Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 225


Picture Book: Brown Bear’s Wonderful Secret

Author: Caroline Castle

Illustrator: Tina Macnaughton

Summary: Brown Bear’s wonderful secret is that she’s going to have a baby, but this is not revealed until the end of the book. As she begins to tell her animal friends about her secret, they interrupt her with guesses about the secret’s characteristics. The conversation takes riddle form: She wouldn’t want to eat it, but she might lick it. It doesn’t fly, but she might throw it up in the air and catch it. The animal friends are not able to solve the puzzle before Brown Bear must hibernate. The wonderful secret is revealed to them when spring comes. They agree, it certainly is a wonderful secret!  

Hanna’s Comments: I chose this book for the first day of Advent, a Christian liturgical season that gets overwhelmed by the pre-Christmas madness. Advent, like this story, encapsulates the anticipation and joy of waiting on a new birth. Like Brown Bear, I hope you are able to anticipate and fully experience the joys of your winter holidays and any new births coming your way.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2006

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: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: affection, babies/children, birth/birthday, community, friends/friendship, joy, mothers, parents/parental love, secrets, surprise, waiting,

Scripture Connections: The birth narratives of Hannah (1 Samuel 1 & 2), Elizabeth (Luke 1), or Mary (Luke 1 & 2).  

Idea(s) for Application: Anticipating the birth of a new member is a delightful aspect of being a part of a loving faith family. This kind of joyful expectation and hopeful longing are two of the central themes of the liturgical season of Advent in the Christian church. Read this book to a group of children who are anticipating the Christ child or a new member of your faith community. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 224


Picture Book: Basket Moon

Author: Mary Lyn Ray

Illustrator: Barbara Cooney

Summary: This is a beautiful picture book about the tradition of basket-making in the highlands of upstate New York. It is from the point of view of a young son who longs to walk into Hudson, the closest town, with his father to sell baskets and purchase supplies. This happens every full moon, a “basket moon” so they call it. Meanwhile, the son watches the craft of basket-making that is particular to this part of the world. Eventually he is allowed to go into town with his father, each carrying a long pole across their back full of hanging baskets of all sizes. The son is captivated by the sights and sounds of Hudson, but he overhears a group of adult men, taunting his father, calling him a “bushwhacker”. Once home, he becomes ashamed of his father’s work until a basket-maker friend helps him understand the privilege and artistry in basket-making. He begins to practice the skills and eventually acknowledges that the trees surrounding his home are making the material for baskets he will one day create.

Hanna’s Comments: Skilled handwork of all kinds is becoming a rare commodity in modernity. This is a great loss of beauty and heritage for all of us. The Author’s Note explains that the last living basket-maker of Taconic/Taghkanic (Bushwhacker) baskets died in 1996. These baskets are now found in museums and prized in the homes of collectors. Our faith communities are one place where we can explore and share our God-given gifts and artistic endeavors, knowing that tapping into our own creativity is a fine and meaningful way to give tribute to our Creator God.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Little Brown, 1999

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 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: abilities, acceptance, action, adaptation/assimilation, affirmation, America, art, artifacts, attentiveness/observation/seeing, authenticity, beauty, belonging, bonds/connections, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, call/calling/vocation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, culture, differences, education/learning, family, fathers, gifts/talents, God’s will, heritage, hiding/isolation, image of God, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, labor/work, listening, moon/space/stars/sun, North America, purpose, self-discovery

Scripture Connections: So God created humankind in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27); God has filled them with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs (Exodus 35:31-32); Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30); every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17); as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults who are engaged in spiritually-based artistic endeavors, such as an Artist Way group (seeThe Artist Way by Julia Cameron), a knitting ministry, or a group of carpenters who design and make ramps for elderly or handicapped individuals. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 223

