Small Talk

Small Talk

Almost every day, one of Amy Julia’s children says something or asks something that prompts her to think more carefully:  “What ‘lasting’ mean?” William wonders when he hears a song about God being an everlasting God. "If the children who died went to heaven, then why are we sad?” Penny asks, when she passes by a funeral for a victim of the Sandy Hook shootings. "I don't wanna' get 'tized!" says Marilee about baptism. These conversations deepen her relationships with her children, but they also deepen and refine her own understanding of what she believes, why she believes it, and what she hopes to pass along to the next generation.  

Small Talk is a narrative based upon these conversations. It is not a parenting guide. It does not offer prescriptive lessons about how to talk with children. Rather, it tells stories based upon the questions and statements Amy Julia’s children have made about the things that make life good (such as love, kindness, beauty, laughter, and friendship), the things that make life hard (such as death, failure, and tragedy), and what we believe (such as prayer, God, and miracles).

Amy Julia moves in rough chronological order through the basic questions her kids asked when they were very young  to the more intellectual and spiritual questions of later childhood. Small Talk invites other parents into these same conversations, with their children, with God, and with themselves. Moving from humorous exchanges to profound questions to heart-wrenching moments, Amy Julia encourages parents to ask themselves—and to talk with their children about—what matters most.

Author

Amy Julia Becker is the author of A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House), named one of the Top Books of 2011 by Publisher?s Weekly, and Penelope Ayers: A Memoir. Her next book, Small Talk: Learning from my Children about What Matters Most (Zondervan) will be published in October of 2014. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she blogs regularly for Christianity Today about faith, family, disability, and culture. She is also the author of two ebooks, the forthcoming What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing: Insights from a Mom who has Been There, and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious. Her essays have appeared in the Motherlode blog of the New York Times, the Atlantic online, First Things, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hartford Courant, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, and Parents.com. Amy Julia lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee, in western Connecticut.