Several years ago I read the original version of this book, "Same Kind of Different As Me," and was profoundly impacted by it. It was a beautiful (true!) story of a wealthy art dealer and his wife and their life-changing friendship with a homeless man named Denver. Reading about Denver's story, especially beginning with his childhood, brought so much depth to the stories of the homeless all around us. They're not just nameless hungry faces. They have stories, pasts, loved ones. They had mothers who held them as babies. They have dreams and hopes and sorrows and joys.
My husband has continued to impact me just as that book did. When we encounter the homeless, he will look them in the eyes and shake their hands and ask their names. He takes them out for lunch and learns their stories. Through these encounters, both of us have been changed as we meet the homeless and realize though we are each different individuals, we're also so much alike-- we're the "same kind of different."
When I saw there was a children's version of Denver's story, I was so excited! We want to raise our children to see each human being (born, unborn, rich, poor) as a beloved child of God. The book did a great job of sharing Denver's story at a child's level and I appreciate a book that will allow and encourage conversations about the poor and homeless and how we can help them in a deeper way than just "charities and giving money in church."
However, in all honesty, I also found myself experiencing a few hesitations as I read the book...it paints such a pretty picture of a friendship between the art dealer's wife and the homeless man that I'm afraid some children might think that it's okay to talk to all strangers and "befriend" them. It's one thing for your kids to know it's okay to say hello and smile at others or say kind words to them...it's another for them to think it's okay to befriend a stranger on their own. After some reflection, I'm really not quite sure what I think about the book! I hope that as G and our other kids grow older, God will give us wisdom and grace to instill kindness and generosity into their little minds and hearts while also teaching them to be prudent and cautious. Perhaps the book would be a tool for this in addition to conversations about stranger safety. ;)
What do you think when it comes to raising children to be kind yet safe around strangers, particularly the poor or homeless?
[Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for my complimentary copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]