Creative God, Colorful Us: A Book Review

Series: Book Reviews 

by Julie Masson March 3, 2021

God is kind

God is loving

God is fair

God is forgiving

God is truthful

God is wise

God is good

In the very first chapter of Trillia Newbell’s new book Creative God, Colorful Us, she reminds children (and any listening adults) about these very important truths about God. While the title should have given it away, within the first few sentences you quickly realize that this book truly is all about God and points children back to him time and time again. 

My children are 9, 11, and 13 and as we read through this book together around the supper table, the conversations we had about God were filled with anything but Sunday School school answers. Our discussions were so rich! 

Newbell has written this book in a unique way. It’s not the kind of book that you would read to your children before bedtime, though you most certainly could. Nor is it one you’d want to just hand to a child to read by themselves. And I say that only because the material in the book is worth discussing as a family, especially since Newbell intentionally creates space for discussion and reflection at the end of each chapter. 

What I loved about this book is how children are shown the story of God from creation to Revelation through the lens of the imago Dei.

First, Newbell explains who God is—kind, loving, fair, forgiving, etc. (see above). This is key because any book that explains the beauty of our differences and sameness as God’s children, must first start with and be rooted in who God is, not who we are.

She camps out on this for a few chapters by showing us how we are made in his image and can be like him

God is kind—you can be kind too.

God is loving—you can be loving too.

God is fair—you can be fair too.

God is forgiving—you can be forgiving too.

God is truthful—you can be truthful too.

God is wise-—you can be truthful too.

God is good—you can be truthful too. 

She  then explains sin in such simple terms that children as young as kindergarten should be able to understand it. As Newbell tells the readers about sin and it’s devastating consequences, she shows this well by, again, pointing people back to God and his characteristics and how we fail to be like him. 

Because of sin—sometimes we’re unkind.

Because of sin—sometimes we’re hateful.

Because of sin—sometimes we’re unfair.

Because of sin—sometimes we’re unforgiving.

Because of sin—sometimes we lie.

Because of sin—sometimes we make bad choices..

Because of sin—sometimes we do bad things.

As Newbell walks readers through the rest of God’s story, she spends significant time on God’s church—both the church from generations past and future, and the global church. She talks about Paul’s hatred of Christians and how God changed his heart to help explain our own tendency towards hatred of those who are different than us. I love her explanation of the differences in the body of Christ that have always existed and always will, simply because of God’s creative design for people from all over the world. She adroitly addresses how sin can cause us to show partiality towards those who are differently than us.

We don’t always get along. Our differences aren’t sinful, but the way we treat each other because of our differences can be. Because of sin, we sometimes dislike a person simply because of the color of their skin. Because of sin, we are sometimes jealous of people who have gifts and talents that are not like ours. Because of sin, we may play favorites with people. When we play favorites with other people this is called the sin of partiality. Partiality is sinful favoritism. It means leaving others out or ignoring them because of your favoritism. Because favoritism can be a big problem in our friendships, let’s spend more time thinking about it. (page 74)

Newbell then looks at James’ reminder in James 2:1—4,  8—9 about why we should not show favoritism to those who are rich. Within the context of a book all about God’s character and our reflection of God’s image, this is such a good reminder that because of sin we are all prone towards favoritism in many ways, and that as God’s image bearers, we can ask God to help us be more like him in how we treat other image bearers. 

There is so much more I could say about this wonderful book, especially Newbell’s excellent explanation of what it means to love our neighbor, and who our neighbor actually is. (Hint: it’s not just the person with a similar street address as you.)  This is a beautiful book that I hope parents will read with their elementary age children, and even middle school students. I can also envision a small group or children’s Sunday School class going through this together. Newbell provides activities and questions at the end of each chapter which truly help bring the lessons of the chapter home. You and your children will walk away with common language to use as you talk about what it looks like to love our fellow image bearers as God does:

God is kind—you can be kind too.

God is loving—you can be loving too.

God is fair—you can be fair too.

God is forgiving—you can be forgiving too.

God is truthful—you can be truthful too.

God is wise-—you can be truthful too.

God is good—you can be truthful too. 

Editor’s Note: You can purchase Creative God, Colorful Us here.

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