Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 42


Picture Book: Extra Yarn

Author: Mac Barnett

Illustrator: Jon Klassen

Summary: In a colorless world, Annabelle finds a box filled with multi-colored yarn and begins knitting for herself and others. Miraculously, the yarn never runs out. As Annabelle brushes against criticism for her knitted pieces, she knits for the one who is criticizing and all are converted to the beauty and transformational nature of her work. When a rich archduke wants to purchase the extraordinary yarn and Annabelle refuses, he steals the box. Once in his castle, he opens the box to find it empty. Angrily he throws the box out into the ocean where it floats back to Annabelle so that she can continue her knitting. 


Hanna’s Comments: This metaphor of how a young girl’s loving creativity can transform a community is intriguing. I especially like the way the illustrator leaves a piece of yarn attaching each character to another, demonstrating the loving bonds Annabelle is creating with her generosity. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Balzer + Bray, 2012 

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

# of Pages: 40 

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: several amateur videos are on Youtube

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

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abundance/bounty, abuse/abuse of power, action, beauty, blessings, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, commitment, community, consumerism/consumption/riches, coveting/envy/jealousy, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, fruit/fruit of the spirit, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, gladness/happiness, gospel/good news, greed/selfishness, healing/healthcare, helping, individuality/uniqueness, joy, kindness, love, manna, miracles, mission, mystery, neighbors, neighborhood, outreach, purpose, sharing, transformation, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Jesus’ healing power, Dorcas’/Tabitha’s good works (Acts 9:36-42), Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) & particularly Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

Idea(s) for Application: This book offers a beautiful metaphor for spreading love with your giftedness. Share with a group doing prayer shawl ministry or use in any lesson on the transformational & healing power of generosity and good works for others.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 41



Picture Book: Sparky

Author: Jenny Offill

Illustrator: Chris Appelhans

Summary
: The narrator in this clever book is determined to have a pet. When her mother agrees only to a pet that wouldn’t need to be walked, bathed, or fed, a sloth is ordered by mail. Sparky, the sloth, is not quite what the narrator hoped for especially once she sets up a “Trained Sloth Extravaganza” after a friend criticizes Sparky. Though the training is both hilarious and disappointing, the determination and unconditional love that the narrator has for Sparky is inspiring.

Hanna’s Comments: Throughout this tale, “a promise is a promise” is proclaimed so you'll see Sparky is about a lot more than a girl and her unusual pet. It also touches on issues such as accepting differences, overcoming disappointment, suffering because of jealousy & comparison, and patience in addition to keeping promises.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Schwartz & Wade, 2014

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet


PBT Category: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, adoption, animals, authenticity, belonging, challenges, chosen, coveting/envy/jealousy, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, disappointment, laziness/sloth, patience, pets, preparation/preparing, presence, pride, promises/vows, quiet/silence, sin, waiting

Scripture Connections: Be patient & don’t fret over what others have (Psalm 37:7), Don’t compare yourselves with others (2 Corinthians 10:12)

Idea(s) for Application: a perfect book for a minister whose congregation is not growing as fast as hoped

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 40


Picture Book: You Will Be My Friend

Author & Illustrator: Peter Brown

Summary: Young Lucy’s plans for making a new friend backfire repeatedly because of her over enthusiasm & lack of respect. Just before giving up & when not even trying, a new friend finds Lucy. Their differences don’t seem to matter.

Hanna’s Comments: Sometimes the best way to illustrate a concept is by reading a picture book that demonstrates the exact opposite. This book is a great example. Poor Lucy tries too hard to make a friend. She is too pushy and too enthusiastic. This would be a great book for lessons on gentleness, meekness, humility, respect, self-control, & the patience required while waiting for something to happen. Therefore, you’ll find these topics listed below even though poor Lucy is anything but. When you do this type of book reading, conversation will be crucial. You must explicitly contrast the picture book with the concept you are teaching.

