Book Review: Baptism & Boomerangs

baptisms and boomerangs

Oh, Baptism & Boomerangs is just so sweet, and colorful, and made me cry the good kind of tears. I hope each of you can read it, too.

For now, I will just tell you this:

It is about little girl named Amara, who just arrived in Sidney, Australia, with her mom, dad, and brother Jack, to celebrate her eighth birthday with her grandparents and delicious baptism cake(!), and of course, to get baptized.

But there is a small, but significant, problem. Amara is excited to get baptized, but is also nervous. And what’s more, she is nervous to say that she’s nervous. Thankfully, her perceptive mother thinks to ask her what she’s thinking about, and a number of really lovely, heartfelt discussions ensue. The first one happens at the kitchen table, over Amara’s special cake, but those butterfly feelings are still there!

The next one happens in a park, with Amara’s granddad, brother, and a boomerang. It is both the soul of the story and, as you can imagine, the reason for the book’s title. This is also where I tell you that I came to this book with the tiniest understanding of boomerangs’ seemingly magical property of returning, and was more than a little curious what they might have to do with baptism.

I found myself won over by the granddad’s clear explanation that somehow managed to be simple, sincere, and refreshing, all at the same time. It offers valuable insights on baptism and (gospel) life, in a way that I suspect will resonate for children and adults alike. And I loved that it placed all of the things in a community of care. You’ll see what I mean, when you read it.

Two more things that won me over are 1) the language and 2) the illustrations. The language is warm and inclusive. Amara’s granddad and mum each say “Heavenly Parents” plural, rather than the more common “Heavenly Father.” Not only is this a more accurate representation of Mormon theology, it better allows girls and women to see themselves in heaven and earth. The language is also dotted with Australian phrases, which ties into 2) the beautiful, bright, unique Australian art, making this book a cultural experience, as well as a spiritual one.

It felt so welcome to read and see(!) a story about an international LDS family, and is so appropriate for our worldwide church.

Thank you to our very own Spunky who is the author of this book, and to Tatiana Lawton, who is the remarkable illustrator.

Have any of you picked up this book yet? If you have, what is your (or your child or grandchild’s) favorite part?


Rachel is a PhD student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. She co-edited _Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings_ with Joanna Brooks and Hannah Wheelwright. She is also a lover of all things books and bikes.

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7 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    Thank you for the great review Rachel! And congratulations on publishing this beautiful book Spunky!

  2. Mmdaams says:

    I saw that book at deseret the other day, perhaps I will grab a copy! I usually don’t buy books, just borrow from the library, but I can make an exception

  3. Caroline says:

    Thanks for this review, Rachel. I LOVE that the author Spunky refers to the divine as Heavenly Parents. Love, love, love. Will definitely buy this book. Congrats, Spunky and illustrator Tatiana!

  4. Heather says:

    My 9 year old was so excited when the book arrived. We love it.

  5. spunky says:

    Thank you all so much! I’m so excited about this book and hope everyone who reads it will love it as much as I loved creating it!

  6. Congratulations on your new book, Spunky! My son is turning eight this year and this will be perfect for him.

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