If you are still looking for a Christmas gift, or if you’re just hoping for some quality reading for a child you love, Ancient Faith has released a beautiful chapter book for young audiences!
Melinda Johnson’s Shepherding Sam‘s cover is as beautiful and sweet as the story inside. We get to know a dog named Saucer who is a gifted herder — with no herd! As he waits to find a need to fill, we meet a socially challenged young man named Sam who has trouble fitting in, and who isn’t quite sure that there’s a place for him at a monastery. In time, the pup will find his herd and Sam will find his place.
I’ll say it bluntly: this story isn’t sugary sweet or overtly Orthodox. It’s not preachy or pushy. My favorite thing about Shepherding Sam is that it unfolds in an Orthodox landscape, but it’s just an engaging story about lovable characters (both the animals and the people!) It captures a child’s imagination, and invites them to see the monastery as an interesting, wholesome and joyful community. More importantly, it reassures that there is a place for each of us in this world, no matter how unusual our gifts or how awkwardly we fit with the people we know.
We need good chapter books for our children, and this one is especially good because it presents good characters in a familiar Orthodox world. Sometimes, our kids may feel like they’re the only Orthodox kids around, but they’ll see their familiar worldview right there, as normal and lovely as ever, in Shepherding Sam.