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Book Review: A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother

By Jessie Christensen

A Girl’s Guide to Heavenly Mother is the most recent book from writers McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding, authors of the Girls Who Choose God series. Like their previous work, this new book is a game-changer in the world of books for Latter-day Saint children. It is written as a guidebook or workbook, inviting readers to both learn about Heavenly Mother and to put their learning into action. This is not a book to be read through one time, but rather one to keep close and revisit often (and it includes space for readers to take notes). The book is also full of beautiful art from a wide variety of artists, as well as quotes from sources that range from prophets to poets to scholars.

The book is divided into three sections: Know Your Heavenly Mother, Understand Magnificent Truths About Yourself, and Create Change for a More Loving World. The first section describes seven attributes of Heavenly Mother. The second section moves from describing Heavenly Mother to outlining four truths that girls can know about themselves, based on their knowledge of Her. The last section lists ways in which girls can use their new knowledge to create change in themselves, their families, their church communities, and the world. Each part of the book is a two-page spread that includes writing by the authors and is further illuminated by quotes and illustrations. Additionally, there are questions that invite pondering as well as ‘life tips’ that invite action. The book is well-designed and easy to navigate—it presents a large amount of information in an accessible way. And, frankly, the artwork is gorgeous. I love the diversity of visions of Heavenly Mother in the book because they invite readers to ponder how they picture Her.

My favorite section was the description of Her attribute of divine equality, especially the illustration provided for it Heather Rutton. This attribute comes up again later in the book in the section describing how girls can work for change in their families. Equality in family life has long been a major goal of mine and I was grateful to see this invitation in the book. After reading this section, I had a good discussion with my daughters about the importance of looking for and upholding equality in relationships. They should never seriously date someone who doesn’t treat them as an equal partner or who expects them to do all the emotional work. As this book points out, having a knowledge of yourself as a divine being and having an example of Heavenly Parents who work together equally can empower girls to work towards equitable relationships with their friends and family members.

I shared the book with my two daughters; my oldest is sixteen and my youngest is ten. My younger daughter is just barely approaching the target age for this book. She hasn’t really thought about many of the issues raised in the book yet, but she loved the art (her favorite painting is the one by Normandie Shael Luscher that depicts Heavenly Mother surrounded by planets). My youngest daughter is an artist and writer, and for her the greatest truth she learned was finding out that her Heavenly Mother is also a creator. My older daughter also loved the artwork, and noted that she found the footnotes and references reassuring as she works to sort out her own testimony and evaluate the different voices in her life. Those who want to know more about Heavenly Mother will find it easy to track down more information about her from the writers quoted in the book.

This new book is a treasure that I look forward to revisiting frequently with my daughters. Buy a copy for yourself, your daughters, your nieces, your neighbors, and anyone else you can think of that could benefit from a stronger relationship with their divine matriarchal heritage (basically anyone). The authors are currently working on the companion volume, A Boy’s Guide to Heavenly Mother, which will be released later this year. You can order the Girl’s Guide right now on the publisher’s website https://dstreetpress.myshopify.com/products/a-girls-guide-to-heavenly-mother.

About Jessie Christensen

Jessie served a mission in Spain and graduated from BYU with bachelor's degrees in Spanish Translation and English, as well as a master's in Spanish Literature. She currently works full-time at a university library and nurtures her three children, one cat, and a fluctuating number of fish. She relaxes by reading, baking, canning fruit, and putting together jigsaw puzzles.

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