Walking through my friendly neighborhood book store, I was drawn to a new picturebook. This is not your ordinary picturebook. No. The story of this book was actually taken from the full-length nonfiction book by the same title but condensed for a picturebook.
This is very difficult to do. Believe me, I know. I've written several children's concept picturebooks and also biography books. To take big concepts and reduce them to a picturebook format takes time and patience. But done right, the rewards can be amazing as it is in this beautiful picturebook.
I've read a lot of Chris Stewart's novels and he never ceases to amaze me. I also read the other novel Chris wrote with his brother, Ted, titled Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, which I highly recommend. So I had great expectations for this picturebook.
My expectations were met. Seven Miracles That Saved America will become a cherished family possession. The reader learns about amazing miracles that shaped America: discovering the new world, the courageous people of Jamestown, a summer fog, the constitution, Gettysburg, Midway, and how important a fraction of an inch was for President Reagan. You really need to read these stories for I certainly haven't done them justice in a few sentences.
The paintings in this book are breathtaking. Ben Sowards, the artist, said in his notes: "When I read Chris and Ted Stewart's passionate case for American exceptionalism in their original Seven Miracles That Saved America, I knew there needed to be a way to share that message of heritage, courage, and responsibility with my children. It is my hope that this adaptation will allow us to create a visual foundation for the many questions and conversation that will follow."
Sowards paintings delivered what was in his heart.
I highly recommend this book. It would make a wonderful Christmas gift, and believe me, it will become a family treasure.