The Story of Us

Published by Beaming Books
Available now from your favorite bookseller
My newest picture book explores the beautiful but broken relationship between humanity and the natural order. It's a book of hope (I hope) as children consider natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, typhoons, and tsumanis, which typify the chaos on our planet, and take stock of our responsibility to care for fire, air, water, and the earth.
"The palette is restful even while it’s exuberant; each element has a thematic color (such as blue for water), but the scenes when all four elements are represented include all the colors to lovely effect. This is not a book to use for 'teaching the Bible' so much as it’s a celebration of God at work in and through His creation throughout all time—and for all time. His restoration of us and our world won’t be merely spiritual, but physical as well. " ~ Redeemed Reader, Starred Review

"It’s written for children, but as I read it myself, I couldn’t help being drawn in. I found myself contemplating simple sentences that were deep with meaning, and captivated by the artwork, which is stunningly beautiful as well." ~ Ciara Reyes-Ton, Biologos
"Not your typical retelling of Genesis, Perkins’s story speaks to today’s environmental struggles and concerns with power and sensitivity while offering hope for a peaceful future." ~ Meadow Rue Merill, Portland Press Herald
"In the beginning of creation, all is at peace, the elements of the earth (air, water, earth and fire) as well as the inhabitants (Adam and Eve). The Story of Us shows readers in a beautifully artistic way the pathway from peace to chaotic mess to the arrival of the Restorer and the redemption and healing He brings." ~ Ceil Carey, ECLA
"The poetic text and gorgeous, captivating pictures throughout this book artfully illuminate the story of Creation. The presentation is alluring, with only a few sparse words on a number of pages set against vibrant, expressive illustrations." ~ Jennifer Padgett, Seattle Book Review
From the Publisher
Air. Water. Earth. Fire. Critically acclaimed author Mitali Perkins paints a sweeping picture of the biblical redemption story in this luminous, lyrical picture book. At the beginning of all things, Creator uses the four elements to make humans. When creation falls into chaos—resulting in greed, war, and devastation—Redeemer comes to fix the mess, using air, water, earth, and fire to rebuild what has been broken. Ultimately, at the end of all things, Restorer arrives, calling us to partnership and eventually bringing lasting peace to all creation and healing to the earth. Through expansive, lyrical text from Mitali Perkins and stunning illustrations by Kevin and Kristen Howdeshell, this thought-provoking work of art invites readers to ponder their own relationship to nature and the Divine. The book is a perfect way to complement Disney and Pixar's upcoming Elemental film (coming June 2023) and creates a space for good family conversations about caring for the earth, the "why" of natural disasters, and God's unfailing love.
Discussion Guide
  • Ask children to identify the four elements (fire, water, earth, air.) How do they take care of us? How do we take care of them?
  • How do they get out of control in the relationship? What happens to us (humans) when they do?
  • How do we get out of control in the relationship? What happens to them when we do?
  • Why and how did our friendship with the elements break? The book presents one point of view; feel free to discuss other possible answers to this question, and allow space for "I have no idea what went wrong, but here's my best guess. What's yours?" 
  • Is there any hope to fix it? If so, how and when will this happen? Again, the book presents one point of view; feel free to discuss other possible answers to these questions, and allow space for "I have no idea how to repair the relationship between humanity and the elements. What do you think?"