God Went to Beauty School

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
God Went to Beauty School Book Poster Image
Poems about God experiencing life as a human.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that whether you'll find this amusing and thought-provoking or blasphemous and offensive depends entirely on you, your beliefs, and your approach to religious material. Either way, it will prompt lots of religious discussion with your kid.

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What's the story?

In a series of free-verse poems, God comes to earth in human form to experience normal life in the world he has created. He gets a dog, a couch, and a cold, makes spaghetti, gets a job, climbs a mountain, and, of course, goes to beauty school.

In human form, he reacts as a human; he wants comics and juice when he has a cold, cries at movies, doesn't like to eat alone, enjoys watching TV and playing poker, and even gets into a bar fight. And, since he's doing it all for the first time, it all seems amazing and wonderful.

Is it any good?

Recipient of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, this is a good example of what's wrong with children's literature awards in this country: Children are not considered. Certainly it's well-written, amusing, thought-provoking, and (depending on your own beliefs) worth sharing, a poem at a time, with your kids. It might even get them looking at the world through this unusual lens, and wondering how God would experience other aspects of their own lives.

But is this a book that kids will pick up, read, and enjoy? Oh, a few might, children with a real taste for religious speculation, or those looking for a really short, easy-to-read book to fulfill an assignment. But in general this is not a book written to appeal to kids; it's written to appeal to those who make the buying decisions --librarians, and the award committees that influence them. And because it won an award, it will sell, and more books like it will be written and fill up our libraries -- then we'll wonder why kids don't like to read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to be a god experiencing earthly things. What would be the greatest differences? What do you think God would think of your life?

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