Picture Book: Nelson Mandela
Author & Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Summary: From his beginnings as a young son of an African chief through his leadership in the anti-Apartheid movement and 27 years of imprisonment, to his inauguration as the first African president of South Africa, most of Nelson Mandela’s life is beautifully captured here. President Mandela died in December of 2013 so this book was published early in the year of his death.
Hanna’s Comments: There is another picture book biography of Mandela that I recommend except that its text is quite long. Mandela: From the Life of the South African Statesman by Floyd Cooper, published in 1996 by Philomel. If you are doing an in-depth study of Mandela over several days, I recommend using both of these books and perhaps comparing and contrasting them. Neither book covers Mandela’s last few years and the world’s response to his death, particularly his retirement years spent as a world leader and symbol of reconciliation. You may want to supplement your lesson with internet material to give appropriate closure to the life of this global icon and inspirational hero of faith-based social justice and reconciliation. 
Original Publisher & Date: Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
# of Pages: 40
Available in Spanish? Yes
Formats other than Book: Tablet, video, audio download
PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Biography
PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abuse/abuse of power, action, Africa, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, anger, aspirations/dreams, bravery/courage, brokenness, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, call/calling/vocation, challenges, change, chosen, civil rights, commitment, conflict, consequences/punishment, cruelty, discord, disputes/fighting/opposition, equality/inequality, ethics, evil, exile/separation/walls, forgiveness/mercy/redemption, freedom, golden rule, hatred, heroes, hope, injustice, intolerance, justice, leadership/servant leadership, mission, non-violence/peaceful resistance, passion, patience, perseverance, prejudice, prisons/prisoners, purpose, race relations/racism, rebellion, segregation, social justice, steadfastness, transformation, victims, vision, waiting, wisdom
Scripture Connections: Stories of Moses leading his people out of slavery in Exodus
Idea(s) for Application: If you are a homeschool/private school teacher, consider doing a study on the life of Nelson Mandela, while comparing and contrasting his life and work to Moses, and talking about how faith grounded each figure.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 222


Picture Book: Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle

Illustrator: Susan Jeffers

Summary: The central part of this book is a portion of a speech Chief Seattle gave in the mid-1850s while sitting at a table with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs who wanted to purchase the last of Chief Seattle’s native lands for the U.S. government. At the heart of his message is a reverence for the natural world, a hope that this world will be preserved, and a warning that waste of these resources and desecration of that which is beautiful will lead to the end of life.

Hanna’s Comments: In Jeffers introduction, she gives a brief history of Chief Seattle’s ancient people and describes Chief Seattle as being one of the bravest and most respected chiefs of the Northwest Nations. In her Endnote, Jeffers explains that this speech, was given in Chief Seattle’s native tongue. It was transcribed by a friend of the chief’s but translated numerous times. Jeffers too has adapted Chief Seattle’s words for this book. She says here that Chief Seattle’s words now haunt us. Our present environmental concerns, which have become more pressing and complicated since this book’s publication, as well as Jeffers’ striking illustrations here only add to that haunting.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 1991

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Biography, Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, abuse/abuse of power, America, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, animals, awe, beauty, blessings, caring/tending, care of creation, citizenship, consumerism/consumption/riches, creation, dependence/interdependence, diversity, Earth/world, the environment/nature, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s care/providence, God’s presence, gratitude/thanksgiving, greed/selfishness, heritage, heroes, humanity, land/mountains/soil, legends/myths/manna, mentors/teachers, North America, prophesy/prophets, protecting/protection, reverence, treasure, vision, water, wilderness, wisdom  

Scripture Connections: For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7); long ago, at many times in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets (Hebrews 1:1)

Idea(s) for Application: The idea of prophets and prophesies is somewhat foreign to many of us. Chief Seattle and his words here seem like good examples of these concepts, especially when you consider how Chief Seattle’s passions and warnings, like those of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, were largely ignored. Instead, they were remembered after the painful prophesies came true. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 221


Picture Book: All the Places to Love

Author: Patricia Maclachlan

Illustrator: Mike Wimmer

Summary: At his birth, Eli begins cherishing his family’s farm as soon as his grandmother wraps him in a blanket made of the wool from their sheep and holds him up to the window to feel the wind and see all the places to love. Eli tells of each family member’s favorite place on the farm and why. While his baby sister, Sylvie, is born, Eli waits in the barn with his grandfather for the news and then carves her name into a rafter where all their names have been carved at birth. Eli looks forward to showing Sylvie all the places to love as his loving family has shown him.  

