Written by: Laura Chambers (2/10/2017)
When children are growing up, they believe their parents have all the answers. So they come to them with endless questions. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do the seasons change?” “Where do babies come from?” Their parents then direct them to books, attempt to answer the question to the best of their ability (often getting it wrong), or in the last question’s case, hem and haw and change the subject for another day! But of all the questions, the hardest and most painful one to be asked is “why do people die?” Usually brought on by tragedy, this question probably baffles many of us adults, too. In her book Fireflies, Ginger Sanders finds a unique way of answering this query.
Based on true events, Sanders tells the story of brothers Tyler and Trevor, and their friends, whose world seems to be idyllic. They play together in a sunny park by day and catch fireflies in a jar by night. All is peaceful, until an unspecified accident claims the life of Trevor, and leaves Tyler wondering why his little brother left them. A family friend uses the fireflies in a jar on his nightstand to explain that when believers die, their souls are set free to shine by God.
The story is simple enough that a small child can understand it, and by giving few details about Trevor’s death, it is applicable to whatever circumstances leave you having to explain this to your children. Tracy Applewhite Broome’s illustrations evoke the simplicity of childhood innocence; they resemble a child’s crayon drawings. There’s also neat little touches throughout, like giving the ambulance “John 3:16” as its license plate number.
At the end of the book, there is a place where a child can add the photo of their deceased loved one and write in a special memory they have of them. A helpful guide to parents on leading their child to salvation is included, too, naturally leading from a discussion about death to one regarding eternal life.
It may be one of the hardest conversations you’ll ever have. With books like Fireflies to encourage and comfort your grieving children with the hope that is in Christ, you won’t be handling it alone. Ginger Sanders explains the answer in clear, simple, joyful language, leaving children (and parents) longing for and trusting in Jesus.