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Too Small to Ignore – Why Children Are the Next Big Thing

WaterBrook Press
RRP $23.95

Too Small to Ignore argues strongly for the importance of children, outlining the negative consequences of neglecting them and the benefits of carefully nurturing them.

Wess Stafford campaigns for children as integral members of church and community, aiming his book at the wider church, not just children’s workers.

The book is heavily anecdotal, which the author acknowledges. Stafford basically describes his own childhood in the 1950’s, contrasting an idyllic life with his missionary parents in a small African village with appalling experiences at a mission-run African boarding school, and later with his difficult transition back to the United States.

In addition, he offers endorsement from Scripture, supporting statistics and practical advice for nurturing children.

The large proportion of anecdotes makes Too Small to Ignore very easy to read. Stafford writes honestly, with great feeling and humour. At the same time, he is overly fond of metaphors and his style can be excessively dramatic. He uses dramatic licence when recounting Biblical examples in order to labour his point.

He also stresses the work of his own children’s aid agency (Compassion International), though it is clear that he is passionately committed to child advocacy in general, not to promoting his particular organisation.

While he is inclined to overstate his case, he also disarmingly admits as much.

The book is generally well structured, with minimal technical language and straightforward statistics. Nonetheless, Australian readers will have to make allowances for the pointedly American references and practical advice (an allusion to the “Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland” was lost on me!).

Sensitive readers should be alerted to a few slightly disturbing sections, including brief descriptions of sexual abuse and the 1994 massacres in Rwanda.

Too Small to Ignore is at once enjoyable and challenging, disturbing and encouraging.

Review by Renee England a member of Ipswich Central Mission