Publisher & Date of Publication
: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011

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

# of Pages
: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book
: None at present


PBT Category: Post 2 K

PBT Topics this Book Con
nects with: acceptance, chosen, communication, conflict, consequences/punishment, cooperation, disappointment, evangelism, friends/friendship, gentleness/meekness, humility, loneliness, mistakes, partners/teamwork, patience, perseverance, perspective, presence, relationships, respect, risking, searching, self-control, waiting 

Scripture Connections: The Golden Rule/The Great Commandment (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 7:12), A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17), This is my commandment that you love one another (John 15:12)

Idea(s) for Application: This book would be a hilarious conversation starter on Evangelism Do’s and Don’ts.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 39


Picture Book: Xander’s Panda Party

Author: Linda Sue Park

Illustrator: Matt Phelan

Summary
: In very clever verse, Park captures the frustrations of planning a party. Xander wants to have a party. He carefully creates his invitation, menu, and guest list. As he invites various species of animals at the zoo, he realizes important species are being left out. For instance, Xander begins by inviting other bears. The koala "bear" protests, complaining that being a marsupial, not a bear, means she's not invited. So Xander expands his guest list to include all mammals. At other times, animals who are invited complain, that their cross-species friends can't come. Rhionceros says, 

"It may sound a bit absurd, 
but I won't come without my bird." 
Similar guest list conundrums arise, but Xander's hospitable nature has him expanding the species of animals he will invite. Eventually, all creatures are invited to Xander's party, even the humans at the zoo.

Hanna’s Comments
: Animal taxonomy (how species are organized) is explored throughout this delightful story so your children might learn a little science while hearing about being more inclusive and hospitable. The author also offers a note at the end with some history about animal taxonomies. For these reasons, this book would be a wonderful part of an elementary science lesson on animal classification. Homeschools or private schools could connect this story to The Parable of the Banquet Guests or the spiritual practice of hospitality. It would be an excellent read-aloud in a worship service, especially when hospitality is the theme. Point out how Panda is also using his empathy skills, an important part of loving neighbors as directed in the scriptures. 


Publisher & Date of Publication: Clarion Books, 2013 

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

# of Pages: 40 

Available in Spanish? Not at present 

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category
: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, acceptance, body of Christ, bonds/connections/connectedness, celebration/party, chosen, community, differences, diversity, evangelism, exclusion/inclusion, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, friends/friendship, hospitality, integration, kindness, listening, neighbors, neighborhood, relationships, sharing, transformation, variety

Scripture Connections: Treat the stranger as a native (Leviticus 19:34); Love your neighbor (Mark 12:31); Parable of the Banquet Guests (Luke 14:15-24); show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson or as part of a sermon on the importance of inclusion, avoiding exclusive practices, and practicing hospitality.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 38


Picture Book
: Miss Maple’s Seeds

Author & Illustrator
: Eliza Wheeler

Summary: Miss Maple, a finder of orphan seeds that did not find a place to grow, sees potential for a miracle in every guest. She tenderly nurtures each seed through the up-coming seasons, taking them on field trips to consider places to grow in next year’s planting. When she deems it is time for them to make roots of their own, she sends them off, telling them to take care for even the smallest seed can become a great tree. Then she goes orphan seed gathering again.

Hanna’s Comments: I especially loved the page in which the illustrator shows the reader 20 different types of seeds. The illustrations are so clever & fanciful that you may want to have multiple copies of this book as you read it.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book
: Tablet


PBT Category: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with
: abundance/bounty, adoption, affection, caring/tending, care of creation, commitment, diversity, eggs/seeds, encouragement, the environment/nature, faith/faithfulness, found, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, god’s care/providence, God’s nature, goodness, growing up/growth, hospitality, image of God, kindness, mission, mothers, nurturing, orphans, outreach, parents/parental love, patience, rescue, safe place/sanctuary, savior/saving, servant hood/service/serving, steadfastness, waiting

Scripture Connections: Whoever welcomes a child (Matthew 18:5); Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32); Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:18-23)

Idea(s) for Application: a gift for a family who adopts a child, does foster care, a teacher, or someone doing children’s ministry

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 37



Picture Book: All the World

Author
: Liz Garton Scanlon

Illustrator: Marta Frazee

Summary
: This wonderful book follows a circle of human families of all kinds throughout a day of outside activities. When rain comes, the families come together in another family’s restaurant. They share songs and sweet good nights. Each beautiful double page spread emphasizes our connections with the natural world and other humans.

Hanna’s Comments: This book is like looking at the night sky. You feel as if you are a small but significant piece of humanity in the beautiful masterwork of the natural world. The meter of the poetry allows for slow reading and the pages are big on most versions so help your audience catch the details in these fabulous illustrations. Finding the blessings of connections, just like I do in Picture Book Theology, seems to be the theme of this picture book, one of my all-time favorites.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Beach Lane Books, 2009

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: A video of this book can be found on a Scholastic compilation of 4 picture book videos called: Children Make Terrible Pets and More Stories about Family


PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott Honor)

