Friday, July 21, 2017

PBT Techniques #8 - Adapt for a Play

Now and then I read a book with illustrations that I think do the book a disservice. Below I’m featuring one of those books and giving you ideas about using this book’s great content in a different way.
Picture Book: The Want Monsters: And How They                                          Stopped Ruling My World
Author & Illustrator: Chelo Manchego 
Summary: Want Monsters just want to make people happy. The little guy in the illustration below explains that his Want Monster, Oskar, motivates him do GOOD things, but lately Oskar has gone a little crazy! 
He wants four cupcakes, not one. The narrator gives in 
and gets sick which leads to a lot of time in the bathroom! Oskar has grown some extra thumbs. He spends too much time playing games in front of a screen. 
Now the little guy's high fives hurt! 
 The desire for attention gives Oskar a crown, but
when the boy gets too much attention, no one else wants to be around him! 
Oscar gives the boy a flower with a caterpillar in it; the boy asks the caterpillar if he too has a Want Monster. 
The caterpillar explains that eating is already all he wants to do, 
but that is the way of caterpillars so they can become butterflies. 
He suggests that the boy tell Oskar "no." 
That won't always work so just let "Oskar be Oskar."  
When our narrator had ice cream the next day, Oskar insisted on the whole carton, but the boy stood up to him. 
Oskar tantrumed, the boy ignored, and both forgot about the want of ice cream. When the best video game ever, "Zombies Ate My Teachers" came out, both were happy. 
But when "Zombies Ate My Teachers TWO" came out just 10 days later, Oskar insisted that another trip to the video store was in order.
The boy explained that you can have too much of a video game. Besides, new games come out all the time and don't keep them happy for very long. 
Oskar tantrumed, but both eventually forgot about that particular want.  
When they saw a girl win a big contest on TV, Oskar got jealous and wanted his boy to win a contest on TV, but the boy responded, "We can't have everything we want." Oskar tantrumed. Eventually, Oskar forgot. Eventually, Oskar got much smaller. 
Renamed, Oskarcito, he is being trained to want things that make everyone feel good, like kindness and sharing. 
Everyone wants those and feels good afterwards!
Hanna’s Comments: The ideas in this book offer great potential for meaningful conversation with elementary-aged children about greed, gluttony, anger, and difficult relationships. Convert this story into a simple play that your kids act out. They will relate and be able to easily act out these emotions and respond to these situations. In fact, have your children help you write the play. You might want to have some of your girls help write a character who tells about how girls struggle with Want Monsters. Expand it even further by including some of their parents Want Monsters too! Be sure to cast kids for human and Want Monster characters. The best learning happens when we are synthesizing information. That means we take various aspects of what we have learned, combine, and make something new. Writing and producing a play about this book might be a great tool for making a difference in these issues that hit at the heart of modern family dynamics.
Original Publisher & Date: Shambhala, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. (Psalm 78:18); A greedy man stirs up strife. (Proverbs 28:25); Take care and be on your guard for covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. (Luke 12:15); You are God’s holy temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17); Their god is their belly…with their minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:19); Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5); Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation…The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:9-10); The desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in posessions – is not from God but is from the world. (1 John 2:16)
Idea(s) for Application: Use this book as a basis for a play that your children act out. Connect the issues in this book to some of the many scripture verses about greed and gluttony.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Contemplative Wonder

