Cover Image: When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful

When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and B&H Publishing Group for an advanced read copy of this book.

When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful is a one of a kind children’s book that explains grace and repentance in a relatable manner for young children. The book walks through what to do when you mess up, how to handle guilt, God’s never failing love for his children, and how God can use you and your past mistakes to help others. Scripture references are added to each page to emphasize God’s truth.

This book would make a great read aloud for a Sunday School class to emphasize the Lord’s forgiveness.

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I love the premise for this title and think the concept is truly delightful and so needed. I love the idea that God turns the hard things into something good, and that He gives us wisdom and insight so we can help others who are wrestling with hard things too. The illustrations are beautiful! I found the flow of the story a little segmented which made the underlying concept and meaning to the storyline a bit hard to follow. Thank you for the ARC and I enjoyed reading this sweet story to my kiddos.

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What do you do with messy scribbles in your life? Whether they are mistakes or hardships or something else, the book prompts readers to give them over to God, be patient, and see how He can make them into something beautiful, a stepping stone, something that helps you grow or understand someone else, or even just being able to see it in a different light. Each page spread has a Bible verse at the bottom related to what the page talks about.

It was smart to choose a scribble because it is so nebulous it could be interpreted to mean a whole lot of things. I really like the artwork in this and that the characters are children of color (one is Black, one appears to be Asian). The book started out a little fluffy but gained substance towards the end so it bumped up from a 3 star to a 4 star. Could be good for little perfectionists or kids dealing with hard things.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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‘When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful’ written by Kate Rietema is a wonderfully, illustrated children’s book.

This book provides illustrations and scribbles that help to explain difficult experiences. The book provides examples of dark scribbles that are understandable for all age ranges.

My son and I enjoyed reading this book and looking at the illustrations by Jennie Poh. I was pleased to find scripture paired with the guidance that God is there for us. I appreciate that this author has targeted all ages and I love that Rietema uses scribbles to visualize the difficult things – anger, sadness, loneliness, and much more.

Thank you #NetGalley and #B&HPublishingGroup for the opportunity to preview this book in exchange for a review. All opinions and thoughts are those of my own. #WhenGodMakesScribblesBeautiful #B&H

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I am so excited to share this book with you. When you request a title on NetGalley, sometimes all you have is a title and a cover; sometimes, there's a description. I don't remember if there was a description with this one or not, but if there was, I didn't read it ahead of time, and I'm glad I didn't. What a beautiful book about how God is always at work, both in us and our circumstances. This book comes out on Tuesday, and everyone should add it to their cart now. It's perfect for readers of any age, and I really hope you share it with the kids in your life.


This is a book addressed to kids about how God is still working even when things seem like they're not going how we wish they would. Rietema calls those times "scribbles," and they feature dark black scribble marks in the illustrations. The text talks about how nothing can mess up God's plans and how He can use even the worst and darkest scribbles for something good and beautiful. The last two ideas explored in the book are that God is changing the things in our lives and changing us and how to share what we've learned from Him to encourage and comfort others. This is such a good book to introduce the topics of sanctification, perseverance, and Christian encouragement.

Things I Love

The message is so simple and useful. The idea that God is working in our circumstances, and in us is made so easy to understand. I particularly liked that the author gave several useful applications: Just because it isn't obvious doesn't mean that God isn't working; Sometimes, what God does inside is more important than what He's doing outside; We can share what we've been through to encourage others.

There are so many useful scripture references on each page. They are in accessible, kid-friendly language and just begging to be used as memorization aids. They feature a variety of translations of the Bible, most are CSB. Many of the ones you'd expect are there (Romans 8:28 and 1 Peter 5:7), and some that you may not. One of my favorites was

He has made everything beautiful in its time...
Ecclesiastes 3:11a (ESV)

Activities & Extensions

Make scribble art. This can take many different forms. Maybe you color in scribbles with lots of different colors, then create a drawing of something with black ink. Maybe you create a drawing with a random black line like this. Color in the sections and see what it looks like. Or look at some of Jackson Pollock's work and try your hand at replicating it.

Choose one or two verses from the book and memorize them yourself, with your child, or as a family. Use them to pray for yourself or other people who are in the middle of a dark scribble.

Praise God for When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful

Dear God, thank you for always working in our lives, even in our darkest black scribbles. Help us to see how you are working and how you have worked. Give us the courage to trust you, no matter what. And help us to encourage others as you encourage and comfort us. In your name, Amen.

I received an eARC copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my r

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I wasn't sure what to expect when I first saw the book title, but it kinda makes sense to talk about emotions, especially negative ones like loneliness and anger, as scribbles--things that don't make sense. Something that's messy and incomprehensible.

This book makes that analogy, coupled with Bible verses to put it in a more spiritual context, it helps little ones understand that God can help make sense of these, but we may have to wait... and if it's hard to wait, we look to God for that, too--to be given the patience for the scribbles to make sense.

Despite the "sadness" of the scribbles, they illustrations counter this as they were brightly colored and the characters were wonderfully drawn.