Hanna’s Comments: This is a beautiful book about the power of place and how loving experiences in these places will ground and connect you. It celebrates the natural world and intergenerational family bonds. The affection Eli has for his family home reminds me of the love and longing that so many Jews of old had (and modern Jews have) for their homeland, especially for the city of Jerusalem and their Temple.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper Collins, 1994

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 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: abundance/bounty, affection, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, babies/children, belonging, birth/birthday, blessings, bonds/connections, the environment/nature, family, fathers, gentleness/meekness, God’s care/providence, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, heritage, home, identity/names, love, manna,  memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mothers, nurturing, parents/parental love, relationships, reverence, security, unity

Scripture Connections: I love the place where Your glory abides. (Psalm 26:8); Oh give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 107:1); rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17)

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a wonderful book to read to children during a homecoming or anniversary of your faith community. After the reading, you could connect the family events and favorite places mentioned in the book to particular important events and special places in your religious home. Encouraging young people to think of their faith community as another kind of family and home is always a good idea.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 220


Picture Book: Give Thanks to the Lord

Author: Karma Wilson

Illustrator: Amy June Bates

Summary: From the point of view of a young boy, this rhyming verse of gratitude is a celebration of an extended family’s gathering and feasting in the fall. The smells, tastes, hugs, and laughter are palpable. It begins, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord!” This sentence, from Psalm 92:1, is repeated a few times, most heartwarmingly in the middle of the book as the family, hands held around their bounteous table, prays. When day is done and goodbyes are said, the child is carried upstairs to bed for prayers and a kiss. It ends with, “And it’s good, so good to give thanks to the Lord.”

Hanna’s Comments: One the dedication page, you’ll find that the author wrote this book to celebrate Psalm 92. Reading with American eyes, this seems like a family’s Thanksgiving gathering. Traditional American Thanksgiving foods are prepared and spread, but it is not directly stated. Therefore, this book could be read anywhere and at any time, though you may want to limit its use to the autumn since the autumn imagery is so obvious.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Zonderkidz, 2008

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

# of Pages: 24

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: God Book, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, affection, beauty, belonging, Bible/scripture, blessings, communion/Eucharist, community, companionship, dependence/interdependence, family, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, gladness/happiness, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, God’s presence, goodness, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, home, hospitality, joy, love, manna, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, nurturing, prayer, presence, Sabbath, satisfaction, security, at table, unity, worship


Scripture Connections: It is good to give thanks to the Lord… how great are Your works, O Lord! (Psalm 92:1 & 5)

Idea(s) for Application: Besides the obvious subject of gratitude, consider using this book to teach the concept of ritual as you explore this family’s rituals and consider their possible significance. Then expand to a conversation about rituals in your family of faith, whether they are rituals for worship or fellowship. Tie all of these to God’s will for us to have rituals of remembrance which are outlined in scripture such as Sabbath and Holy Communion.   

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 219


Picture Book: Circle of Thanks

Author: Susi Gregg Fowler

Illustrator: Peter Catalanotto

Summary: An Alaskan mother and her son venture into the tundra to see new otter pups. A pup falls into the water and can’t swim yet so the human mother saves the pup with little thought of payback or thanks. A chain reaction of rescues across multiple arctic animal species circles around to end with an arctic fox signaling to the human mother of her hurt son’s whereabouts in the snow.  

