Friday, October 15, 2021

A Favorite PBT Post: Thanksgiving Books

The Thanksgiving holiday is my favorite holiday! Here are the best PBT books about gratitude. Use them to emphasize how gratitude to God & other people are important spiritual practices. Access info. about these books in 2 ways: 

For the 1st group, each title is a link that takes you to the original PBT post.


Click on the words "This Post" for 1 PBT post detailing a group of books.

Give Thanks to the Lord by Wilson & Bates

    Thank You, God by Wigger & Jago 

Thanksgiving in the Woods by Alsdurf & Lovlie

Circle of Thanks by Fower & Catalanotto

Bear Says Thanks by Wilson & Chapman

Gracias Thanks by Mora & Parra

This post lists several books at the end about giving thanks. Here are some of their covers.

Again, click on the words "This Post" found above for more info. on this group of books. May the spiritual practice of gratitude bless you today!

Friday, October 8, 2021

A Thanksgiving Grab & Go

As Thanksgiving season approaches, I'll be featuring some of my favorite picture books that emphasize gratitude. Here at PBT, a Grab & Go Book is one that has such rich content it requires little prep before using it in a group lesson. Today's  book describes the 20-year Thanksgiving tradition of a family in New York State in which over 200 friends and family are invited to celebrate in the woods.  

Picture Book: Thanksgiving in the Woods
Author: Phyllis Alsdurf
Illustrator: Jenny Lovlie
Summary: From the point of view of a young boy, this story builds with emotion as he prepares for the Thanksgiving tradition his grandparents have established.

His parents are excited too. Everyone gathers their outdoor clothes, some musical instruments, and treasures that make the season's rituals all the more pleasing. They drive a long way and finally meet up with Grandpa. The grandson climbs into the cab, and they're on their way to set-up for the feast and fun. 

They arrive at a clearing where cousins, aunts, and uncles are already busy preparing for the crowd to come. Bales of straw and wooden planks for makeshift tables are unloaded. A bonfire is prepared for lighting. 

The family gathers for a quick breakfast the next morning, anxious to get to the woods. 

Upon arrival, the kids start scrambling for kindling. Everyone needs to help with the preparations. A tractor arrives with a stately pair of grandparents in tow along with some other guests and pots loaded with foods for the feast. Hundreds of folks begin arriving with more food and a spirit of gratitude and anticipation. 

When the time is just right, all gather and sing the song Simple GiftsPlates are piled high. The children have built a special fort for their own smaller Thanksgiving in the woods. 

The festivities end with a huge circle of singing around a warm bonfire. The young narrator joins in with his recorder. Marshmallows are roasted amid the glow of the smoky fire. Yum! The days' experiences linger as the evening comes to a close. Folks pack their gear and head to nearby cars or homes. 

The boy and his immediate family make their way back to his grandparents' house, full of good food and marvelous memories.  From behind he hears a few voices around the fire still.

'Tis the gift to be simple.
'Tis the gift to be free.
'Tis the gift to come down 
where you ought to be. 

It's a perfect ending to a woodsy Thanksgiving tradition.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a secular view of an annual holiday that is grounded in faith for so many. It's a celebration of community, hospitality, and joyful feasting which are all important rituals and sacred practices in most faith communities. The song that is sung is an old Shaker hymn. The score for "Simple Gifts" is included in the back. Consider singing it together as a part of your program. 

Original Publisher & Date: Sparkhouse Family, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: I will give to The Lord the thanks due for The Lord’s righteousness… (Psalm 7:17); Give thanks to The Lord for The Lord is good… (Psalm 107:1); They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42); Let us consider how to stir up one another in love and good works, not neglecting to meet together… (Hebrews 10: 24); Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book as a Thanksgiving treat for your faith family.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Navigating the Best PBT Series


Here are some tips for getting to the best info. regarding the 800 or so books here at PBT. The book above is part of the Grab & Go series. These are books in which there is little need for prep before teaching a lesson. Here's another Grab & Go.

Using the search mechanisms to find these series is key. There are 2:

1.      The search box at the upper right of each post.

Nearby you’ll see my PayPal link. Just a 1-time gift of a few dollars shows me you are appreciative and this work is worth my time and effort.

2.    The search labels at the bottom of a screen page (not each post). BUT If you are on your phone, you likely have to click "view the web version.” These labels are listed alphabetically, but the list can be overwhelming. That's why I’m going to give you some specifics here.

Sometimes either mechanism works; sometimes only one. 

Here are those 3 PBT series that help you navigate some of my best work:

Grab & Go series 

    at the Search Box: type in "Grab."

    at the Search Labels: Look in the Gs for "Grab & Go."

The book above and below are other examples of a Grab & Go. The book below is also a God Book. That's a book that directly explores the nature of God. (more on God Books in a future post)

PBT Questions Want to know an easy way to consider a favorite secular picture book for a sacred lesson? This is your series! 

I use the word "questions" too often for you to use that word in the Search Box so these are accessible only at the Search Labels. Look in the Ps for "PBT Questions." The easiest question is first so scroll down for the first post in this series (Question 1). 

Click here to see that series which teaches my approach to considering secular picture book in 5 questions. For example, question #1: "Is God, Jesus, or The Holy Spirit in the book? (symbolically) The book above and below are PBT books with characters reminiscent of 1 or all of The Trinity.

PBT Redux 

    at the Search Box: Type in "Redux."

    at the Search Labels: Look in the Ps for "PBT Redux."

Here's an example of a PBT Redux. These are simply really good books that are worth mentioning again.

Have fun exploring these 3 series! Later I'll post about navigating more PBT series.