Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Picture a Day for a Year: Day 159

Picture Book: Amazing Grace

Author: Mary Hoffman

Illustrator: Caroline Binch

Summary: Grace is an imaginative girl who loves drama, stories, and pretending. When she gets her heart set on the role of Peter Pan in a musical at school, she is told by one classmate that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is a girl. Another classmate says she can’t be Peter Pan because she is black. Grace becomes determined especially when her Nana and mother lovingly remind her that she can do anything. Nana then takes her to see a professional prima ballerina from Trinidad, their home country. Grace is inspired to reach for her dreams despite what her classmates say. Grace blows away the competition in the audition and proudly becomes Peter Pan.

Hanna’s Comments: This wonderful book was read to me and a group of women in my church many years ago. We were delighted that its protagonist defied the prejudices in her classroom. We were also delighted that such high quality children’s literature was being published. The title of this book is the title of a popular Christian hymn, but this is not a Christian story. However, it is a story rich with possibilities for conversation in a religious context. You have the topics of defying social barriers (think the Canaanite woman begging Jesus to heal her daughter), embracing creative expression (think Tabitha/Dorcas or Priscilla), and confident determination and pride in your ethnic group (think Esther). 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Dial, 1991

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes and a Spanish video version is in the collection below, other translations are available such as the one pictured above which is in Arabic and English

Formats other than Book: Audio CD & cassette, In the video collection: Shrinking Violet & More Stories for Young Performers

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, affirmation, art, aspiration/dreams, chosen, competition, confidence, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, encouragement, exclusion/inclusion, freedom, grace, grandparents, individuality/uniqueness, judgment/judges/judging, justice, mothers, parents/parental love, participation, passion, play, prejudice, race relations/racism, social justice

Scripture Connections: Esther approaches the King (Esther 5); the Canaanite woman who begs Jesus to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28); Tabitha/Dorcas’ good works & acts of charity (Acts 9:36); Priscilla re-teaches a man who was preaching inaccurately (Acts 18:26)

Idea(s) for Application: As mentioned above, this story is rich with possibilities for discussion with adults and children about overcoming prejudices, the importance of creative expression, and the value of celebrating your ethnic characteristics and individual talents. 

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