Hanna’s Comments: This story has some wonderful seasonal arctic imagery. Also, I love a circle story! Here you have very human-like animals which may bother some of you, but young children will love it. Despite the anthropomorphism, here is a powerful story of being rewarded for tender loving kindness.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 1998

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 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: action, animals, attentiveness/observation/seeing, bonds/connections, community, dependence/interdependence, the environment/nature, gentleness/meekness, gratitude/thanksgiving, helping, kindness, neighbors, outreach, parents/parental love, relationships, rescue

Scripture Connections: Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18); whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them (Matthew 7:12); live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson with children on how goodness grows, how loving kindness furthers kindness, or how to treat your neighbors. You may want to talk specifically about how protecting certain species of animals encourages biodiversity which leads to a richer and more stable environment for all of us. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 218


Picture Book: Thank You, God    

Author: J. Bradley Wigger

Illustrator: Jago

Summary: For the privilege of waking up each morning with the warmth of the sun to the blessings of the night, this beautiful picture book celebrates so many of the big things that God gives us that make life precious and joyful. A diverse group of characters celebrate the wonder of creation and relationship and their gratitude for God’s great generosity.

Hanna’s Comments: This beautiful picture book offers yet another opportunity for you to engage with your audience, whether they are family of birth, choice, or faith, in some direct thanksgiving to God. Gratitude, if taken seriously as a spiritual practice, can transform any community into more loving, satisfied people. This is the week we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the USA so I've recently offered and will continue to feature many books about gratitude here on PBT. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Eerdman’s Books, 2014

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

# of Pages: 26

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, God Book

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, animals, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beauty, blessings, celebration/party, creation, diversity, gladness/happiness, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, joy, life, manna, moon/space/stars/sun, prayer, satisfaction, variety, vision, wisdom, worship  

Scripture Connections:  This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24); Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1); whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through Him (Colossians 3:17)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this to an intergenerational group at your religious community’s family retreat. Consider having each family create their own thanksgiving picture book.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 217


Picture Book: Gracias Thanks

Author: Pat Mora

Illustrator: John Parra

Summary: This book is comprised of a series of bilingual thanksgiving sentences from a young boy. The sources of his gratitude range from the warmth of the sun to the color of a ladybug, from money given him by his Abuelita (grandmother) to his uncle’s guitar music, from warm chocolate syrup on ice cream to his old pajamas.

Hanna’s Comments: Bilingual texts like this one are scarce, but they are becoming more available as publisher realize the growing need. Don’t limit use of this book to just those contexts where Spanish speakers are present. Present both languages as you read, which will divulge both the beauty of languages and your gratitude for diversity. If you don’t speak Spanish, find a volunteer to read those sentences for you as you present this book to a group of children in your religious community. Encourage your children in their first language, to add to this listing of thanksgivings.   Fortunately, gratitude and God’s gifts of language have no boundaries!

Publisher & Date of Publication: Lee & Low Books, 2009

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? This is a bilingual picture book with both Spanish and English sentences on each double page spread.

Formats other than Book: Audio CD

PBT Category: Award Winner, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beauty, blessings, celebration/party, creation, diversity, gladness/happiness, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, gratitude/thanksgiving, joy, life, manna, pleasing God/the Shema, prayer, response to God, satisfaction, variety, vision, wisdom, worship

Scripture Connections: I love the place where Your glory abides. (Psalm 26:8); Oh give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 107:1); give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider teaching your children many translations of “thanks” after you read this text and then celebrating God’s gift of language diversity, goodness, providence, and generosity.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 216

Terrific Trio: Book 3

Picture Book: Thank You, Mr. Falker

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: Little Tricia loved books and couldn’t wait to learn to read. It didn’t happen in kindergarten though she did get to show off her drawing skills. In first grade Tricia couldn’t get beyond the first basic reader so she began to feel dumb. After her beloved grandparents died, school seemed even harder. Reading numbers was hard too. By third grade she was getting teased and called dumb, and by 5th grade she hated school. A classmate, Eric, began to bully her. During recess, Tricia would hide under the stairwell. Her new 5th grade teacher, Mr. Falker, explained that she didn’t see numbers and letters the way others do, but he was determined to teach her to read. After school everyday, she met again with Mr. Falker and a reading specialist who had her doing reading and writing exercises. After many months, she was able to read sentences. Thirty years later, an adult Patricia Polacca met Mr. Falker again and introduced herself. He asked what she did for a living. She was pleased to tell him with much gratitude that she makes books for children.