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, affection, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beach/ocean/pond/river/sea/shore, beauty, belonging, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections/connectedness, caring/tending, celebration/party, change, choir/music/singing/songs, citizenship, community, cooperation, creation, dependence/ interdependence, diversity, the environment/nature, exploration, family, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, flowers/leaves/trees, fruit/fruit of the spirit, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, gladness/happiness, God’s presence, goodness, grandparents, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, hospitality, humanity, image of God, joy, kingdom of God/reign of God, labor/work, life, listening, love, manna, neighbors, neighborhood, nurturing, openness, parents/parental love, participation, passion, play, rain, reverence, Sabbath, safe place/sanctuary, sharing, at table, treasure, unity, variety, water, weather, wonder, works vs. faith or grace, worship

Scripture Connections: Creation (Genesis 1 or 2), Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-15), Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book during a lesson on finding the holy in the ordinary or how we are all connected.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 36



Picture Book: The Goodbye Boat

Author: Mary Joslin

Illustrator: Claire St. Louis Little

Summary: This simple, thoughtful text involves 2 children anticipating and then saying goodbye to an elderly woman who gets into a boat and sails away. Very real emotions of pain, loneliness, and grief are shown while the evocative illustrations imply that she is leaving them because of her death, but it is not clear. The ending involves a hopeful sense that she is going somewhere new.

Hanna’s Comments: The 3 characters are described as friends. This ambiguity opens this book’s use for any community context, not just family, where a beloved person has died. Because the elderly woman’s leaving & destination are not defined, this book can be a tool for exploring other kinds of permanent goodbyes such as when someone is moving far away or into a permanent nursing home situation. The ambiguous but positive ending will encourage a discussion of beliefs about the afterlife.

Publisher & Date of Publication
: Eerdmans, 1999

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

# of Pages: 28

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present


PBT Category: Pre 2 K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, affection, afterlife/heaven, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, anxiety/worry, brokenness, change, death/loss/grief, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, dying, emotions/feelings, endings, exile/separation, lamentations, loneliness, time/timing/over time

Scripture Connections: Deaths of Joseph/Moses/Elijah, Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1)

Idea(s) for Application: use in a lesson after the death of a loved matriarch or patriarch

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 35



Picture Book: The Water Hole

Author & Illustrator: Graeme Base

Summary: This book is a journey across the globe. Various animals from different continents come to 1 water hole which gets smaller & smaller. The tale progresses on many levels. The depiction of the drought is startling, but the image of rain that follows is beautiful. Look for the world map & the fun frogs. Also, the margins have silhouettes of animals which are fun for identifying as you read.

Hanna’s Comments: This is such an interactive & fun book! It’s not just a counting book. Besides the story, it offers a puzzle and some subtle geography lessons. The story also evokes environmental concerns as well as ending with a peaceable kingdom image. Having multiple copies would be beneficial since the illustrations add to the enjoyment of this book.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harry N. Abrams, 2001

Age and Grade Appropriateness
: 7 and up, 2nd and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish?
Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present 


PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: Africa, animals, Asia, Australia, bonds/connections/connectedness, care of creation, change, creation, dependence/interdependence, desert, difficulties, diversity, drink/thirst, drought, Earth/world, the environment/nature, Europe, geography, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, insecurity, North America, rain, renewal/restoration, sharing, survival, time/timing/over time, transformation, variety, water, wilderness

Scripture Connections: God creates animals (Genesis 1:21); the Peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 65:25)

Idea(s) for Application: a lesson at a homeschool or private school when discussing God’s creation, the animal kingdom, or environmental concerns particularly water conservation

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 34


Picture Book: Fly Away Home
Author: Eve Bunting
Illustrator: Ronald Himler
Summary: This moving story is from the point of view of a young boy who lives in an airport with his father. He describes the community of other homeless individuals in the airport and explains how they try to avoid notice. When he observes a trapped bird discover freedom, the boy hopes for his own escape someday into a real home they can afford.
Hanna’s Comments: This is a heartbreaking story that sensitively explores homelessness in a way in which children will connect & be comfortable. Be sure to consider how your young audience might respond and be prepared to answer difficult questions. You might want to let parents know that you are reading this book and talking about this subject so that they might be prepared for questions too. We can't always and perhaps shouldn't protect our children from confronting poverty. You might have children in your faith family whose parents are among the working poor or who live on the brink of poverty. So many families are just a job loss or tragedy away from dire financial circumstances. Many have had to leave a home because they can't afford it anymore. As a nationally certified school psychologist and life-long Christian, I believe it is important to help children wrap their faith around such difficult issues and help them frame their feelings with sensitivity, hope, and facts. Then help them think of age-appropriate responses.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Clarion Books, 1991
Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
# of Pages: 32
Available in Spanish? Not at present
Formats other than Book: None at present
PBT Category: Pre 2K
PBT Topics this Book Connects with: brokenness, challenges, comfort, community, difficulties, fathers, fear, hiding/isolation/separation/walls, home, homelessness, hope, insecurity, lamentations, loneliness, money, obstacles, parents/parental love, patience, poverty, problems/problem solving, safe place/sanctuary, security, social justice, survival, unity, waiting
Scripture Connections: The Israelites long for the Promised Land while still in the wilderness; The Babylonian exile (2nd Chronicles 36); Wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14); By the waters of Babylon… (Psalm 137:1-9)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson for children on social justice issues such as poverty & homelessness or in a lesson about the Babylonian exile & the Israelites' longing for home.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Book 33



