A front-page editorial in a recent Sunday New York Times asks “Where Are The People of Color in Children’s Books?” Church libraries face the same challenge and such diversity as there is rarely gets extended to God who is almost always male and, in the case of Jesus, also white. I recall one book where a multiethnic group of children stand gathered around a manger that holds a very white baby Jesus. It is an image of diverse humanity paying homage to a white child.
The outstanding exceptions are few and far between. Happily, When God Was A Little Girl. written by David Weiss and illustrated by Joan Lindeman, can now be added to that list. The author responds to his young daughter’s questions about God by telling the story of creation using the image of God as a little girl doing an art project. The race, ethnicity and age of the girl change from page to page. The girl-child God uses all manner of paint, song, glitter, colors, darkness, light and clay among her creative tools.
People are created in “bunches” and “each one was a little different. Some were the color of deep, dark dirt; some looked like the pale sand on the beach. Some were boys and some were girls. Some were taller; some were shorter. Some were thin; some were round. And God thought they all looked just right!”
According to When God Was A Little Girl, all of creation is a work of art made by an art-project loving God. A child can readily understand their own creative inclinations and work as a reflection of being made in God’s image, both boys and girls.
It is unfortunate that the image on the top of the book’s website has cut off the darker shading in the original picture it is taken from, but that is your link to purchase the book and It is wonderful book to add to any church or home library and to share with a child near you. I hope it will inspire other creative efforts by authors and artists who are dissatisfied by the gender myopic, monochromatic palette that dominates so much of our public imagination.