Hanna’s Comments: This story begins and ends with a family ritual involving pouring honey on a book and declaring that “knowledge is as sweet as honey, but it has to be chased through the pages of a book.” This autobiographical picture book, PBT’s 3rd in a Terrific Trio, again tells the story of one of Polacca’s teacher heroes. This one may have made the most influential difference in her life by protecting her from bullies and teaching her to read. Polacca seems to have had dyslexia or some other type of learning disability. This is a surprisingly common problem among school children that deserves supportive conversation in religious communities where too often differences are viewed as shameful or simply ignored. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Philomel, 1998

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Audio download, Audio cassette

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, ancestors/patriarchs/matriarchs, art, brokenness, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, caring/tending, challenges, community, differences, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, education/learning/school, encouragement, gentleness/meekness, goodness, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, helping, heroes, hiding/isolation, individuality/uniqueness, kindness, language/literacy/reading, loneliness, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mentors/teachers, obstacles, transformation

Scripture Connections: Train children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6); we who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1-2)


Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to inspire adults in your faith community to make it a priority to encourage and positively influence the children in your family of faith. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 215

Terrific Trio: Book 2

Picture Book: The Art of Miss Chew

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Patricia wants to be an artist. Back at school she enjoys her new teacher, Mr. Donovan, an immigrant from Ireland who loves to tell family stories. However, Patricia faces two struggles: there is very little opportunity for art at school and she is having trouble taking tests because she reads very slowly. Mr. Donovan gives her more time on tests which helps a great deal. After discovering her art, he refers her to the high school art teacher, Miss Chew, who has classes for younger students. Patricia is thrilled with Miss Chew’s instruction and asks to draw Mr. Donovan’s father, whose photograph is on his desk. A few weeks later, Mr. Donovan learns that his father in Ireland has died. He leaves for the funeral, and the substitute teacher doesn’t continue to give Patricia extra time on tests and insists the art lessons be discontinued. When Patricia tells Miss Chew about her slow reading, Miss Chew refers Patricia to a reading specialist who says that Patricia sees patterns rather than letters. When Mr. Donovan returns from Ireland, all is set right again. Meanwhile, Patricia’s first painting is of Mr. Donovan’s father; it is chosen for the high school art show. Mr. Donovan is brought to tears when he sees it. A defining moment occurs for Patricia as both teachers praise her talent, and she is even more determined to become an artist.

Hanna’s Comments: Be sure to read the blurb in the back where Polacca explains more about the influence of Miss Chew and her sadness that art is underfunded in schools. This is the 2nd book in a PBT Terrific Trio by Polacco where she again tells the story of teachers’ life-changing influences on her.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: G. P. Putnam’s, 2012

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2k

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, aspirations/dreams, attentiveness/observation/seeing, beginnings/morning, bonds/connections, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, challenges, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, differences, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, education/learning/school, encouragement, gifts/talents, God’s care/providence, gratitude/thanksgiving, heroes, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, intolerance, manna, mentors/teachers, relationships, rescue, respect

Scripture Connections: (See scriptures listed for Day 214); God gives skills to artists who use their skills for God’s purposes (Exodus 28:3; 31:2; 35:25); honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17)

Idea(s) for Application: What strikes me about this book is the way in which Polacca’s two teachers honored her uniqueness, whereas the substitute teacher did not. Read this story to children or youth and engage them in conversation about diversity in skills and people. Help them consider whether they tend to honor and encourage these or whether they criticize when someone is unique.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 214

Terrific Trio: Book 1

Picture Book: Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece                           

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: This is the true story of the author’s entrance into a drama class in school because of her paralyzing fear of speaking in front of her classes. Patricia loved to read and write, but she couldn’t orally share her wonderful writing. Mr. Wayne, the drama teacher, cleverly gave Patricia a backstage role so that she could use her art skills to paint backdrops. As Patricia painted, she heard the rehearsals and learned all the lines so Mr. Wayne asked her to be the prompter. When a key actor dropped out, Patricia was convinced to take the role. More importantly, Mr. Wayne understood her fears and worked with her to overcome them and build skills and confidence. Patricia learned to "let the play take her". As she spoke her first few lines the night of the public performance, the audience disappeared in her mind and she became the role. Afterwards, Mr. Wayne told Patricia, “Tonight, you’re my masterpiece.”

