Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 134


Picture Book: Miss Fannie’s Hat

Authors: Jan Karon

Illustrator: Toni Goffe

Summary: Miss Fannie loves 2 things especially, her collection of beautiful Sunday morning hats and her church. She reads the Bible each morning and often thinks of her favorite verse: ”With God all things are possible.” She lives with her daughter who lovingly cares for her. When Miss Fannie’s minister asks her to donate a hat for the church’s auction, she asks the Lord to help her choose which hat to donate. As she wanders around her hats, she remembers stories about each one. Her most favorite hat is the one of pink straw with silk roses which she has worn every Easter morning for 35 years, a ritual the whole congregation expects. Reluctantly she decides to donate this hat because it will bring the most money. Her hat is purchased for a substantial amount which goes towards the church renovations. On Easter morning, she decides to wear no hat because her other hats just won’t do. When she arrives at the church, she is surprised to find a tribute to her generosity; the church has been trimmed in rose bushes with pink flowers so that it looks like her Easter hat.  

Hanna’s Comments: Inspired by the author’s grandmother, this is a story of meaningful sacrifice and legacy. There are many aspects of this picture book that I love: Miss Fannie’s devotion to God and her church, her fellow congregants’ enthusiasm for her Sunday hats and generous contribution, her reliance on scripture to guide her, and the way Miss Fannie’s daughter gently cares for her. There is much potential here for both children and adult programming, particularly women.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Augsburg, 1998

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 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: aging, choices/decisions, church building/the Temple, clothes/shoes, collections, commitment, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, disobedience/obedience, faith/faithfulness, flowers/leaves/trees, generosity/giving/offering, stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, holiness, joy, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mothers, pleasing God/the Shema, possessions, righteousness, Sabbath, sacrifice, satisfaction, strength/strength in God, surprise

Scripture Connections: Love the Lord your God with all your heart (Deuteronomy 6:5); Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary (Psalm 150:1); With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26); offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider using this story during a season of stewardship regarding your faith community and its places of worship/learning so that you may encourage others to sacrifice and leave legacies for the future of their religious community. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 133


Picture Book: Here are My Hands

Author: Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

Illustrator: Ted Rand

Summary: This is a simple book, perfect for preschoolers, that invites the listeners to celebrate in verse what various parts of their bodies can do. “Here are my hands for catching and throwing. Here are my feet for stomping and going.” Head, nose, eyes, ears, knees, neck, cheeks, teeth, elbow, arm, chin, and skin are all listed similarly. The illustrations are fun and are comprised of children of varying races which is somewhat unusual for a text published this long ago.  

Hanna’s Comments: The title implies an emphasis on hands, but this book gives equal importance to many body parts. I expect a great teacher could create a song or body prayer with this text. Ask what other “jobs” each body part can do. If you have children with limitations, this book might help you discuss how other body parts or people (even animals) can serve as substitutes for body parts that are impaired. Be sure to celebrate God’s creative design for our bodies.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Henry Holt and Company, 1985

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

# of Pages: 28

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, action, adaptation/assimilation, body of Christ, differences, disabilities/handicaps/limitation, purpose, variety

Scripture Connections: Parts of the body (1 Corinthians 12)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book when teaching preschoolers about the various parts their bodies and how God created those parts to do different jobs just as God creates us to do different jobs.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 132


Picture Book: But Not the Hippopotamus

Author & Illustrator: Sandra Boynton

Summary: Boynton is famous for her whimsical animal characters, but they are not so nice in this book. “A dog and a frog do a dance in the bog. But not the hippopotamus.” Sadly the hippopotamus is left out of all sorts of fun activities. The story and illustrations never reveal why. Finally, the animals decide to “hurry out for a jog” and then think to come back for … “Yes, the hippopotamus!”

