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Young Isaiah knows that when a person can’t sleep it’s called insomnia, and he thinks that’s a really “ugly word” because he himself has trouble sleeping. One evening when his mom comes to tuck him in at bedtime, he’s sure he’s going to have another bad night of sleeplessness. His mom asks him what he’s worrying about. He thinks of several concerns and tells her. He’s worried that she won’t have enough money to pay the rent and then the family will be evicted and have to live in a tent in the park. He’s anxious about his dad who is living far away on his own. And he’s upset that his older sister argues with his mom.  

Mom explains to Isaiah that, because he has such a soft heart, he picks up other people’s problems and they weigh him down like big, heavy blocks. Then his mom uses a technique called guided imagery to help Isaiah tell a story about what he is feeling. Isaiah imagines carrying his worries like heavy blocks in his knapsack as he treks through the woods and a field where he meets Jesus. Isaiah imagines that Jesus asks him what he has in his knapsack, and when Isaiah looks inside, he discovers something surprising. The big worry blocks are gone and in their place four little things like peach pits remain. What happens next is a surprise to Isaiah—even though he is the one telling the story—and will certainly astonish young readers. 

Illustrator Pamela Rice’s sensitive and tender artwork complete Ruth Goring’s warm-hearted narrative about a boy weighed down with burdens, as so many children are each day. In a note, author Ruth Goring explains the technique employed by Isaiah’s mom: “Guided imagery is a spiritual discipline—a form of prayer that allows us to encounter God through an open-ended imaginative narrative. It’s not just for children, and it's not only useful for insomniac nights. You may want to try it when you’re aware of a need for inner healing, when you have a heartfelt question for God, or simply as a way to become quiet in God’s presence.” Recommended as an excellent resource for Christian parents who are helping their children navigate and cope with stress. (IVP KIDS)

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