A good book to have if you want to help explain the doldrums away.

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I really enjoyed this sweet book. Such a reminder that God uses all of life even the scribbles of life to guide and direct us. It is a story also about finding your way. I will be reading this to my grandchildren. The art work is great.
Thanks for the advanced copy.

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I read this one with my toddler. She interacted with the illustrations very well, but I also on a deeper level understood the meanings which were so beautifully scribbled. This book was great to visually show how sometimes we are sad, scared and not sure but there is hope. And in our learning to understand and wait through the hard, hope still stays and when we come out on the other side, we can help others see there is beauty in the uncertain. Even though I read this book to my toddler, I feel the best age would be 5-8. But picture books never are too elementary for older readers as well. :)

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This is such a beautiful book! The artwork and truth throughout the book is wonderful. Kids (and adults) need to know how to navigate through troubles and hard times. I love how the author guides kids on how to deal with our troubles. God is the answer! We need God! The author also points to God’s Word throughout the book. As an adult reading this book I felt encouraged. I look forward to sharing this book with others.

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When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful by author Kate Rietema is a thoughtful Christian Children’s book. The lesson of turning to God and trusting Him when life is hard is written so that children will understand and relate. Each page has sweet illustrations to coincide with the story as well as a Bible verse. Children will be able to engage and learn from this tale. I highly recommend it. A copy was provided through NetGalley but these are my honest thoughts.
#WhenGodMakesScribblesBeautiful #NetGalley.

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When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful is a beautifully illustrated picture book about when hard things happen.

I loved the way that this book had Scripture on every page and that the author is seeking to teach kids that they can trust God, even when hard things do happen. It was so sweet to watch the boy in the story go from needing God's comfort to using the comfort that he has been given to comfort someone else--another beautiful thing to demonstrate to children.

I would absolutely recommend this picture book as a wonderful resource to help children walk through hard things.

Thank you to NetGalley and B&H Publishing group/B&H Kids for my gifted e-copy of this title.

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Love this idea of God using scribbles for good! The illustrations are fun and whimsical and definitely drew my kids in. My oldest is a perfectionist so this idea is so key for him to learn that God can use our mistakes and use our "scribbles" in life!

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I loved how this story explains hard times in an understandable way, how to face those struggles, and what the future may look like. This book is full of wisdom for any Christian in a difficult circumstance, but especially young children. You can pray in those hard times and trust God is there through it all with a greater plan, yet the hardship and pain you’re going through is not invalidated. It is still hard! And may take a long time to get through. Someday though, you will grow and can perhaps use your experience to be a light to someone else’s hardship. How wonderful it is that no matter how many scribbles there are, nothing can change God’s good plan!

Thank you NetGalley and B&H Publishing Group for this advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

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I am very grateful to B&H Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review of this book. Life is filled with harsh realities and challenges, and we don't start experiencing them only in adulthood but even when we are young. The dedication in this book is so wholesome and genuine and set the tone for the rest of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the biblical approach to addressing the scribbles in a child's life. Children and adults alike will be encouraged by the clear message to wait on the lord and trust him amid their scribbles.

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I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book but it was well written and seems biblically sound. I read it to my girls (4&7) and they enjoyed the pictures as well as the story, it seemed to make sense to them and they both were interacting with me as I asked questions based on the pages we read. Most pages has a Bible verse on the bottom as well, which I loved. I would recommend this book for anyone to use as a tool for walking with kids through life. Little or small, it can feel like there are scribbles drawn often in our lives.

Update: since first reading this book, my 4 year old has asked me to read it multiple times!

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The storyline of this picture book offers a child a place to put their troubled thoughts and experiences (dark scribbles) and then introduces a path toward giving God these troubles. This is all presented in a way that a child ages 2-6 can understand. I believe this book could be of benefit to any young child that has been through emotional trauma.

The illustrations by Jennie Poh are amazing. The calming colors and imaginative backgrounds look natural and flow easily from page to page. Including the “dark scribbles” as a subdued visual character draws the eye to them on the page and allows the child to identify them throughout the story.

I received this book from the author/publisher free of charge, with no expectation of a positive review.

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Thank you NetGalley for the copy of When God Makes Scribbles Beautiful by Kate Rietema.

This is a beautiful book with a wonderful message. I love the Bible verses to go along with the story. This would be a wonderful book for little kids that are struggling with feelings.

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Beautifully written and illustrated in such a way to speak to children who need a reminder that God is there working all things for good. The book carries a message that many need to hear: children and adults. The message is simple yet profound.

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A different look at how feelings and depression can effect young readers with a religious take on the steps to overcome these negative feelings "black scribbles" in life.

Overall, a good title to add to a diverse collection of SEL books for young readers.

I received a free copy from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14

What a very special book on foster care kids. The emotions that they go thru and how God is never far from the hurting. It is not only a book for foster care family but also for any family. It teaches our children awareness of others that may not have what they have in a family unit. Many scriptures thru out the "scribbles" that give hope and strengthens our faith.

Strong recommend for all Christian families.

A special thank you to B&H Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review

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