The Suitcase: A Story About Giving is an original. It’s a child’s-eye view of the human spiritual journey, reduced to the most practical, tangible terms and yet still transcendent and full of light. It’s understated, luminously illustrated, and full of significant detail.
If I’d read this book as a child, I would have gone straight out to find my suitcase and gather the same real-life treasures to put into it that Thomas found. As an adult and a parent, I’m reflecting on how I’d respond to a child who came to me with this suitcase and these questions. And I’m seeing some fun activities that would grow quite naturally out of reading this story with children. At home or in Sunday school, The Suitcase blossoms easily into a treasure hunt, a conversation about the usefulness of everyday objects, and a foray into the ways we can add spiritual meaning to our actions.
The text lends itself to read-aloud time but is also accessible to early independent readers. One other note – I loved the description of Thomas being his “typical unusual self.” It’s a good description of Thomas and a gentle reminder that all of us are typically unusual. Our quirks and idiosyncrasies are the ways our inward journeys show themselves to the outside world. Love that.