Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 11

Picture Book: Whoever You Are

Author: Mem Fox

Illustrator: Leslie Staub

Summary: This book celebrates the diversity of the world’s human beings, while exploring the ways in which people are alike and different.

Hanna’s Comments: The affirming text and vibrant illustrations invite discussion of how the global community is connected yet beautifully diverse.

Publisher & Date of Publication: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2006

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? yes

Formats other than Book: Youtube video

PBT Category: Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: beauty, body of Christ, community, differences, diversity, earth/world, family, humanity, image of God, pacifism/peace/peaceful/peacemakers/peaceable kingdom, unity, wonder

Scripture Connections: made in God’s image (Genesis 1), wonderfully made (Psalm 129), body of Christ (Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4)

Idea(s) for Application: This book would be a great gift from your faith community to families with new babies. It could also be used in a program for training foreign missionaries or a faith community that is serving or welcoming a group of refugees. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Picture Book at Day for a Year: Day 10

Picture Book: The Doorbell Rang

Author & Illustrator: Pat Hutchins

Summary: A mom makes cookies for her children. As they are discussing how to divide them equally, neighbors come by and are invited in to share the cookies so the division problem changes. This happens repeatedly. Meanwhile, they remember that “No one makes cookies like Grandma.” Just after too many guests arrive to allow for a cookie a piece, Grandma shows up with a new batch of cookies.

Hanna’s Comments: This is such a fun story of hospitality, generosity, and mathematical division! And you have the valuable component of a grandmother’s gift being celebrated and shared.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Greenwillow Books, 1989

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages: 24

Available in Spanish? yes

Formats other than Book: audio (cd & Audible)

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adaptation/assimilation, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, blessings, change, communion/Eucharist, consumerism/consumption/riches, cooperation, exclusion/inclusion, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, God’s will, golden rule, grandparents, hospitality, image of god, jubilee, kingdom of God, manna, mothers, neighbors, nurturing, openness, outsiders, parents/parental love, pleasing God/the Shema, possessions, prevenient grace, righteousness, sacrifice, self-control, sharing, (at) table, temptations, works vs. faith or grace

Scripture Connections: Abraham’s hospitality (Genesis 18), God give manna (Exodus 16), Jesus makes wine at a wedding (John 2), Boy with Loaves & Fishes aka Feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13, Mark 6:31, Luke 9:10, John 6:5)

Idea(s) for Application: Use in a homeschool or private school Math class where theological aspects of the book can be discussed as well as the Math components.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 9

Picture Book: A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Author: Philip C. Stead

Illustrator: Erin E. Stead

Summary: Amos is a volunteer at a zoo where he has daily rituals with specific animals. The day he doesn’t show up, a group of his animal friends ride the bus to his home to check on him and engage in those important rituals, some of which they have to amend.

Hanna’s Comments: This story is full of ministry applications because Amos and the animals are so attentive and present with one another in their rituals. Plus, the story and illustrations are hilarious! It would be a wonderful gift for someone who is recuperating.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Roaring Brook Press, 2010

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio book

PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott Medal), Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book connects with: acceptance, action, affection, attentiveness/ observation/seeing, authenticity, belonging, body of Christ, bonds/connections/connectedness, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, commitment, community, dependence/interdependence, differences, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, diversity, encouragement, friends/friendship, fruit/fruit of the spirit, goodness, helping, healing/healthcare, humility, image of God, kindness, kingdom of God, love, memories/remembering/ritual /tradition, mission, outreach, pacifism/peace/peaceful/peacemakers/peaceable kingdom, patience, pleasing God/the Shema, presence, quiet/silence, relationships, respect, reverence, satisfaction, servanthood/service/serving, steadfastness, unity, variety

Scripture Connections: the Woman at the Well (John 4), 3 of the Beatitudes - for the meek, the merciful, and the pure in heart (Matthew 5)

Idea(s) for Application: Stephen Ministry (or any caregiving) Training

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Picture Book for a Day for a Year: Day 8

Picture Book: This Little Light of Mine

Illustrator: E.B. Lewis

Summary: This beautifully illustrated version of the African-American spiritual has a young boy looking in the mirror and then interacting with neighbors in delightful and helpful ways including offering comfort to a boy who is upset and then inviting him to play basketball.

Hanna’s Comments: There are several other books of this song, some with an audio component, some combined with other songs. I found a board book version that I like for young children by Mcnicholas. For children 4 and up, I especially like these illustrations. The score is in the back.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Song Book

PBT Topics this Book connects with: abilities, action, adoration, authenticity, bravery/courage, choir/music/singing/songs, communication, community, confidence, darkness/evening/night, emotions/feelings, encouragement, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, gladness/happiness, goodness, gospel/good news, helping, hospitality, image of God, intercession, joy, kindness, kingdom of god, leadership/servant leadership, light/morning, neighbors, neighborhood, openness, outreach, participation, passion, pleasing God/the Shema, power, presence, reflection (self), response to God, righteousness, risking, satisfaction, social justice

Scripture Connections: the Lord is my light & my salvation (Psalm 27:1), a lamp under a jar (Luke 8:16), a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14-16)

Idea(s) for Application: a children’s music class

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 7

Picture Book: Planting the Trees of Kenya:                                                                    The Story of Wangari Maathai
Author: Claire A. Nivola

Illustrator: Claire A. Nivola

Summary: Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan biologist and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, founded the Green Belt Movement in Africa. She was a Roman Catholic whose faith spurred her to work for environmental justice. This is her story.