Hanna’s Comments: This may be a silly, simple book, but it packs a punch of relevant meaning. Children struggle with in-group vs. out-group issues in their homes, schools, and religious communities. Talk with your children about the heartaches (and joys) of cliques and informal groups with this fun book. In a comical context, your kids may be more willing to honestly confess to this common human behavior and allow you to discuss how exclusivity and inclusivity fit into your faith values. Don’t hesitate to model a little confessing on your own. Sometimes your confessions are what children are most likely to find meaningful and remember.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Little Simon Books, 1982

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, Toddler and up

# of Pages: 14

Available in Spanish? Not at Present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Pre 2k

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, belonging, body of Christ, disappointment, exclusion/inclusion, exile/separation, friends/friendship, God’s will, golden rule/great commandment, hospitality, injustice, integration, loneliness, neglect, outsiders, participation, pleasing God/the Shema, prejudice, segregation, sin, social justice

Scripture Connections: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. All are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Idea(s) for Application: Jesus ministered to a great number of outsiders (women, lepers, Gentiles, tax collectors, Samaritans…). Use this book when discussing one of these stories or Jesus’ tendency to include.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 131




Picture Book: Mama Outside, Mama Inside

Author: Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrator: Susan Gaber

Summary: This story begins with the line, “The babies are coming! The mamas have so much to do before they arrive.” The babies are a human baby and a bird baby. The mamas (and daddies) busily prepare by setting up a nursery or a nest. The birds’ nest is just outside the window of the nursery so the Mamas eventually hear and see one other. The parallels are many in this beautiful picture book that illustrates in two species the work and joy of welcoming a little one.

Hanna’s Comments: This would be a great book to use during Advent, but don’t limit its use to that season. Anytime a baby is expected, a celebration is in order and children have questions about what is happening and what will come. Making connections with other species enhances the experiences for children and encourages all of us to appreciate God’s wondrous and loving design for all sorts of families. If you are inclined to talk about less traditional families as well, use other species to give evidence of God’s varying designs for bringing up children. This book also offers an opportunity to talk about God's feminine qualities.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Henry Holt & Company, 2006

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre 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: animals, babies/children, beginnings/morning, family, God’s nature, home, humanity, image of God, labor/work, mothers, nurturing, parents/parental love, preparation/prepare, wonder

Scripture Connections: Like the eagle…God spreads wings to catch you…and carry you (Deuteronomy 32:11); Prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3); as a mother comforts her child… (Isaiah 66:13); Jesus desires to gather the children of Jerusalem as a hen gathers her brood (Matthew 23:37)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to explain to children the importance of the season of Advent in the Christian liturgical year.       

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 130


Picture Book: The Carrot Seed

Author: Ruth Krauss

Illustrator: Crockett Johnson

Summary: This classic has a simple story but a powerful message about a lone boy’s faith in a carrot seed which he has planted and continues to nurture despite his family members saying repeatedly, “It won’t come up.” Eventually the greens pop above the soil’s surface. Then the boy pulls a huge carrot out of the ground and loads it onto a wheel barrow. I wonder if he shared the carrot with his family.

Hanna’s Comments: This book was published 70 years ago, but its simple message of faith and nurturing that which only you believe in is universal and timeless. I think it should be in every toddler and preschooler’s library. Certainly it should be in your faith community’s nursery, preschool rooms, and community-wide library. Don't limit it's audience to just little ones. With elementary children and adults talk about naysayers and critics. Discuss the concept of nurturing your faith as the boy nurtured his carrot seed. Be sure to point out that the carrot seed might have died had the boy not been so faithful to it. Ask them, “What are some of the ways we “water” and “weed” our faith gardens?” Think this is too abstract? Offer some personal explanation of how you do this and what your faith garden looks like. I bet you’ll be surprised at how they will catch on.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper & Row, 1945

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: There are several videos to choose from including “Uncle Wally” Amos reading this book as a part of the Read it Loud library program on Youtube.com, Audio cassette

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: beginnings/morning, care of creation, doubt, eggs/seeds, faith/faithfulness, family, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, harvest, land/mountains/soil, patience, perseverance, resisting evil, transformation, water

Scripture Connections: Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:8); If you have faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) 

Idea(s) for Application: Because the concept of faith is so abstract, children (and sometimes adults) have difficulty understanding it. This little book offers a delightfully simple, but profound explanation of faith that is easy to relate to. Read this book in a Sunday school or other small group context and explore the concept of faith and how to "tend" and "nurture" it.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 129


