Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 256


Picture Book: I Like Myself

Author: Karen Beaumont

Illustrator: David Catrow

Summary: This picture book delightfully invites listeners to celebrate who they are uniquely made to be. The little girl on the cover and throughout the book has confidence in who she is, even with beaver breath, messy hair, or hypothetical horns. She doesn’t care what others think of her or call her. She likes her insides and her outsides. No matter how others view her, she knows there is more to her than what can be seen. The book ends with these words, “I like myself because I’m ME!”  
   
Hanna’s Comments: To counteract what the media tells them and the sometimes stringent expectations of teachers and parents, children need to hear that they are each lovingly made, unique children of God, full of unusual mixtures of gifts, inclinations, and possibilities. With a connection to the scriptural truth of being made in God’s image or likening our bodies to one of God’s temples, this book will offer such a lesson. Your listeners should be encouraged to discover and claim their own unique identities. What better place to affirm them than in a faith community that is invested in the welfare of each child? 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2004

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio CD, amateur videos are on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, authenticity, beauty, confidence, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, differences, emotions/feelings, gifts/talents, gladness/happiness, goodness, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, joy, self-reflection, self-acceptance/self-image/self-esteem

Scripture Connections: Made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); to get wisdom is to love yourself (Proverbs 19:8a); your body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19); I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this story to young children when celebrating how all of us are different and uniquely made in God’s image. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 255


Picture Book: Hope Springs

Author: Eric Walters

Illustrator: Eugenie Fernandes

Summary: Boniface is a young orphan boy in Kenya who leads a group of younger orphans to gather water down at the small spring shared by the entire drought-ridden village, a spring that is simply drops of water, seeping from rocks into a muddy puddle. Because the orphans are new to the area, the children are forced to leave without water. The adults give this reason: “You may live here, but you are not from here. This is our water for our families.” When they return, Henry, Boniface’s houseparent, explains that they were not welcome to get water because the villagers are afraid their own families will not have water. The spring could dry up anytime. Meanwhile, through donations to the orphanage, a well is being built next to the orphanage. When the orphanage’s well is successfully dug, Boniface suggests that the well-digging equipment be used to build a well in the valley for the villagers. Henry agrees as long as the villagers provide the labor. The village well is successfully built and named Hope Springs. The book ends with these words: “And there was enough water – and enough kindness - for all.”  

Hanna’s Comments: My favorite line in this inspiring true story is Boniface’s response to his Henry’s surprise that the boy wants to help those who turned him away. “We are not desperate… so perhaps we can be kind. I know that when you give water, you give life.” If only more people could overcome fear and scarcity with such generosity! On my PBT blog, I use the non-fiction category more loosely than you would find in a library. If a picture book is based on a true story, I categorize it as non-fiction. is an example. It’s unlikely you’ll find it in the non-fiction section of your library. Look in the fiction section. In the back of the book, you’ll see The Story Behind the Story which includes a map and photographs of the characters and places in the story, including the built wells. You may want to learn more about the author’s philanthropic endeavors for orphans in Kenya at www.creationofhope.com.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Tundra Books, 2014

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present, but there is a 15 minute TEDx video on Youtube.com of the author talking about his experiences in Kenya.

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, Africa, anxiety/worry, babies/children, blessings, body of Christ, challenges, community, dependence/interdependence, discord, drink/thirst, drought, fear, forgiveness/mercy/redemption, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, goodness, grace, helping, hope, insecurity, intolerance, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, leadership/servant leadership, neighbors, orphans, outreach, partners/teamwork, problems/problem solving, sharing, survival, water, wisdom

Scripture Connections:  You shall treat the stranger as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:34); and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6); blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6); when did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book with children or youth when talking about scarcity of water in many places in the world or overcoming selfishness and fear with generosity.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 254


Picture Book: Amos & Boris

Author & Illustrator: William Steig

Summary: The story begins with Amos, a mouse who loves the sea, deciding to build a boat and set sail. Amos gets so caught up in the beauty of the sea and sky, that he rolls into the ocean. His boat drifts away, and he is left to tread water. Eventually, he is rescued by Boris, a whale and fellow mammal, though a very different sort, who considers it a privilege to take Amos home and learn about such a small creature. Along the way, the two become devoted friends with little in common but much admiration between them. When they say goodbye, Amos offers future help to his friend, but Boris wonders how his little friend could ever help such a big whale. Many years later, a hurricane strands Boris on Amos’ shore. Immediately they recognize each other, and Boris begs his little friend for help. Amos recruits two elephant friends who push Boris so that he rolls into the sea. Once again, the pair have to say goodbye, knowing they may never meet again but also knowing they will never forget each other.

Hanna’s Comments: There is a lot of potential here for meaningful conversations about high quality friendships, particularly those that are long-term and involve parties that are very different. This story also emphasizes the honor of responding to a friend in need. In the Christian tradition, we talk about the body of Christ as being comprised of valuable individuals with different strengths and needs. This book would help explore that concept or it could be used when teaching about Paul’s relationships with his traveling companions.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1971

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

# of Pages: 28

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, There is an amateur video on Youtube.com.

