Booktalks

The Book of Everything Booktalk

  • Grades: 6–8

Scholastic Booktalk

Happiness starts with not being afraid. But Thomas is always afraid. Does that mean he’ll never be happy?

Thomas lives in Amsterdam, Holland, in the early 1950s. He writes down everything in his book. “When I grow up, I am going to be happy.” He writes down his secretss, and how he sees the Lord Jesus in his mind, and how Jesus tells Thomas, “Just call me Jesus.” He writes about the Plagues of Egypt, and how they begin to come true in his own life.

He writes about his father, who makes his family go to church and reads from the Bible every night after dinner, but who slaps Thomas’s mother, over and over, and spanks Thomas with a heavy wooden spoon. Thomas is afraid of him. He writes about visiting Mrs. Van Amersfoort, their next door neighbor who everyone says must be a witch. He writes about how she told him that happiness begins with no longer being afraid. And he writes about how he finds out that his father is afraid, too.

How can any of them ever be happy, if they are always afraid? Thomas talks to Jesus about it, but even He doesn’t have an answer. What will happen before Thomas, his mother, and his father can stop being afraid? If Jesus can’t help Thomas, who can?

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart

 

  • Subjects:
    Confronting and Resolving Fears, Family Life, Christianity
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