Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 116

Picture Book: The Curious Garden

Author & Illustrator: Peter Brown

Summary: Liam lives in a gray, polluted city. He loves being outside and he’s curious so Liam goes exploring and discovers a lonely patch of color, the remnants of a garden on the elevated & unused railroad track. He decides to nurture it. With time, Liam’s understanding and passion for gardening grow. The garden too is curious and wants to explore so it begins spreading all over the city. Green spaces blossom and multiply, especially onto old, forgotten items. Eventually Liam’s neighbors become gardeners too. Many years later their lifeless town has been transformed into a colorful, life-giving community.

Hanna’s Comments: I learned in an interview with Peter Brown in the video mentioned below, that this book was inspired by the green spaces he found on the Highline, a non-working elevated railroad in New York City. The illustrations may seem like fantasy, but this book is based on fact. Wild flowers and weeds can crop up in amazing places in a city! This is such an empowering book for children! The idea of a child leading a city’s population toward a more healthy and beautiful existence is an idea that will inspire children. We need our children to be inspired to be outside and invested in beautiful, natural spaces. After reading this book, talk about ways your children might improve the beauty of your home or faith community’s environs. Perhaps you’ll nurture some future gardeners.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Little, Brown Books, 2009

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Video on, Audible, Also there is a video: The Curious Garden and Other Stories which includes videos of this book and 3 other picture books some of which will be offered later in August and September. 

PBT Category: Award Winner, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abundance/bounty, action, art, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beauty, beginnings/morning, blessings, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, care of creation, change, commitment, community, creation, discovery/invention, the environment/nature, evangelism, exploration, flowers/leaves/trees, found, fruit/fruit of the Spirit, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gentleness/meekness, gifts/giftedness/talents, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, gospel/good news, growing up/growth, harvest, helping, healing/healthcare, heroes, image of God, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, leadership/servant leadership, life, miracles, mission, neighborhood, nurturing, outreach, passion, perseverance, pleasing God/the Shema, power, prevenient grace, purpose, renewal/restoration, response to God, resurrection, steadfastness, time/timing/overtime, transformation, variety, water, weather, wisdom, work vs. faith/grace 

Scripture Connections: Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel (Mark 16:15); Jesus came that we may have abundant life (John 10:10b)  

Idea(s) for Application: As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think of the gardens as a metaphor for spreading the gospel. Liam’s passion transforms his city. Christians are called to delight in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

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