Giant from the Fire Sea
by John Himmelman, published 2019
“This giant’s understanding came slowly, seasons upon seasons. I looked and looked at the markings-letters, you mans call them… The letters held open my head, like a stick propping open an oaken door on a day of snapping winds.”
As you can see by the short sample text I’ve quoted, this is a “thinking” children’s book. It takes work and persistence to read it, yet the reward is both an adventure and a philosophical understanding about man’s fear of the unknown. The story revolves around the metaphor for humanity in the form of a giant, who was kicked out for learning to read the stars. But the truth that this children’s book addresses head on the is stupidity that rests with superstition versus knowledge and science. Is this relevant to children today? Well, are there people dismissing client change as fake science? If you know the answer, you’ll know why this children’s book is important. The bottom line- we all need to look ignorance in the eye and deal with it.
There are some parts of this book that might be hard for a sensitive child, particularly the flashbacks to when the giant was forced from his country after a very challenging “trial-by-lightning.” Somehow, I was able to read that part and not freak out, and I’m pretty darn sensitive. The rest of the book is really about loyalty, and determination to do the right thing. The characters are filled with heroism, though it is somewhat understated.
I liked this children’s book, and I can say that I’m glad I read it. I hope there are some young readers out there who will put forth the effort to engage with it.