God’s Holy Darkness (Sharei Green & Beckah Selnick)

Hello, friends! Our book today is God’s Holy Darkness, written by Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick, illustrated by Nikki Faison, a look at the place of “darkness” in Christianity and creation.

The disembodied narrator begins with an astute observation on how we perceive fictional darkness, blackness, or night, namely that it is often seen as less favorable to what is light or bright or white. For people with dark skin, this perception can be harmful and unfair. Yet within the Christian faith, both evidenced by Bible verse and creation, there are plenty of examples that buck this trend, and show that darkness can be the symbol of new beginnings, hope and humility, and the very potential of life itself.

Uplifting if occasionally confusing. Green and Selnick approach a very worthy and complex topic: the socially-constructed symbolism of light and dark and how it can influence racial bias and colorism. However, approaching the solution from a Christian theological standpoint is a double-edged sword, as it may carry a great weight of meaning to Christian audiences but will likely not have the same effect on readers of other faiths. And while some of the biblical examples are compelling, others feel a bit reaching. Still, the ardency of the text is compelling enough that those searching for comfort will surely be comforted, and it’s impossible to deny the clear passion in the writing. Faison’s folk art is equally striking, especially the motif of a heavenly power with celestially dark skin and long braids. The length is fine for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the art but was confused by the biblical references (we are secular household). Overall, this is a great book for a specific audience, but to that audience it may be indispensable, especially as an affirmation of darkness deeply tied to faith. We recommend it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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