Hanna’s Comments: This book begins a PBT Terrific Trio in which this author and illustrator offers 3 tributes to specific teachers who made a fundamental difference in her life and helped her discover her gifts and her vocation. Consider these 3 books encouragement for you to consider who has inspired and helped you in your journey of discovery and exploration of your gifts. Be grateful and tell them so if you are able.

Publisher & Date of Publication: G. P. Putnam’s, 2014

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Biography

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, action, adaptation/assimilation, affirmation, anxiety/worry, art, bravery/courage, challenges, chosen, communication, confidence, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, doubt, education/learning/school, emotions/feelings, encouragement, fear, gifts/talents, gratitude/thanksgiving, mentors/teachers, participation, partners/teamwork, risking, self-discovery, shyness, transformation, trust/trustworthiness

Scripture Connections: Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30); every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17); as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider using this book with a confirmation class and talk to your children about discovering their gifts and using loving adults as resources and encouragers. Also, emphasize the importance of gratitude in these situations, gratitude to God for the gifts and gratitude to the loving adults for their support and encouragement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 213

Picture Book: Bear Says Thanks                   

Author: Karma Wilson

Illustrator: Jane Chapman

Summary: Bear is feeling bored and missing his friends. He decides to have a feast, but his cupboard is bare. Coincidentally, mouse comes by and brings him a huckleberry pie. Bear says, “Thanks!” A series of animal friends come next, each bringing foods to share. Eventually Bear says, “Wait!” and confesses that his cupboards are bare. His guests reassure him that there is plenty of food to share and besides, Bear can share his stories. As they settle in for a good time and good food, all the animals say, “Thanks!”

Hanna’s Comments: This rhymed and delightful text of sharing and feasting will motivate you to invite folks over for a meal and stories. Hospitality is a spiritual practice that is often found in the scriptures. As the fall and winter holidays draw near, be sure to be thankful to those who invite you into their homes and consider doing the same.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur videos are on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, anxiety/worry, blessings, communion/Eucharist, companionship, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, friends/friendship, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, goodness, grace, gratitude/thanksgiving, humility, manna, neighbors, pleasing God/the Shema, possessions, presence, reassurance, at table

Scripture Connections: Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you (Exodus 16:4); contribute to the needs of the saints and show hospitality (Romans 12:13); show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book in a lesson with members of your family of faith on God giving manna, hospitality, or the importance of gathering around food and stories. Connect this idea with the many times God demonstrates and encourages hospitality in the Holy Scriptures.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 212


Picture Book: The Secret of Saying Thanks 

Author: Douglas Wood

Illustrator: Greg Shed

Summary: This book tells of a wondrous secret. It’s the secret of being attentive and grateful for the bounty that is ours to discover, particularly in nature. You can discover it at dawn when you notice the beauty of the morning. Discover this delightful secret while enjoying the shade under an old tree. This author goes on to suggest other ways and places to discover the secret of saying thanks such as when holding a hand or saying a prayer for “the heart that gives thanks is a happy one.”

Hanna’s Comments: I love this author’s books! He demonstrates such sensitivity to the beauty and awe of nature. His encouragement to be more contemplative and grateful is welcome instruction for children and especially adults who are busy and stressed in ways that too often lead to them starving for the natural world or worse, having a sense of entitlement, oblivion, and ingratitude.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster, 2005

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: God Book

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beauty, blessings, diversity, emotions/feelings, the environment/nature, flowers/leaves/trees, God’s will, gratitude/thanksgiving, holiness, joy, manna, moon/space/stars/sun, prayer, response to God, righteousness, satisfaction, secrets/wisdom, wonder

Scripture Connections: Oh give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good (Psalm 107:1); every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children, youth, or adults before taking a hike or prayer walk together. You might even march around your place of worship, giving thanks for the bounty that is yours.