Friday, September 21, 2018

Generous Finding

Picture Book: Found
Author & Illustrator: Salina Yoon
Summary: This simple but profound story begins with Bear finding a very special toy bunny. 
Bear believes someone must be very unhappy and worried because the bunny is lost. Besides, it seems sad too.
Bear takes the toy home and determines to help the bunny return.
Bear creates a generous number of fliers 
and spreads them for his neighbors to see. 
Bear also checks out a nearby collection of notices of lost treasures. He's surprised by how many are lost. No bunny is listed among them 
so he keeps searching high... 
and low for possible owners.
Meanwhile, Bear grows quite attached to the bunny who no one is claiming. 
Bear and the bunny have many days of fun together. 
 On one of their fun outings, Moose approaches 
 and recognizes Floppy. 
 Bear has mixed feelings but knows Floppy is not his. 
Floppy is now home in Moose's arms. Bear says goodbye to Floppy.  
Then Moose has a very wise change of heart. 
Moose realizes many days have passed and some things have changed for Moose, Floppy, and Bear. 
Moose asks Bear to promise to take care of Floppy. Bear's response?  
Hanna’s Comments: This is a perfect PBT book for very young children, but if you can find a version that is not a board book, read it to older audiences for the underlying messages are many and rich with meaning. You could talk about tenderness with those who are lost, gentleness, empathy, treasures, ownership, legacy, and generosity which is in every page of this book. There is even a God symbol here as most illustrations include a lone witness in the form of a small yellow bird who is watching Bear be so generous with his time and efforts. Also, point out that Bear is quite the problem solver, so proactive and tireless, and he never names the bunny but refers to it as Floppy as soon as the owner does! Salina Yoon says this book was inspired by lost and found posters in her neighborhood. Be sure to carefully look at the notice board in the illustrations. I especially like Yoon's Penguin series (also in board book form). [Here's] a Christmas book in that series that I've featured in a PBT post about December holiday books. If you want a great picture book about being lost, I highly recommend Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson. Find it at PBT [here]
Original Publisher & Date: Bloomsbury, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, Toddler and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio CD
Scripture Connections: Any scripture about generosity, The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40); Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be (Matthew 6:21); the lost parables (Luke 15:1-32)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children and talk about the spiritual practice of generosity as demonstrated by Bear and Moose or talk about what it means to be lost, found, or at home.

Monday, September 17, 2018

PBT God Book #12 - Glory

Picture Book: Glory
Author: Nancy White
Illustrator: Debra Reid Jenkins
Summary: Glory be to God! Creation is celebrated as an enormous variety of creatures praise God in this beautiful book. How does a butterfly, frog, fish, turtle, or rooster praise God? God is praised when God’s creatures do what they are created to do, whether flying, wriggling, making a joyful noise, singing to God in silence.... In the case of the young costumed girl on these pages, praise involves pretending to be another of Earth’s marvelous creatures. Here’s a sample of the verse:
Glory be to God for friendly fur,
For wiggling nose and racing heart,
For twitching ears and throbbing purr,
Tails that stretch and tails that wag,
Tail buttons soft as cotton…
All creatures by their being praise their Creator’s name.
Hanna’s Comments: While reading this book to your audience, pause after each double page spread and encourage them to move their bodies, acting out the motions and voices of favorite animals on the pages. At the book's ending, together verbally praise God for the abundance and beauty we see in animal life. Get creative together and praise through writing a group poem. Talk about how animal characteristics serve their survival and how that is true for humans too. Surely God’s creative love is at work in these creatures and each of your listeners. Ask them for some examples of God's creative love in them - some passions and gifts they treasure or favorite aspects of their glorious bodies. Talk about how God can be praised at church, home, and nature throughout their lives.
Original Publisher & Date: Eerdman’s Books, 2001
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: Digital
Scripture Connections: Ascribe to the Lord the glory due God’s name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness (Psalm 29:2); let everything that has breath praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6); for by God all things were created, in heaven and on Earth (Colossians 1:16)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are learning about God’s creativity, human creativity, or the spiritual practice of praise.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pancake Generosity & Hospitality

 Picture Book: Mama Panya’s Pancakes:                                                        A Village Tale from Kenya
Author: Mary & Rich Chamberlin
Illustrator: Julia Cairns
Summary: This delightful story of abundance amidst scarcity begins with Mama Panya declaring to Adika that today is market day.  
Adika is "one step ahead of her" ready to go and waiting for her beside the baobab tree. 
Adika asks if Mama is planning to make pancakes. She says she has 2 coins so yes, pancakes tonight! 
Along the way they meet a friend and Adika invites him to come eat pancakes with them. 
Adika also invites 2 of his young friends working in the fields. These 3 guests are the first of many to be invited by Adika, despite Mama's worries. 
Mama fears she does not have enough coin for purchasing enough ingredients for the pancakes, but Adika reassures her saying, "you'll have a little bit and a little bit more. That's enough." 
At market, Adika continues to invite more and more friends. Sometimes the invitation is met with generosity from the seller with a little bit more given.  
Adika understands transactional generosity and keeps reassuring Mama that they will have enough as he invites more friends. 
 As guests arrive, they bring generous contributions to the meal. 
Adika was correct. There is plenty to enjoy at their abundant feast of food, music, and joy!    
Hanna’s Comments: Besides scriptures about generosity and hospitality which are abundant in our scriptures, I see 3 direct connections to Bible stories in this fabulous book (see below). It also connects with Jesus' instruction to not worry. In the back of the book, you'll find several sections of facts about Kenya, including samples of the language with pronunciations, a map, and Mama Panya's pancake recipe. If there is too much text for your audience, simply tell the story while showing the illustrations. Your audience will learn so much about Kenya and perhaps be inspired to be more generous and hospitable.
Original Publisher & Date: Barefoot Books, 2006
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Any scripture about hospitality and table fellowship; Elijah and the Widow (1 Kings 17: 8-16); do not worry (Matthew 6:25-34); loaves and fishes increased (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6: 1-14); the Widow's Mite (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of elementary children and connect with one of the scriptures listed above about the amazing abundance found in being generous and hospitable.