Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 161

Picture Book: What is My Song?

Author: Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn

Illustrator: Francisco Miranda

Summary: Deo, an East African boy, begins this story by asking, ”When did I become me?” Then he explains it happened when his mother first had an idea of him. She listened in her heart until she heard “the special song of me.” She shared it with his father and the other women of the village so that the first thing Deo hears in life is the women singing his song. Everyone learns his song. When he is crying, they sing to him. When he saves his baby brother from fire and his sister from drowning, they sing to him. His song is about protecting people. When in anger Deo throws a stone at a boy and blinds him, Deo cannot remember his song. Instead of retribution, his community surrounds him and sings his song to him so that he will remember he is a protector. He does and pledges to be the boy’s eyes if his friend’s sight does not return. Deo explains that his song never leaves him even if he forgets it for a while. It is sung to him at other milestones, and when he dies, it will be sung to him as he returns to God. This book ends with: “Who are you? Put your hand on your heart. Can you feel your heart beating? Take deep breaths and listen deep inside your hear. Can you hear your song?”

Hanna’s Comments: This traditional East African tale is beautifully told. The idea of having a song seems to be offered as a metaphor for a God-given purpose, present even before birth and after death.  Check in the back for A Note to Parents and Other Caregivers that explains that we don’t need to teach our children their special purpose in life. Rather, we need to help them remember what they already know.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Paulist Press, 2005

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 8 and up, 3 and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Traditional, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: Africa, babies/children, beginnings/morning, belonging, birth/birthday, call/calling/vocation, choir/music/singing/songs, communion/Eucharist, community, dance/dancing, emotions/feelings, encouragement, family, forgiveness/justifying grace/mercy/redemption, grace, growing up/growth, guilt, identity/names, life, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, milestones, mistakes, nurturing, participation, power, protecting/protection, purpose, reassurance, regret/repentance, renewal/restoration, righteousness, self-control, self-discovery, sin, violence

Scripture Connections: The Lord is merciful & gracious... (Psalm 103:8); It was You who formed my inward parts (Psalm 139); You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13); stir up one another to love and do good works (Hebrews 10:24)

Idea(s) for Application: A friend of mine read this beautiful book as a part of a homily on Community at the Academy for Spiritual Formation. It was perfect. 

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