Picture Book: Anna Hibiscus’ Song

Author: Atinuke

Illustrator: Lauren Tobia

Summary: Anna Hibiscus is an African child sitting in a mango tree. She watches her extended family in their daily tasks and becomes so happy she doesn’t know what to do. She comes down and begins asking a series of relatives how she might express her happiness. Each of them has a suggestion (counting the reasons why she’s happy, dancing, tumbling, whispering in an ear “I love you”…) all of which she tries, but her happiness only grows. After her mother confesses to sitting quietly when happy, Anna Hibiscus settles into her mango tree again, but she is still about to burst with happiness. Then the birds inspire her to open her mouth wide and sing. Oh how she sings!   

Hanna’s Comments: Besides the overall delight of this picture book, I especially like the way the love of these extended family members shines through. Also, I am always glad to see various skin colors in picture books. Lauren Tobia has chosen to give us a bi-racial Anna Hibiscus. Anna’s mother appears light skinned. Anytime book illustrators offer non-white characters, especially protagonists, their offerings are especially appreciated by those of us who hope to see more diverse characters in children’s books. Note: There are several Anna Hibiscus books. Some are picture books and some are early chapter books.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Kane Miller, 2011

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up

# of Pages: 38

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adoration, affection, Africa, art, authenticity, babies/children, belonging, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections, celebration/party, choir/music/singing/songs, community, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, dance/dancing, differences, diversity, emotions/feelings, encouragement, exploration, family, flowers/leaves/trees, free will, gladness/happiness, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, joy, mentors/teachers, pleasing God/the Shema, prayer, response to God, self-discovery, variety, worship

Scripture Connections: Let us sing to the Lord (Psalm 95:1)

Idea(s) for Application: The concept of worship is often difficult for children to understand. This book offers a wonderful demonstration of why and how we worship God in various ways. Sometimes praise and thanksgiving to God is the most natural human response we can make. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 128


Picture Book: Because Nothing Looks Like God

Authors: Lawrence & Karen Kushner

Illustrator: Dawn W. Majewski

Summary: In this well-considered picture book, 3 very general questions about God are explored via diverse characters, both human and non-human. The first is “Where is God?” Answers include, “God is in the way people come together” or “In worms turning leaves into earth. God is everywhere if we look.” Next question: “What does God look like? God looks like nothing. And nothing looks like God. But there are many things you cannot see and still we are sure they are there.“ The last question is “How does God make things happen?” After this question, readers are inspired to look at various contexts (family, school, etc.) and notice how people help each other. Then they are encouraged to look in the mirror and consider how they might help someone today. The three questions in this book have been used to create 3 separate board books for younger children. 

Hanna’s Comments: I’m enthusiastic about this picture book because it says, “God is with us every day, in every way.” In the back is a section for parents and teachers explaining why this book is not comprised of dogmatic answers. Instead, the authors state that their purpose is to help children “lay down the foundation of what will become a mature adult spiritual world-view.” Then they suggest that parents continue the conversations that begin in this book. When conversations like these begin at home when children are young, those foundations become well-grounded and authentic to the child’s experience.  
Publisher & Date of Publication: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? No

Formats other than Book: Tablet, There are board books for younger children that feature just one of these questions. The titles are: What Does God Look Like, Where is God? and How Does God Make Things Happen?

PBT Category: God Book, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, action, adoration, attentiveness/observation/seeing, authenticity, awe, beauty, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections, caring/tending, care of creation, community, creation, the environment/nature, family, friends/friendship, God’s nature, goodness, helping, humanity, intercession, kindness, love, pleasing God/the Shema, questioning/questions, relationships, righteousness, servant hood/service/serving, vision, wonder

Scripture Connections: I have no good apart from You (Psalm 16:2b); the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1); God is love (1 John 4:8)

Idea(s) for Application: I plan to use this book in a class for parents of preschoolers that I will be teaching at my church in the fall. These parents are longing for more instruction on how to better spiritually equip their children.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 127