Picture Book: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
 

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

Summary: This popular American spiritual and favorite song for children to sing is beautifully illustrated by one of my favorite picture book artists. He captures a loving family along with children’s drawings. This picture book celebrates God’s care and God's gift of the natural world. Nelson states that he wished to portray the world as a child might see it, vast and beautiful.

Hanna’s Comments: Kadir Nelson offers a historical note about this well-known spiritual and includes the score. The text is a little different from the words you may be used to singing which allows for some stunning illustrations. 

He includes:
He's got my brothers and my sisters...
He's got the rivers and the mountains...
He's got you and he's got me...

Publisher & Date of Publication: Dial, 2005 

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

# of Pages: 32 

Available in Spanish? Not at present 

Formats other than Book: Audible, Video, Youtube videos of other versions of this song  

PBT Category: Song Book

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adoration, awe, babies/children, choir/music/singing/songs, comfort, confidence, covenant/promises, Earth/world, faith/faithfulness, God’s presence, hope, manna, reassurance, safety, safe place/sanctuary, security, strength/strength in God, trust/trustworthiness 


Scripture Connections: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers (Psalm 8:3); The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1); For those who love God all things work together for good (Romans 8:28); For by him all things were created (Colossians 1:16)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to accompany a lesson on God’s gift of creation, especially its diversity and God’s loving care.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 32




Picture Book: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Author & Illustrator: Virginia Lee Burton

Summary: Mike and his steam shovel, Mary Anne, are hard workers, but modern machines begin to replace them. Mike takes his beloved mechanical partner to Popperville where a cellar for a new City Hall needs to be built quickly. Mary Anne is able, with much encouragement from on-lookers, to dig the cellar in a day. However, an exit strategy is forgotten. A young fan suggests that Mary Anne & Mike transform into a furnace & janitor for the new building.

Hanna’s Comments: This modern classic is a testament to partnership, hard work, and adaptation to change. With so much fast-paced change in our world, this book can be a comfort to those who remember the book from long ago, and it will delight new readers.

Publisher & Date of Publication
: Houghton Mifflin, 1939

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

# of Pages: 56

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: tablet, video, audio CD, Audible


PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, action, adaptation/assimilation, aging, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, challenges, change, commitment, community, companionship, confidence, dependence/interdependence, encouragement, gifts/giftedness/talents, labor/work, mission, mistake, new home/relocation, partners/teamwork, perseverance, power, problems/problem solving, purpose, strength/strength in God, time/timing/over time, transformation, vision

Scripture Connections: Honoring the aged (Exodus 20:12, 22:22-24; Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 23:22)

Idea(s) for Application: a presentation on valuing the aged & helping them recognize their gifts & discover new ways to contribute

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 31


Picture Book: The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake

Author
: Nancy Willard

Illustrator: Richard Jesse Watson

Summary: The tween narrator wants to bake her mother a favorite mysterious cake that is a lost legacy from her colorful grandmother. After clues, a clumsy uncle, & the found recipe, the cake is made late at night with amazing results including an encounter with 3 beautiful but hungry angels. Then her grandmother’s saying is remembered, “Grief in the evening is joy in the morning,” and holds true as the birthday is celebrated with a secret, heavenly delight.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a great book for older elementary & youth especially to honor a mother or grandmother’s legacy. Note that this book is longer than most picture books.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harcourt, 1990

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 7 and up, 2nd and up

# of Pages: 63

Available in Spanish?
Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio cassette, Audible

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, angels, birth/birthday, blessings, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, found, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s care/providence, grandparents, hospitality, labor/work, manna, mothers, preparation/preparing, wishes


Scripture Connections: Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5); Her children rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31)

Idea(s) for Application: a lesson on angels, honoring mothers, or loving acts of service