Cover image for Can I pray with my eyes open?
Can I pray with my eyes open?
Brown, Susan Taylor, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
In rhyming text, a child wonders how and when and where is the perfect way to say a prayer and realizes that there is no wrong time or place for prayer.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL560 .B66 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In rhyming text, a child wonders how, when and where is the perfect way to say a prayer and realizes that there is no wrong time or place.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. In an affecting (and effective) rhyming text, a young African American narrator touches upon many of the questions children might have about prayer: "When I don't know what I should do, / is that a time / to talk to You?" She even questions whether a prayer can be offered when she is angry. The answer to all her musings comes in the last two-page spread, with perhaps the least compelling lines of text; "I got an answer right away . . . there's no wrong time or place to pray." A picture of the girl and her mother embracing in front of a fireplace makes up for this limp ending. In fact, all the oil paintings are expertly executed and are at their most successful when depicting the girl in true-to-life situations, happily rollerblading or pensively looking out a car window. A nice place for parents and children to start a discussion about prayer. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

How does one say a perfect prayer? A young girl ponders this question while engaging in the summertime activities of her rural hometown, her thoughts developing into a prayer that, while occasionally awkward grammatically, is perfect in its directness and simplicity: "If I'm skipping rope or playing ball,/ or walking backward down the hall,/ When building castles on the beach,/ will You still be within my reach?" Baker's warm, vibrant oil paintings blend an almost photographic quality with impressionistic details. The people, the grass, the water, the trees are all energized and moving, the activity of the compositions reflecting the activity within the girl's mind. Together the art and text convey the deep yearning of the child to speak to God during all the moments of the day (at dinner with family, swimming in the creek, climbing a tree, playing soccer) and in all her moods (curious, adventurous, angry, hurt); she is seen with friends, family and by herself. Just as the message is nondenominational, the characters transcend questions of ethnicity: the girl is brown-skinned; her family and friends are multiracial. The final stanza awkwardly reverts from direct prayer to explanation, but the discrepancy is a mild flaw in a lovely book. For readers too young for Grandad's Prayers of the Earth (reviewed below), this is an excellent introduction to the same themes. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-In simple and perceptive verse, a child asks God if prayers made during all of her various activities will be heard. The answer is that they will; that no time or place is ever wrong for prayer. Realistic oil paintings in rich colors beautifully illustrate the rhyming text. They show a pretty African-American girl swimming in a gleaming brook, climbing high in a gnarled tree, flying a red kite, quarreling with her brother, feeling angry, Rollerblading, playing soccer, building sand castles at the beach, perching on the monkey bars, and gazing out the car window. Pictures with different perspectives and in a variety of sizes add further interest.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.