Picture Book: Chrysanthemum

Authors & Illustrator: Kevin Henkes

Summary: When she is born, Chrysanthemum’s parents take great care in giving her a unique and perfect name, just like her. Chrysanthemum loves her name until she enters school and is teased because it is unusual, very long, and a flower. When she complains and confesses that “school is not for her,” her parents praise her name, saying “It’s everything you are. Absolutely perfect.” At school the teasing continues. She responds with worries and bad dreams. When they meet the new music teacher, they all adore her. The teacher overhears Chrysanthemum being taunted so the teacher explains that her name is also very long and she too is named after a flower, Delphinium. In fact, she is considering naming her new baby Chrysanthemum. Suddenly, the girls ask to be called flower names and Chrysanthemum beams, knowing her name is absolutely perfect.

Hanna’s Comments: Identity issues are a constant for children and some periods are particularly problematic such as when starting a new school. For many children, being a part of a loving religious community can help with these struggles. In these communities, they find identity in common, practices & stories that reinforce their identity, and a sense of being lovingly created by God. Use this story to reinforce your children’s unique value and while you are at it, talk about the hurtful consequences of teasing.    

Publisher & Date of Publication: Greenwillow Books, 1991

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Video, Audible, Audio cassette

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: affirmation, anxiety/worry, beginnings/morning, belonging, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, depression/despair/sadness/sorry, differences, diversity, doubt, education/learning/school, emotions/feelings, encouragement, identity/names, individuality/uniqueness, joy, judgment/judges/judging, loneliness, mentors/teachers, new school, nurturing, parents/parental love, pride, reassurance, reflection, renewal/restoration, respect, satisfaction, self-acceptance/self-image/self-esteem  

Scripture Connections: We are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139); before I formed you in the womb, I knew you (Jeremiah 1:5); let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth but only such as is good for building

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to talk to children about the evil of teasing and bullying and the long-term effects it can have on a person. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 126

Dynamic Duo: Book 2

Picture Book: The Keeping Quilt                             

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: This is another story of the author’s great-grandmother, Anna, that involves her immigration from Russia to America. Highlighted this time in her family’s story is a quilt, created by the neighborhood women when Anna outgrows the one dress she brought from Russia. Her mother says the quilt will remind them of home, “like having the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night.” The trim of this quilt is Anna’s babushka (Russian head covering). Other items of family clothing are cut into animal & flower shapes and scattered on the blessing quilt. The quilt is used throughout the years as a Shabbat (Sabbath) cloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket for newborns. Like the blessing cup in the previous PBT Dynamic Duo offering, the keeping quilt is passed down from generation to generation via the oldest female, a prize indeed!  

Hanna’s Comments: A 25th Anniversary Edition is available with 15 bonus pages detailing the quilt’s journey to the museum where it now sits. Offer both of these books in either order to encourage discussion of family heirlooms and the spiritual heirlooms we keep from our familial ancestors and religious ancestors.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster, 1988

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, audio cassette, video
There is also a video of the author reading the book and another of the author showing the actual quilt from the story.

PBT Category: Award Winner, Pre 2K, Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: aliens/immigrants/immigration/refugees/strangers, ancestors/matriarchs & patriarchs, artifacts, babies/children, beauty, blessings, bonds/connections, clothes/shoes, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, family, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, God’s presence, grandparents, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, heritage, manna, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, milestones, nurturing, possessions, presence, relationships, reverence, Sabbath, security, sharing, at table, time/timing/over time, transformation, treasure, unity

Scripture Connections: Rituals for keeping & remembering the Passover (Numbers 9:2-5); as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to talk about your religious and familial rituals and how objects and artifacts comprise important parts of those ceremonies.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 125

