A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Kristin Stiles
Nugget & the Refiner is a well-written book with a captivating story, but that is not the main defining quality of this children’s book. Kerry Tittle has composed a tale that will help children understand why difficult things happen, especially why they happen to Christians. Tittle has taken her own tragedy of losing her husband and two daughters in a tornado and analyzed it from the Refiner’s perspective. She has then taken truths from Scripture to explain how such terrible experiences can be redeemed for eternal purposes.
This parable follows a chunk of ore (Nugget) that is plucked from the earth, scoured, melted in a hot furnace, and chiseled away. He finally understands that all of these hardships were done to help him reflect the Refiner’s image. While the process was difficult, the results are worth the suffering. As a finished masterpiece, Nugget loves the Refiner and is thankful for all that went into reshaping him.
Tittle has done a wonderful job writing this book. She uses some great literary devices that make it a pleasure to read: lots of figurative language, onomatopoeia, and strong vocabulary. While some of this vocabulary may be unfamiliar to the child, the context makes them very clear. The storyline is also gripping. The reader feels invested in the emotions of Nugget and what the final outcome for him will be. As an educator, I really appreciate these aspects of this book.
Tittle also includes several pages at the end of the story for the parents. She makes it very clear that this parable, as she calls it, is not describing salvation, but rather it is examining how and why Christians face difficulties. She encourages parents to use it to help children who are processing grief or anxiety. She also uses this story to show how God redeems our trials and hardships. She gives advice on how to help children open up about their feelings after going through a loss or traumatic event. There is a good deal of counseling advice included for parents dealing with these situations in their children’s lives.
I think books like this are needed in Christian homes, schools, and church libraries. As parents, we are often quick to minimize the hardships that our young children go through. We use the excuse that children are resilient to downplay our need to address the difficulties that they experience. Many of their emotions end up getting suppressed and resurface later in their teenage and young adult years. This book provides a proactive means of broaching these topics before the storms come or a reactive means to encourage your child to discuss and express their thoughts and feelings after a difficult event.
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.
Buy the books
NUGGET & THE REFINER, by Kerry Tittle