Stories of Heaven and Earth is intended to be a helpful resource for parents, librarians, teachers, and clergy. It offers a critical examination of children's picture books based on stories from the Old Testament, as well as an analysis of these stories as powerful tales of emotional development.
The book focuses on a select group of well-known biblical characters, including Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, Joseph, David, Jonah and Esther. In this original work, the authors make a cogent argument for why these stories matter. Emphasis is placed on the power of these stories as a source of literature rich in universal archetypes, ethical dilemmas, decision-making, rites-of-passage, and emotional growth. Drawing on connections to familiar fairy tales, folklore and mythology through the work of scholars like Joseph Campbell and Bruno Bettelheim, as well as the work of recognized theorists in the fields of child development and children's literature, the authors show how Bible stories offer children critically important models of the journey from childhood into adulthood, from dependence to independence. Stories of Heaven and Earth shows how bible stories allow children to become the heroes of their own lives as they make the difficult but essential transition from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood.
."..this is a ratherscholarly, albeit interesting book. I bookmarked so many pages in it wanting torevisit the authors' analysis, insight, and interpretation...this is primarily abook for teachers and librarians." - "Newsletterof the Association of Jewish Libraries", Nov/Dec 2005--,
"Outside of Sunday School, few children today read Bible stories. In this wonderful volume, Hara and Diane Person make a compelling case for the power of Biblical stories to teach our children ethical lessons, provide them with inspiring but real-life heroes, and help them grow emotionally. A scholarly work that is readily accessible to a general readership, it will hopefully convince parents to start reading their children the Bible stories that have fascinated and instructed young people for thousands of years."Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism
"In a beautifully written and readable monograph, the authors explore the ways in which tales of biblical heroes and heroines have been and might be presented to children. Informed by psychoanalytical and folkloristic orientations, the work concentrates on biblical characters whose stories exemplify particular sorts of life passages and choices. The authors' emphasis on emotional development and their attention to the richness and complexity of the tradition make their study a valuable resource for parents and teachers. The work, however, will enrich all who enjoy exploring biblical narrative in the context of comparable world literature and the human experience." Dr. Susan Niditch, Samuel Green Professor of Religion, Amherst College
"The Persons perceptively explore the meanings and analyze recent retellings of seven narratives from the Hebrew Bible: creation, Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jonah, and Esther. Their erudite, detailed exegesis closely follow the narratives (and illustrations) without forced interpretation...fine psychological and ethical insights" - School Library Journal, November 2005--Sanford Lakoff "School Library Journal "
."..this is a rather scholarly, albeit interesting book. I bookmarked so many pages in it wanting to revisit the authors' analysis, insight, and interpretation...this is primarily a book for teachers and librarians." - "Newsletter of the Association of Jewish Libraries", Nov/Dec 2005--Sanford Lakoff
"The Person book is a more scholarly work. Organized in the order of the Hebrew Scriptures- Creation, Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jonah, and Esther- the books selected are primarily from mainstream publishers and the general book trade, but also include a few from religious publishers that appeal to a broad audience."--Sanford Lakoff
"The Persons' study is based on a sample drawn principally from around 1980 to the present and is, in this sense, a synchronic study about how these particular Bible stories look to contemporary readers. The Persons' description accurately analyzes what is currently available, and it provides a useful yardstick for understanding how particular children's Bible story fits among contemporary tellings of the same story." Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 26, No. 2, Winter 2008 --Sanford Lakoff