Dynamic Duo: Book 1

Picture Book: The Blessing Cup                     

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: Anna, a child in this story, is the author’s great-grandmother. A beautiful china tea set is used as part of their Shabbat (Sabbath) ritual. Anna asks again for the story of the tea set, a wedding gift from a rich aunt. With the set came a note: “This tea set is magic. Anyone who drinks from it has a blessing from God. They will never know a day of hunger. Their lives will always have flavor. They will know love and joy… and they will never be poor.” When all Jews are forced to leave Russia, Anna’s family takes only a few items. Their treasured tea set is included. During their difficult journey on the way to America, Anna’s father becomes gravely ill. They are fortunate to be taken in by a widowed doctor who heals Anna’s father and supports and delights in the family. When the doctor is threatened for housing Jews, he arranges for and purchases their passage to America. Anna’s mother leaves the tea set with him as a gesture of gratitude and hope for his blessings, but she keeps 1 cup so that the blessings could also travel with them. They arrive in America where the author explains how this cup has continued to be part of her family’s rituals, being given to the oldest daughter upon her wedding day.  

Hanna’s Comments: Twenty-five years after the publication of The Blessing Quilt (see tomorrow's PBT offering), Polacco offers another lovely book about the bonds of love and ritual uniting generations of her family. Even a stranger, whose hospitality saves a life - perhaps a whole family, is bound to them because of this tea set. There is so much to explore here. Even though this book mentions the Shabbat ritual, I felt it was still appropriate to include as a secular picture book. The family’s theology is not a part of this story. If the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) are part of your tradition, use this book to explore how the Shabbat ritual links generation upon generation going all the way back to the time of Moses.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster, 2013

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

# of Pages: 48

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: aliens/immigrants/immigration/refugees/strangers, ancestors/matriarchs & patriarchs, artifacts, belonging, blessings, bonds/connections, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, communion/Eucharist, difficulties, Europe, exclusion/inclusion, exile/separation, family, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, God’s care/providence, heritage, home, homelessness, hospitality, image of God, immigration, insecurity, journeys/pilgrimages/migrations/quests, kindness, legends/myths, possessions, prejudice, religious differences, rescue, reverence, safe place/sanctuary, security, sharing, social justice, at table, time/timing/over time, travel, treasure, unity, victims

Scripture Connections: You shall keep my Sabbaths… a sign throughout your generations (Exodus 31:13)

Idea(s) for Application: Joyce Rupp has written many wonderful books designed for adult small groups. One of my favorites is The Cup of Our Life: A Guide for Spiritual Growth. Reading this book would be a fabulous way to begin such a small group.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 124


Picture Book: Little Flower: A Journey of Caring

Author: Laura McAndrew

Illustrator: Nancy Conrad

Summary: Little Flower is a potted daisy whose home is on a kitchen window ledge. Too often, Little Flower’s family forgets to care for her. What she wishes most is for someone to spend time with her and love her.  When her family leaves on a trip, they say goodbye and promise to see her again soon. Little Flower becomes more lonely, scared, sad, and unhealthy. She even begins to feel shame and fears they left her because she has been a bad flower. Despite her shame, when a robin discovers her and asks if she is ok, Little Flower bravely says no and explains. The robin promises to go for help. A “nice woman” brings a police officer to enter the house. The nice woman explains to Little Flower, “Some people haven’t learned how to give flowers what they need. I will help the people you live with learn how to care for flowers. But until they learn that, you need to live in a place where other people can give you what you need.” Then she takes Little Flower to another home where a family begins to properly and lovingly take care of the daisy.   

Hanna’s Comments: This book was given to my family several years ago when we began doing emergency foster care. As an extended metaphor for too many foster children who are neglected and forgotten by their families, it is very powerful and offers specific concepts that can be helpful. We used this book to help my 2 young children understand why the foster children were coming into our homes temporarily. In the back is a list of activities to do after reading to encourage children to process the concepts and emotions of this story.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Child Welfare League of America, 1999

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: adoption, anxiety/worry, babies/children, belonging, brokenness, caring/tending, care of creation, challenges, community, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, disappointment, drink/thirst, dying, family, found, flowers/leaves/trees, fruit/fruit of the spirit, healing/healthcare, hiding/isolation/walls, hope, insecurity, intercession, loneliness, love, neglect, new home/relocation, nurturing, orphans, outreach, parables/stories, patience, perseverance, poverty, prisons/prisoners, renewal/restoration, rescue, resurrection, waiting, water

Scripture Connections: Bring justice to the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17); whoever welcomes a child in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:5); let the children come to me (Mark 10:13-16)

