of multiracial families in international settings. Lacking the sophistication of the text, the art threatens to dumb down the authors' ambitious presentation. Ages 4-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
This book can help parents and children have an honest and ongoing conversation about God. It offers ways for children to understand God's presence in their everyday world. The pictures and text can also help children wonder, explore, and learn. A great gift idea. 2000, Jewish Lights Publishing, $16.95. Ages 5 to 12. Reviewer: C. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This gentle book is designed to be "the beginning of a continuing conversation between adults and children about the world and God." Nonsectarian and multicultural, the text suggests a divine presence rather than anthropomorphizing, by utilizing simple questions such as "What does God look like?" and "How does God make things happen?" to guide youngsters' understanding of this very abstract concept. The result is more a feeling than an answer, with God primarily represented by several easily understood metaphors such as the wonder of nature ("God is in-caterpillars chewing leaves from daisies,/And in worms turning leaves into earth"), and the loving cooperation of a family ("See sisters taking turns on the slide,/And brothers sharing a new game"). Clearly there is no way to explain certain aspects of God, thus parts of the text seem beyond the grasp of younger readers ("God is wherever we let God in"). However, because the Kushners' intent is to explore rather than describe God, there is room for children's own spiritual awareness to grow. Watercolor illustrations are simple, bright, and nicely textured, portraying people of all ages in friendly and caring situations. Similar in tone to Virginia L. Kroll's I Wanted to Know all about God (Eerdmans, 1994), this book provides children of many faiths with a bridge between the tangible and spiritual world.-Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
According to the authors' note to parents and teachers, the Kushners address the often unspoken questions of young children who hear about God in church. This multicultural, nondenominational, and non-sectarian attempt poses three questions:"Where is God?,""What does God look like?," and"How does God make things happen?" There are various answers to these questions, ranging from images such as God"is in the first ripening tomato, and in cookies just fresh from the oven," to the ideas that God is"wherever we let God in." In answer to what God looks like, the authors write,"God looks like nothing," but there are many things people cannot see and yet they know they are there. The premise being that God is in every aspect of life and that God makes things happen through people's acts of caring about each other and their community. There is no mention of prayer, houses of worship, or any of the traditional forms of religious life. Majewski's illustrations are bright and sunny, depicting families of color, the young, the old, in the US, and in a few world communities. The picture-book format is appropriate to the very young child, but the text, although simple, may have concepts more easily understood by older children. Parents who believe that God is within all aspects of the spiritual and temporal world may find this book helpful as a discussion starter, but it's not much more than that. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Lawrence Kushner, author, lecturer and spiritual leader, is regarded as one of the most creative religious thinkers and writers in America. A commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, he has focused us on spiritual renewal with wisdom and humor. Through his books and lectures, people of every faith and background have found inspiration and new strength for spiritual search and growth. It has been said that some spiritual leaders blend religion and psychology to help us walk better on the ground, but Lawrence Kushner draws on the wisdom of the mystics to help us dance better on the ceiling.

Kushner's acclaimed books include I’m God; You’re Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego; Honey from the Rock: An Easy Introduction to Jewish Mysticism; Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary; The Book of Letters: A Mystical Hebrew Alphabet; Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians; and In God’s Hands, an inspiring fable for children, with Gary Schmidt (all Jewish Lights).

Kushner served as rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Massachusetts, for almost thirty years; he is currently the Emanu-El scholar at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, and an adjunct faculty member at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He is fascinated by graphic design and computers (designing most of his Jewish Lights books). He enjoys Mozart, hanging around sailboats, and making his granddaughters giggle.

Karen Kushner, a clinical social worker, specializes in the healing power of family dynamics.

Dawn Majewski holds a B.F.A. in Illustration from Moore College of Art. She has been staff artist for several corporations; her illustrations and paintings appear in corporate and private collections. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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