My youngest daughter is in kindergarten which means that, when I teach art in her class, I get to hang out with kindergartners, who are some of the best people I know. By the time I get there, they’ve been in school for five hours, so they’re in a pleasant state of disarray—their hair wild, their knees stained. The line between the real and imagined is thin for them, and the world around them is so enormous: that leap off the playground structure is to them what a leap off a single-story roof might be to me. But they still leap, and they scream with joy when they do.
And when we do that trick with washi tape in art class—the one where you cover part of your paper in tape, paint all over it, and then peel the tape off, leaving behind a perfectly white, crisp pattern—they gasp audibly. Which is exactly what I want to do every time, I’m just too grown-up to do it. The way they see that clean white line reminds me that, you know what? It is amazing. We painted all over our paper, but there it is—still white.
Reading Ben Myers’s new book, The Apostles’ Creed, is kind of like peeling the tape off a brilliant painting. At our church, we recite the Apostles’ Creed together, week after week, building up layers of color as we take those words to heart. But for my daughter the kindergartener, some of those words have blurry edges. She can’t see the beautiful pattern beneath them yet, not as long as the tape stays in place. But this picture book takes each line of the Apostles’ Creed and opens it up for readers, in clear, understandable language. It peels back the tape, with its layers of paint, and allows young readers to see the crisp white pattern beneath.
The Apostles’ Creed is narrated by a child who articulates, one line at a time, these deep truths of our faith in childlike language, which allows readers to connect the world they see around them with these old, old tenets of Christianity. Every double spread introduces one line of the creed and closes with “That’s what I believe.” This, as we read a few pages each day over lunch, became a refrain my daughters voluntarily repeated with me: “That’s what I believe.” That structure continues the rhythm of the Apostles’ Creed at home and, with the help of Natasha Kennedy’s illustrations, invites children into these core Christian beliefs. Without condescending or being cute about it, Myers reveals some of God’s wonder and beauty and lets the kids marvel.
The Apostles’ Creed: For All God’s Children
Ben Myers; Natasha Kennedy (2022)