Idea(s) for Application: This book also lends itself well as a metaphor for taking in abandoned or abused animals. Consider using this book in your faith community when talking about welcoming and caring for any of God’s creatures in your home.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 123


Picture Book: Is This Panama? A Migration Story

Author: Jan Thornhill

Illustrator: Soyeon Kim

Summary: Sammy, a young warbler, has heard wonderful descriptions of Panama from other warblers. He is excited about his first migration from near the Arctic Circle all the way to Panama, but then he discovers the other warblers have migrated without him. Being so young, Sammy doesn’t know the route, but he is determined so he sets off with a willingness to ask for directions from other creatures along the way. Although Sammy enjoys these interactions, the other creatures steer him wrongly. After taking a much longer route and feeling discouraged, Sammy finally makes it to Panama.

Hanna’s Comments: I love it when authors put maps in their books! This book has a great map in the back that shows you Sammy’s route, the route warblers regularly take, and the location of the creatures he meets along the way. You may want to refer to the map as you read. You’ll also find a list of facts about each creature and a section on how animals migrate. Adults joke about women being more willing to ask for directions than men, but truthfully asking for help is not a bad thing, especially if you do so of someone who is invested in your well-being like those in your religious community. If you view this book as a metaphor for personal journeys, this book offers opportunities to talk about being interdependent, being vulnerable, and gleaning wisdom from others in your community.

Publisher & Date of Publication:  Owl Kids Books, 2013

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abundance/bounty, action, attentiveness/observation/seeing, call/calling/vocation, commitment, community, companionship, difficulties, dreams/aspirations, encouragement, the environment/nature, gentleness/meekness, geography, gifts/giftedness/talents, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, growing up/growth, heaven/sky, helping, journeys/pilgrimages/migration/quests, kindness, land/mountains/soil, manna, mission, mistakes, patience, perseverance, searching, survival, travel, variety, vision, wisdom, wonder  

Scripture Connections: Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10); look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4); do not neglect to do good and to share what you have (Hebrews 13:16)

Idea(s) for Application: Our church sends a mission team to Panama each summer. This book was recently used in a children’s program about the mission team’s impending journey and purposes. Whenever a team from your faith community goes to another part of the world, consider using picture books about the location to teach your children about what your faith community is doing elsewhere and why.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 122


Picture Book: The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives: The True Story of a Famous American Composer

Author & Illustrator: Joanne Stanbridge

Summary: This picture book is brimming with history, music, and emotion. At the heart of the story is New Yorker, Charles Ives’ inspiration for one of his most famous musical compositions which was written after the devastating sinking of the Lusitania during WWI in 1915. The ship left New York harbor and never returned. The broader story is Mr. Ives’ passion for hearing music in everyday sounds and the elevated status he gave American folk music and hymns. The hymn “In the Sweet Bye-and-Bye” echoes throughout the composition that is central to this picture book. In his lifetime, Mr. Ives never received the recognition he was due, but he is now revered as one of the greatest American composers.  

Hanna’s Comments: The heart of this book is a man whose God-given passion and talented musical ear perceives the beauty and heartbreak in sounds most of us would never attend to. The author implies that Mr. Ives knew his artistic perspective was ahead of its time, but this passion for his art didn’t waiver. This book is an excellent depiction of a city in mourning and a man determined to capture that mourning just as psalmists captured such feelings in their writings of Israel’s devastating losses and confusion.   

Publisher & Date of Publication: Houghton Mifflin, 2012

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: brokenness, call/calling/vocation, choir/music/singing/songs, community, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, death/loss/grief, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, dreams/aspirations, emotions/feeling, gifts/giftedness/talents, intercession, lamentations, legacies, listening, mentors/teachers, mission, passion, perseverance, prayer, tragedy, transformation, unity, worship

Scripture Connections: Psalms of lament such as Psalms 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 85, & 90

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a wonderful book to use in a homeschool/private school or church art camp when studying artistic expressions of painful emotions and events. Ground your instruction in the hope that is available through your Holy Scriptures, particularly dark poetry and stories.