Monday, May 21, 2018

New Series: Psalms for All Ages #1 (Ps. 139)

Coming up the first week of June, The Revised Common Lectionary has Christians all over the world reading portions of Psalm 139. It's my favorite psalm so I thought it would be fun to create a new PBT series that promotes connecting picture books to The Psalms
I'm passionate about The Psalms. We don't typically think of them as good subjects for lessons, particularly for children. But the whole range of human emotions and a vast range of human experiences are found in The Psalms. Besides, it's really good for our ears to hear poetry. Below you'll find 2 new books and many links to already featured books for exploring Psalm 139 across some age groups, youngest to adult.

Picture Book: From Head to Toe, God Made Me
Author: Mikal Keefer
Illustrator: David Harrington
Summary: This board book is part of a new 6 book series: Best of Li’l Buddies. 
The buddies featured are part of Group's VBS curricula. 
Whether or not your a fan of Group Publishing, you should check these out. 
The ideas are simple and the pages are few. 
Your kids will love the animals and the adventures each human has. 
At the bottom of this book's Amazon page, find a great chart that gives you the "Bible Truth" that each book covers.
Original Publisher & Date: Group Publishing, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 1 and up, Toddler and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
Hanna’s Comments: It's hard to find books for this age that are short enough but rich with content. Be sure to point out the other things in the book that God made wonderfully.

If your kiddos are a little older...
Picture Book: The Wonderful Happens
Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Coco Dowley
Summary: Cynthia Rylant is a master picture book author! This is a secular book, like most I feature at PBT, but it celebrates God's created world so beautifully.
The setting is a farm where the ordinary is declared extraordinary! Wheat becomes yummy bread. 
A simple egg becomes a creature of the air. 
A seed becomes a beautiful rose. 
Other transforming miracles are celebrated. 
Fruit becomes pies. Water makes tea. 
Puppies become dogs and weather changes. 
And these changes happen everyday in an on-going way. But the most amazing is You (the reader or listener), who "happened" in miraculous ways. 
The wonderful is you!
Hanna’s Comments: Earlier at PBT, I featured some other books for young children that connect well with the concept of being wonderfully made as is celebrated in Psalm 139. Molly Bang's All of Me! is a celebration of body parts. For preschool and elementary ages, consider Beaumont & Catrow's I Like Myself! Kids a little older will enjoy Turner and Catrow's When God Made You
Original Publisher & Date: Simon & Schuster, 2000 
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present 
Scripture Connections: I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

For older elementary children, tweens, teens, or adults, consider one of the many books here at PBT that celebrates artists. For these you can view the artists as wonderfully made OR you can see them as a metaphor for God - our wonderful maker. Here are links to several PBT books about artists:

Friday, May 18, 2018

CEF Conference Workshop and PBT eBook

Picture Book Theology: 5 Books, 20 Applications
How does that sound for a workshop title? 

If you’d like to see my presentation, attend the Curious Church Conference sponsored by CEF (Christians Engaged in Faith Formation) October 9-12 in Des Moines, Iowa. This is a great opportunity for those in church ministry (lay, staff, or pastors) to gather, connect, learn, worship, and discover. Some Christian headliners will be at the conference, like Brian McLaren and Carrie Newcomer. Find out more [here]. I hope many of you will join me in Iowa!

If you join CEF or are a member now, you can access my eBook 25 Picture Books about Justice published in partnership with CEF. Everyone can access a free sample via the PBT eBook tab above!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fruit of the Spirit Series: List & PBT Links

Find below a general book about Galatians 5:22-23, 3-4 books for each Fruit of the Spirit with a question to help you explore these, and a couple of books about a particular fruit or fruit in general.  
I’ve changed the order of the Fruits. I end the list with Love, Kindness, Goodness, & Faithfulness because conceptually they overlap. Conceptual overlapping is also true for Gentleness and Self-Control. 
Twice below I refer to a PBT series called 12 Theological Statements for Young Children which is a workshop I do for church-based preschool events. 
Paul's collection of positive and godly behaviors are traits we can all aspire to. Make this learning enjoyable and more meaningful to children (and their parents) in your faith family with these books:

Fruits of the Spirit (general)
Maybe God is Like That Too by Grant & Schipper

JOY  (Ask: How is joy shown in different ways by different characters?)
Yes Day! by Rosenthal & Lichtenheld (also a great secular book for Easter.)
Lola Loves Stories by McQuinn & Beardshaw
Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke & Tobia

PEACE (Ask: How does peace change you and others in the moment?)
Peace, Baby! By Ashman & Lew-Vriethoff
The Peace Book by Parr  
A Little Peace by Kerley     

PATIENCE (Ask: What does having no patience look like?)
Albert by Napoli & LaMarche (Too long? Tell the story & show the pictures.) 
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Stead & Stead
Owl Moon by Yolen & Schoenherr

GENTLENESS (Ask: How does gentleness help others?)
Be Gentle by Miller
You Will Be My Friend! by Brown (an opposite of gentleness offers humor and redemption)

SELF-CONTROL (Ask: How does self-control help these characters and you?)
More by Springman & Lies
Wild Feelings by Milgrim
#5 Theological Statement for Young Children: God gave you feelings. They’re not good or bad. What matters is how you act on your feelings.

LOVE (Ask: What does love look like here? Feel like here?)
The Invisible String by Karst & Stevenson
I Will Love You Anyway by Inkpen & Inkpen
Love is… by Adams & Keane 
Love by La Pena & Long (dark situations here, consider using paper clips to skip pages)     

KINDNESS (Ask: What kinds of choices are being made here?)
The Kindness Quilt by Wallace
Be Kind by Miller     Not yet posted.

GOODNESS (Some translations call this COMPASSION. Ask: What makes these characters’ behaviors good?)
Bear Feels Sick by Wilson & Chapman (This book is about servanthood.)
What Baby Wants by Root & Bartow (This book is about empathy.)
One Winter’s Day by Butler & Macnaughton (This book is about generosity.)

FAITHFULNESS (Ask: Who do you know that is faithful?)
The Carrot Seed by Krauss & Johnson (This books connects with being faithful to God. The other books are about being faithful to other people.)
I Promise by McPhail
Mama Always Comes Home by Wilson & Dyer
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Stead & Stead

Two Bonus Books
An Orange In January by Aston & Maren