Picture Book: Take Your Time: A Tale of Harriet, the Galapagos Tortoise
Authors: Eva Furrow & Donna Jo Napoli
Illustrator: Laurel Molk
Summary: Slow is the way of Harriet, an actual tortoise brought to Australia in the 1800s from the Galapagos Islands.
This story is about her ways on the islands of her birth. 
It includes her slow eating experiences, 
her long sleeps, 
and the puzzlement of other animals who claim she is missing out! 
Harriet begins to wonder what she's missing so she slowly ventures out. She always wanted to see the penguin parade on one of the other islands. 
That event happens in summer so Harriet leaves with months to spare. "She is in no hurry. There is plenty to see along the way," Hammerhead sharks, humpback whales, 
and giant rays. 
Harriet arrives just in time to see the penguins march 
and many other animals: pink flamingos, blue-footed boobies, and red-throated frigate birds are among them. Harriet offers a ride to some young iguanas, a ride so slow that the iguanas grow as Harriet takes them across the dunes. 
When the rainy season comes, Harriet digs a pool for her new friends: centipedes, snakes, and crabs. 
Once the year ends she decides it's time to head for home, slowly as always. 
Months later as she approaches her home island, a group of dolphins comment on Harriet's slow ways. 
They encourage her to jump on and experience "life in the fast lane." Harriet gives it a try. 
She is amazed by their fast pace and graceful ways, but soon the ride gets rough and water and salt are in her face. The thrill is gone. 
Harriet let's go and leisurely swims the last 5 hours to her home while savoring the beauty of the sun and the cool rhythmic waves. The long journey was glorious! 
Once home, Harriet reflects on the variety of movements she witnessed among the animals. She thinks it is so nice that everyone has their own rhythm like herself.  
Harriet slowly settles into the grasses of her home, steeped in wonder and satisfied.
Hanna’s Comments: Harriet is a contemplative figure. She reminds me of a wise old woman, who has much to teach us about slowly discovering the beauty and wonders of God over a lifetime. Perhaps she reminds you of someone in your family of faith or faith history. When Harriet died in 2006, experts said she was about 175 years old, the oldest animal in captivity. Check out the Author's Note in the back of the book for more about the real Harriet. Here's a link to a 2 minute video of her. What a face! There are many videos of giant Galapagos tortoises slowly swimming and walking. These would be great supplements to a program on contemplation or a lesson for young children about God's creative diversity. Ironically, these animals were thought to be poor swimmers until they were seen traveling from island to island, taking their sweet time. Galapagos tortoises are near extinction because of hunting so they are now protected and prized for their slow ways and long lives.
Original Publisher & Date: Henry Holt & Co., 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Digital
Scripture Connections: I love the place where your glory abides. (Psalm 26:8); The earth is full of your goodness, O God! (Psalm 33:5); Oh taste and see that God is good. (Psalm 34:2); With you is the fountain of life. (Psalm 36:9); Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10); My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast when I meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalm 63:5-6); You make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. (Psalm 65:8); Blessed be the Lord God who alone works wonders… may the whole earth be filled with the Lord’s glory. (Psalm 72-18-19); Yours is the day, yours also the night (Psalm 74:16); The whole earth is full of your glory. (Isaiah 6:3); I will show you hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6); Awake, awake, put on your strength. (Isaiah 52:1); Happy are those who meditate on wisdom, who reflect in their heart on her ways and ponder her secrets. (Ecclesiasticus 14:20-21)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults in your faith family and explore the benefits of a slower pace, contemplation, and wonder at God’s beauty and glory. Another application is to read this book in a lesson for young children about God's creative diversity. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

An Artist Who Just Kept Sharing

Picture Book: Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just                                                              Kept Drawing
Author: Kay A. Haring
Illustrator: Robert Neubecker 
Summary: You’ll likely recognize some of the art of the artist celebrated in this new picture book 
which was written by the artist's sister.
Because his father was an amateur cartoonist, Keith Haring grew up with drawing as a family pastime, 
but Keith Haring never stopped drawing! 
He even invited friends over to draw together. 
He was especially fond of symbols 
and spent his teen years in his room with music blaring while he drew on every piece of paper he could find. 
After winning an art contest in high school, Haring gave the drawing away when asked how much he would charge for it. 
In art school, Haring was inspired by new and popular ideas. The art school wasn't so pleased so he quit. Thus began his move away from traditional art and the ways of traditional artists. 
Haring moved to NYC where the city became his canvas. 
He first intrigued commuters in the subways where his distinctive chalk drawings would fill black chalkboards which usually held ads. 
Later he often drew on the streets, sometimes cleaning up an area before painting his joyful figures. He accepted that his art would get washed away and he would get in trouble for graffiti
But "he just kept drawing." His art became so recognizable and popular that an art gallery gave him the first of many exhibitions. 
All his art sold. When interviewed, he said that he didn't really need the money and would be donating most of it to food organizations for hungry children. 
Haring's work often celebrated children and families. Below you'll see how he invited 1000 children to help him create his 6 story long rendition of The Statue of Liberty on her 100th anniversary. 
When he was asked to exhibit in international museums and galleries, he insisted there be a place where he could paint a mural for all to enjoy, not just those who could afford museums and art purchases.
Haring's sister relates the passion of her brother's vocation by saying "he would draw on anything, anytime, anywhere." 
Wherever he went and whatever he did - he would not stop... 
Hanna’s Comments: The older children and teens in your faith family will relate to Keith Haring. His art is so accessible and yet he was a rebel of the art world. I believe it is important to give children & teens stories of those who tap into their gifts and explore their vocations as young people. It behooves us to help our children explore how their gifts, interests, and inclinations might bless the world. Haring is a wonderful example of knowing who you are meant to be and sharing your gifts for a better world. He seems to have been such a good human being who related to the world in ways that mostly celebrated being human. 
Image result for keith haring
Haring died of AIDS in 1990. His death is not mentioned in this book except in the back where you'll find a lot more info. about his childhood, details about the art in this book, and some fun photos. 
There are a lot of interesting images and stories about Haring on the internet that you can use to bolster any program you want to do on him in your faith family. I was already a fan but there's a 30 minute video on Youtube that made me like him all the more. Here's a story about Haring's Statue of Liberty banner 20 years later. 
Original Publisher & Date: Dial Books, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Our lineage is that we have been blessed to be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2); For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11); Blessed are the pure in heart for they will seek God. (Matthew 5:8)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of teens who are beginning to explore how God's gifts of their talents, interests, and inclinations can be a blessings to the world.