You Are Special, by Max Lucado ISBN 0439063655
Five out of five stars
This is another of the great children’s books by Max Lucado. Punchinello is a boy that lives in the village of the Wemmicks. All of the Wemmicks are made of wood, having been carved by Eli the woodworker. The social convention is that when a Wemmick does something praiseworthy, other Wemmicks place a yellow star on their body and when a deed is deemed otherwise, dots were placed on them.
Punchinello is largely devoid of the talents that receive stars, so his body is covered with dots. This makes him unhappy and he no longer wants to do anything for fear of receiving more of them. One day he met Lucia and she has no stars or dots on her body. Curious, Puchinello asks her why and she said that neither one will stick to her. When asked how she did it, Lucia says that she goes to see Eli the woodcarver and their creator.
Punchinello want to go see Eli in an attempt to be more like Lucia but he is concerned that Eli will not want to see him. Finally, he develops enough courage to go and learns that Eli is very happy to see him. Eli points out that Punchinello was carved by his hands so is by definition special. Eli tells him that as long as you know that you are special, the stickers do not matter and will not stick to you.
This book essentially is a retelling of the phrase, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” It is an excellent lesson for children in that a great deal of damage done by comments is self-inflicted. Negative comments will hurt you only if you let them, know that you are special and what other people say will not matter. While there are no religious words or phrases, this is a book that would fit well into Sunday school classes as well as every elementary school.