Monday, July 16, 2018

PBT Series: Picture Book Classics #3

Below I'm featuring again a favorite discovery during my first year of PBT. Because that year I posted about a book everyday, you don't get as many photos of illustrations, but all the usual content is here. This is a beautiful classic that I encourage you to read for yourself if you don't know it. It's central message is needed more than ever across ages and in sacred and secular communities.  
Picture Book: The Happy Owls
Author & Illustrator: Celestino Piatti  
Summary: A pair of owls lives happily all year long. Their neighbors, barnyard fowl, are constantly eating, drinking, and fighting. The preening peacock wants to know why the owls seem to always be content. The other birds suggest that he visit them and ask. When the peacock asks about their happiness, the owls suggest he bring all his feathered friends to hear how they can be so content. Once all the birds are together, the owls explain and demonstrate their attentiveness and joy at seasonal details of nature. These practices of attention and gratitude lead to their happiness. The owls find joy and revel in the beauty of each season. What is the response of the barnyard animals? “What nonsense!’ and “Do you call that happiness?”  Then they return to their farmyard life, unpersuaded and unchanged. In contrast, the two owls snuggle in for winter, looking into one another’s wise owl eyes.
Hanna’s Comments: My library system has only one copy of this book, a 1964 publication. However, this classic has been reissued and can be easily purchased on-line. The price varies a lot so you may want to watch it for a while. I did not know of this classic which was initially published in Switzerland. When I saw the video in the collection mentioned below, I knew it must be one of my PBT daily offerings. What a treasure! What a beautiful message of contentment as a result of attention and gratitude, what we would call “mindfulness” today. If you like old books and styles of art, then you’ll especially like this picture book. Find a blog post about it on The Art of Children's Picture Books, which I've added to My Blog List to the right.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Artemis Verlag, 1963
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Audible, A video version is in the collection Corduroy & More Stories about Caring
Scripture Connections: This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be thankful (Psalm 118:24); let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28)
Idea(s) for Application: Reverence is a difficult but important concept to teach children in a worshiping community. Use this book to help your children understand the benefits of being mindful of God’s generosity and reverent when worshiping.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Grab & Go #14 – Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

A PBT Grab & Go book requires little planning because its content aligns obviously with theological ideas from The Bible. Bucket Filling is all about love. There are numerous resources, including other picture books, about the concept of bucket filling as a metaphor for the importance of loving attention. I've scattered a few covers of some of those resources in this repeated post from 2014. 
Picture Book: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?                                                     A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids
Author: Carol McCloud
Illustrator: David Messing
Summary: Based on the adult book How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, this picture book puts those authors’ ideas in an inviting format for children. The guiding metaphor here is that each of us has been carrying an invisible bucket since birth. The purpose of the bucket is to hold good thoughts and feelings about yourself. You need others to fill your bucket by being loving to you, and they need you to fill their bucket by being loving to them. What’s wonderful is that the act of filling someone else’s bucket fills your bucket as well. You feel good when you help others feel good. However, you might sometimes be a “bucket dipper.” Bucket dipping occurs when you take away someone’s good feelings by saying or doing mean things to them.
Hanna’s Comments:  I chose this "bucket" book because it teaches children how to fill others’ buckets and focuses on how our actions influence others’ well-being. This is an important aspect of any faith community. Another strength of this book is the way in which it teaches empathy, an important skill for personal resilience and functional community. Find an introduction by the author. For more information and resources including free downloads, visit
Publisher & Date of Publication: Ferne Press, 2006
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur videos on where there is also a song about being bucket fillers.
Scripture Connections: This is my commandment that you love one another (John 15:12); rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15); be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32); all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, love, a tender heart and a humble mind
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book when doing a lesson for children on your faith community’s loving interdependence and God's call to live in this way.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Oops! A 4th Book!

I didn’t realize that the children’s Bible that Marie-Helene Delval has written is in the same format as the other 3 books that I featured this month. I don’t usually feature Children’s Bibles here, but this one works for PBT because it’s so easy to use and offers a variety of material for lessons and conversations.
Picture Book: The Bible for Young Children
Author: Marie-Helene Delval
Illustrator: Gotting
Summary: This Bible offers age-appropriate language and imagery that together tell our story with God to young children. Here's how it says our story began:
The day and the night 
were all mixed together.
Then God said, 
Humans enter the story positively, without the Fall of Adam and Eve. 
A few key figures are highlighted, such as Jacob, but not many since there are only 40 entries. 
Some key events are included, especially if they are visually intriguing. Here the Israelites escape across The Red Sea. 
King Solomon's Temple is simply but beautifully portrayed. 
To be relateable, Jesus is shown as a child. 
Then Jesus "grows up," and meets people on his travels, blessing the sick and proclaiming the good news that all are God's "dear children." 
Sometimes when Jesus passed, he was greeted with happy pronouncements: "You are the Lord, the Son of God! You are blessed, the one who comes to bring us love and peace."  
But some people were not happy to see Jesus or hear his words. They wanted to kill him. 
The agony of the cross is shown from a distance. 
The next morning "the light of God brightened those who were sad. The love of God was stronger than death. Jesus had risen!" 
Take note that post-Easter events are not included. 
Hanna’s Comments: Like Delval's other 3 books that I’ve featured here, her children's Bible gives a small amount of text on the left and the image on the right. Each entry offers rich material for meaningful responses from young children. The simple format, means it’s more useful for grab and go situations than most children’s Bibles. There’s a simple 9 theme index in the back that can guide you quickly to the pages you want to read, but there are 40 total entries (usually several per theme). That's significantly less than most children’s Bibles. 
The highlights of our Holy Scriptures are definitely here so that you could use this resource for a series of very meaningful lessons or bedside conversations. 
Original Publisher & Date: Erdmans, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: An index in the back of this book gives you the scriptures references.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in Sunday School when you are pressed for a lesson that comes straight from the Bible.