Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 109

Picture Book: Building Our House

Author & Illustrator: Jonathan Bean

Summary: This is such a wonderfully detailed picture book about the process in which the author’s parents build his childhood home. Living the life of homesteaders, they use traditional construction techniques and involve even the youngest child in a manner that is intriguing and delightful. Readers get to see each of the numerous and exhausting steps, beginning with their arrival in an overloaded truck at a weedy field to their eventual collapse onto their couch in the newly finished home. Friends and family pitch in when needed, but mostly this is a 4-person family affair with mother and father Bean starring as the heroes of their son’s loving retelling of what must have been an invaluable childhood experience.

Hanna’s Comments: I was most fascinated by the way the Bean family built the foundation of their home. After picking up hundreds of rocks from their field, they built the wooden form and then mixed and poured the concrete which included as one of its contents the earlier rocks. This part of the story lends itself well to the idea of building on a firm foundation. Seeing these illustrations will help children understand why that principle is so crucial. You may want to begin the reading by showing your audience the family photographs that the author includes. Look in the back surrounding the Author’s Note which explains how this book is grounded in his family’s story.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up                                                        
# of Pages: 48 

Available in Spanish? Not at present  

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audible, Video 

PBT Category: Award Winner, Fresh off the Press, Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, action, adventure, affection, beginnings/morning, blessings, challenges, change, comfort, commitment, dreams/aspiration, family, fathers, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, helping, heritage, home, image of God, joy, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, milestones, mothers, new home/relocation, nurturing, parents/parental love, participation, partners/teamwork, perseverance, power, preparation/preparing, protecting/protection, rocks/shells/stones, safe place/sanctuary, satisfaction, strength/strength in God, time/timing/over time, transformation, unity, wisdom 

Scripture Connections: The Lord is my rock (Psalm 18:2); Build your house on rock not sand (Matthew 7:24-27); like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a wonderful book to read to children who are homeschooled or in a private school where a construction project is in process. Use this event and wonderful picture book to inspire discussion about what your spiritual community views as the components of a “firm foundation” or a “safe sanctuary.”

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