Written by: Joni Eareckson Tada
Illustrated By: Craig Nelson
This is a heart-touching story, filled with a kinship to artists and an allegory of God’s love and care. Combined with beautiful illustrations that capture the story well, “I’ll Be With You Always” is an encouraging read.
The story begins with a young boy peering into his father’s art studio. Justin William Chase, Jr. has a dream. And that dream is to become a famous artist. When his father offers for him to sit on his knee, Justin is glad. He enjoys painting while sitting on his father’s knee. His father’s touch, combined with creating something beautiful together, makes it all the better.
The story then takes a leap to when Justin is a young man, ready to become a painter like his father. He goes off to art school and spends time and effort honing his skill. Soon, he’s catering to collectors who desire his work. Everything seems to be going well for Justin, when his life takes a downturn as more and more jobs come his way and he cannot keep up. Soon, he gives in to despair and decides that he must not have inherited his father’s talent.
A letter from his father arrives with an alarming message. The aged painter urges his son to come home.
Back in the art studio of his father, Justin learns a lesson of purpose and love that helps him to realize where it was he had lost his focus. The aged painter’s words end the story, leaving an encouraging truth to touch the heart of the reader.
Joni Eareckson Tada handles a beautiful truth with a rich story that leaves an impression of encouragement and love. Her writing style is one of experience–you can tell that it is not surface writing, but heart-writing.
The illustrator, Craig Nelson, fills in the story with unique and finely crafted illustrations. His way of handling the oil paint is fresh, clean and wonderful to study.
And that’s our Thursday book review! If you have any recommendations of good children’s books, I’d enjoy hearing them!