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.