It’s not everyday that I feel quite so blessed by the eloquence of young people. My heart leaps in my chest when I see children interested in reading and writing - compelled to tell the stories of their vivid minds in ways that show a unique perspective mixed with intelligence and creativity.
And that is exactly what I found when I came across 12-year-old Cooper Lafreniere’s book Encounter. Earlier this year I had the privilege to read a book by his younger brother to my children. Cody and the Hairy Thing soon became a household favorite and the children were anxious to see what Cooper had to bring to the table in Encounter. And as I expected, we were not to be disappointed.
In his book, Lafreniere shows great attention to detail, grabbing the attention of young males straight from the get go. With topics of camping, nature, and building rafts, any young boy would be drawn in straight away to the captivating tales shared in Encounter. My own son began pestering me to start constructing clubhouses and fishing poles before we were even halfway through the book! And anything that inspires that kind of creativity in my child is something that I support.
Cooper goes on to address heart-warming themes such as a beautiful depiction of a loving father-son relationship, overcoming immense fear, and heroism. As his young character, Jack, faces his greatest worries, he is guided by his earthly father to find security and trust in his heavenly Father as well. Even as an adult, I found myself moved to tears as this young boy showered those around him with respect and, ultimately, as he took on an adult role in order to protect those he loves.
In our society, children are often looked at as small or incapable of doing great things. And yet every child dreams of doing something with the biggness that is inside of them. In this book, Lafreniere allows his character to rise to that occasion and tackle obstacles that show that children are just as capable of greatness as adults. With childlike faith and strong love, anything is possible.