Monday, September 26, 2016

PBT Grab & Go #4 - A Cool Drink of Water

Here’s another high quality picture book that makes for a really easy theological lesson. Just read it, talk about the book, and connect it to scripture. However, if you want a longer or more substantial lesson with specific supplemental activities, I've written a lesson for you. 

 Lesson Available for just $3! Details below.

Picture Book: A Cook Drink of Water
Author: Barbara Kerley
Photographs from Multiple Photographers
Summary: Water is so crucial to life that it unifies people all over the world. This photographic essay beautifully reveals the variety and commonality of drinking water in various geographic cultures. How water is accessed is the central subject here as well as numerous means of holding water in places as varied as the Canadian Rockies, an Australian desert, and an island in Indonesia.  
Hanna’s Comments: This author has a series of educational picture books comprised of stunning National Geographic photography. Be sure to check out the map in the back of this book as well as the article on water conservation. You can also visit

I’ve created a lesson to go with this book that works with elementary aged children, tweens, or teens. The supplemental activities are fun and build on the concepts in the book and the scriptures connected in this post. If you’re interested in purchasing it for just $3, email me at We’ll arrange payment. Then I’ll send it to you electronically. The book, used or new, is easily available for purchase on-line.
Original Publisher & Date: National Geographic, 2006
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: With joy you will draw water (Isaiah 12:3); Living water/Woman at the well (John 4:4-42)
Idea(s) for Application: Use this book as part of a scripture lesson in which water is a key component or in a lesson on how our basic human needs connect us globally. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Preschoolers Know How to Follow

Picture Book: Follow Me      
Author & Illustrator: Ellie Sandall
Summary: Lemurs, many of them and of all sizes, 
follow their leader towards food, 
away from danger, 
and eventually sleep. 
This fast-paced rhyming book is packed with double page spreads of racing, chasing, 
and community delight. 
Follow me” is heard time and time again as the lemurs experience a crazy day in the rainforest.
Hanna’s Comments: Preschoolers know how to follow, so this is a good book for beginning to build concepts of discipleship to Christ and devotion to God. Hopefully these concepts will grow throughout their lives. To convert the reading of this book to a religious lesson, talk about the concept of “following.” Then give examples of how that word is commonly used in your family of faith. Specific behavioral examples will help them understand. For instance, say “Jesus listened to people. If you want to follow Jesus, then be like Jesus and listen to your parents.” OR “God wants us to follow God’s rules. ‘Do not lie’ is one of God’s rules. Telling the truth means you are following God’s rules.” This is the heart of discipleship and righteousness but those words are too big for young children. My PBT series Theological Statements for Young Children offers 12 posts based on 12 simple religious ideas. Each post lists age appropriate books that connect to each statement. Follow Me connects directly to several of these statements. Check out the beginning of this series [here] and email me if you’d like a list of the 12 statements.
Original Publisher & Date: McElderry Books, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: The 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-26); they left everything and followed Jesus (Luke 5:11); whoever follows me will not walk in darkness (John 8:12); if anyone serves me, you must follow me (John 12:26) 
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to young children when introducing them to the concepts of following Jesus or following God’s ways.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Series: PBT Techniques #1

Sources for Inspiration
This new PBT series will involve giving you some atypical methods for using picture books in ministry. I hope to stretch the possibilities in your mind and encourage you to think of your own ways to use picture books. If so, please share your ideas with us in a comment!

Traditionally picture books are incorporated into lessons, sermons, or small group discussions simply by reading them at the most opportune time given your other activities. Today’s post is about using picture books as sources for inspiration that inform your plans and support your objectives. Here’s a couple of situations:

There are times when a picture book is so rich with spiritual ideas that you can use it as a jumping off point for several programs. My husband has done this twice when writing his 8 curricula for our church’s City Kids Arts Camp. The first book he used was for very young children, but he was able to plan biblical activities for much older kids. 
In each case, I found the book and told him I thought it had potential. Then he tapped into his God-inspired, creative brain and began writing. You know the curriculum is a hit when at the end of the week, it is Bible Story Time that the children say they most enjoyed. 
These books also inspired other aspects of those 2 City Kids Arts Camps such as the logo, singing, and visual art activities. If you are interested in hearing more about these curricula, email me.

The second situation I offer is when a picture book has too much great information. This is sometimes the case in non-fiction picture books. Mining those books for ministry ideas is smart. I mentioned this method in two previous PBT posts.
In the first, I feature a non-fiction book, Tell Me Tree. Because trees are potent motifs for religious ideas, in [that post] I listed several books about trees. There are many more to discover in your local library.

The other post in which I mentioned this strategy features the picture book A Seed is Sleepy, one in a series of beautiful picture books full of fascinating information about natural objects. Other books in the series are listed [in the post here]. Today I’m glad to tell you about an addition to the series, A Beetle is Shy.
The following is a brand new picture book that would be really fun to use as a resource for designing activities when children are learning about the Body of Christ.
Picture Book: Your Pulling My Leg! 
                  400 Human-Body Sayings from Head to Toe
Author: Pat Street & Eric Brace
Illustrator: Eric Brace 
Summary & Comments: Scattered throughout this book are 400 idioms such as “a green thumb” or “winning by a nose.” Helpfully, the book is divided into body part sections.
Illustrations are fun but too small to share with groups of children. There is a board game with the same name (different publisher) that contains cards that might be fun to use.
Original Publisher & Date: Holiday House, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 7 and up, 2nd and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: We, though many, are one body in Christ (Romans 12:5); you are the body of Christ and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:27); the whole body, joined and held together… when each part is working properly… builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:16); Christ is the head of the body, the church (Colossians 1:18)
Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to create some games to play with your children when teaching them about the Body of Christ.