Hanna’s Comments: There are many children’s books about Wangari Maathai. This version is available in a variety of languages and includes a detailed author’s note about Wangari Maathai’s work. Find another PBT post featuring a book about Maathai which highlights her personal story at this link: . Wangari Maathai died in 2011. There is much information about her on-line.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes and others

Formats other than book: Tablet versions available for other books

PBT Category: Biography

PBT Topics this Book connects with: abuse/abuse of power, action, Africa, attentiveness/observation/seeing, beauty, brokenness, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, care of creation, challenges, change, commitment, community, consumerism/consumption/riches, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, the environment/nature, flowers/leaves/trees, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, fruit/fruit of the spirit, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, gifts/giftedness/talents, God’s will, helping, healing/healthcare, heroes, home, hope, image of God, injustice, insecurity, jubilee, labor/work, land/mountains, leadership/servant leadership, life, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mentors/teachers, mission, nurturing, participation, perseverance, pleasing God/the Shema, poverty, power, problems/problem solving, renewal/restoration, savior/saving, sin, teamwork, time/timing/over time, transformation, unity, victims, water, wisdom

Scripture connections: Scriptures about trees (Psalm 1:3, Isaiah 60: 13, Jeremiah 17:8), Tree of Life (Revelation 22:2), build your house on rock, not sand (Matthew 7:24, Luke 6:46)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book during a children’s program on Contemporary Heroes of Faith, Environmental Justice, or Creation Care.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 6

Picture Book: Where Does God Live?

Author: Holly Bea

Illustrator: Kim Howard

Summary: Curious Hope asks her mom about where God lives. Her mom gives a simple answer referring to heaven. Then Hope explores the possibilities on her own as she encounters nature. Later Hope’s wise grandmother, who has lived a long life of faith, clarifies for her God’s presence throughout the world and about how prayer works. Hope goes home and tries out prayer finding it surprisingly satisfying and God very accessible.

Hanna’s Comments
: This book seems quite simple, but it is rich with theology about God’s nature, presence, and accessibility in the world and God’s presence in each of us. Don't assume it is just for children. Hope's questioning nature and the faith presented by her grandmother are fertile ground for rich conversation by people of all ages.

Publisher & Date of Publication: H. J. Kramer, 1997

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages
: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than book: Tablet

PBT Category
: God Book

PBT Topics this Book connects with: abundance/bounty, blessings, creation, the environment/nature, God’s nature, God’s presence, grandparents, heaven, image of God, prayer, questioning/questions, quiet/silence, reverence, wonder

Scripture connections: My presence will go with you (Exodus 33:14), you will find me if you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13), I am with you always (Matthew 28:20)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book for a children’s Sunday School lesson on the importance of asking questions of God or an adult lesson about how a life of faith can involve questions and assurance. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 5

Picture Book: Hope is an Open Heart

Author: Lauren Thompson

Photographers: various

Summary: This picture book offers a photographic essay about the concept of hope using beautiful and inspiring photographs from around the world to demonstrate hope’s universal meaning. Photograph captions range from “hope is the warmth of strong arms around you” to “hope is sad tears flowing making room for joy.”

Hanna’s Comments: The abstract concept of hope is demonstrated through a variety of cross-cultural images in this simple but compelling picture book. It is good for even young children, who are likely concrete versus abstract thinkers. They can begin developing their understanding of this important and commonly used word. In the back, you’ll find a section called More thoughts on hope… where the author explains how the concept of hope began to have a richer meaning after witnessing the events of 9/11 and interviewing those who have experienced other devastating tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina. I have written an adult and a children's lesson about hope with this book as a component. You may purchase both for just $4. Contact me to request it via a comment here or my email: 

Publisher and Initial Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2008

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than book: None at present

PBT Category: Non-fiction

PBT topics this book loads on: bravery/courage, challenges, confidence, faith, hope, perseverance, strength/strength in God

Scripture connections: Be strong & courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6); they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:13); for surely I know the plans I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11); rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12); may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13)

Idea(s) for application: Read this book during an adult or children's Sunday School lesson about hope or read to a small group to begin a therapy session.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 4

Picture Book: Stone Soup

Author & Illustrator: Jon J. Muth

Summary: This is an old legend of scarcity, fear, & selfishness in which 3 strangers enter an unwelcoming village & begin to make stone soup, a dish in which sharing is required. The strangers are at first not welcomed. Once they begin making their mysterious stone soup, the hungry villagers become curious. It takes a child's courage to make contact and urge her elders to come see, and smell, and eventually taste. Little by little, the villages give out of their scarcity and taste the marvels of generosity and community.

Hanna’s Comments: Various versions of this old tale have been published; this one has a beautiful Chinese setting. Tom Chapin has recorded a wonderful song with the same title and story. The video version was shared during worship at my church when we were launching a year of focusing our local mission activities on food deserts in our city. This is truly a beautiful book with an incredible message that all will enjoy! 

Publisher & Date of Publication
: Scholastic, 2003

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Preschool and up

# of Pages: 32 pages

Available in Spanish? Yes (Marcia Brown’s version of this tale) and the Spanish version is available in video form (see below)

Formats other than book: tablet, video on-line and in the video collection: Strega Nona and Other Caldecott Award-winning Folk Tales

PBT Category: Traditional Tale, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book connects with: abundance/bounty, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, Asia, body of Christ, community, cooperation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, dependence/interdependence, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, greed/selfishness, hiding/isolation/separation/walls, joy, jubilee, outsiders, possessions, poverty, rocks/stones, sacrifice, sharing, teamwork, transformation, trust/trustworthiness, variety, vision

Scripture Connections: ...and a little child will lead them. (Isaiah 11:6); Boy with Loaves & Fishes (Matthew 14:13, Mark 6:31, Luke 9:10, John 6:5); any scripture about generosity and hospitality

Idea(s) for Application
: Read this book to your faith family and explore the importance of hospitality, generosity, abundance rather than scarcity, or unity in community.