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: beach/ocean/sea/shore, body of Christ, bonds/connections, cooperation, covenant/promises/vows, differences, friends/friendship, helping, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, land/mountains/soil, partners/teamwork, preparation, rescue, saving/savior

Scripture Connections: Paul’s friendships and travels with Barnabus, Silas, Timothy, Aquila, or Priscilla in the book of Acts; the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book with listeners of all ages to illustrate the concept of the body of Christ or important long-term friendships found in our Holy Scriptures. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 253


Picture Book: Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution

Author: Pat Miller

Illustrator: Kathi Ember

Summary: Squirrel hears about making a New Year’s Resolution on the radio, but she doesn’t know what that means so she asks Bear. Bear explains that a resolution is “a promise you make to yourself to be better or to help others. When we begin a new year, we make a fresh start.” Squirrel is intrigued. As she visits with her friends throughout the morning, she hears of their resolutions and helps them in their endeavors. When her friends are gathered at the diner for lunch, Squirrel is frustrated because all her friends have made New Year’s resolutions, but she has not. After realizing how helpful Squirrel has been to her friends all day, Rabbit suggests that Squirrel has already begun a wonderful resolution: To help someone every day. Squirrel agrees and predicts that it is going to be a very happy year.

Hanna’s Comments: The concept of making resolutions can be very confusing for young children. This story will offer a faith community, private school classroom, or homeschool group an opportunity to explore making resolutions for the new year. You may want to expand the concept to making a promise to God as well as self while explaining how God hopes we will continually develop our godly inclinations and expand our righteous behaviors, especially those that benefit others. In my religious tradition, we call this moving on to perfection, developing holy habits, or growing discipleship.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Whitman Books, 2010

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: action, beginnings/morning, challenges, change, choices/decisions, commitment, covenant/promises/vows, disciples/discipleship, encouragement, God’s will, goodness, growing up/growth, helping, holiness, neighbors, pleasing God/the Shema, righteousness

Scripture Connections: The Lord is a shield to those who walk in integrity… Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path. (Proverbs 2:5); pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22); let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4); whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him. (1 John 2:5).

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to help children in your faith community understand the concept of resolutions and how they can encourage us to become more godly in our thoughts and behaviors. Be sure to offer suggestions of simple ways your children could do this throughout the new year, and follow up with encouragement as the year progresses including sharing how you are doing with your own resolution. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 252


Picture Book: All God’s Critters

Author: Bill Stains

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

Summary: This picture book is comprised of the lyrics to a folk song written and made famous by Bill Stains. Here are the lyrics to the chorus:
All God’s critters got a place in the choir.
Some sing low, some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire,
And some just clap their hands,
or paws, or anything they got.
The verses describe where on the scales various species sing while all are delighting in the sounds of God’s creatures.

Hanna’s Comments: This is nice big book so you’ll be able to show the illustrations easily. The score to the song is in the back so you can even teach your children the song and invite them to sing as you show the fun illustrations. Celebrate God’s creativity with song and praise of Earth’s bounty of creatures, great and small. You may another book with this title and these lyrics, but different illustrations by Margot Zemach.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster, 2009

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

# of Pages: 36

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: There are several versions of this song being performed on Youtube.com.

PBT Category: Song book, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adoration, animals, choir/music/singing/songs, communication, creation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, differences, diversity, the environment/nature, joy, language/literacy/reading, noise/sounds/voice, response to God, variety, worship

Scripture Connections: Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the Earth. Worship the Lord with gladness. (Psalm 100:1); Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book or sing along with it when teaching children about God’s creatures and the creative diversity they demonstrate. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 251


Picture Book: Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Author & Illustrator: John Hendrix

Summary: A letter to his mother from Charlie, a fictional British WWI soldier, serves as the basis of this telling of the true story of the Christmas truce of 1914. The temporary cease fire begins with Christmas carols heard from the German trenches. Then small Christmas trees appear. Next a can of jam is thrown from the British trench. A British and a German officer meet in the middle of the battleground, shake hands, and signal their soldiers to come forward. Soldiers from both sides come together in “no man’s land” burying their dead, trading tokens to substitute for Christmas gifts, and even taking photographs. Most of Christmas afternoon is spent in this way. Soon after returning to their trenches, a furious British Major arrives and orders them to begin shooting. Charlie suspects they will aim high, shooting at the stars at least for a while. Apart from the story, you’ll find a detailed introduction and Author’s Note which explain the complications of WWI and why there were no more Christmas truces in the remaining 4 years of the war. Also, check out the photograph of a group of soldiers at the event, a glossary, bibliography, and index.

Hanna’s Comments: Thematically, this story and its supplemental material emphasize the contrast between the suffering soldiers stuck in the trenches who long for peace and the outside political and military forces that keep them there for 4 long years. It is a hard story to hear but an important one. Non-Christians should be comfortable using this book since Christian doctrine is not mentioned.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harry N. Abrams, 2014

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish?  Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Non-fiction


PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, action, adaptation/assimilation, bonds/connections, bravery/courage, brokenness, choir/music/singing/songs, conflict, danger, enemies, Europe, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, pacifism/peace/peacemakers, surprise, trust/trustworthiness, violence, war/war veterans, wisdom

Scripture Connections: When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them (Proverbs 16:7); blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God (Matthew 5:9); if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18); let him seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11)

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a great book to read to an audience of any age during the week before Christmas. Emphasize the theme of peace and how it requires risk and trust.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 250


Picture Book: An Orange for Frankie

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: This true story of Polacco’s grandmother’s family of origin begins a few days before Christmas as the annual rituals are being anticipated. Before Christmas Eve is over, Frankie, the youngest boy of 9 children, must make 2 confessions. The Stowells are a generous family. When the train comes through, the engineer stops the train and brings the hobos to the Stowells home for a warm meal. Generous Frankie, gives a shirtless hobo a nearly new sweater that Frankie’s sister knitted for him. Frankie is especially excited about the 9 oranges, 1 for each child, that his Pa always brings from Lansing and places on the mantle. However, the weather is delaying his father. The preparations continue as if Pa wasn’t absent, but all are worried. Frankie is especially focused on the missing oranges. Pa does arrive, and the oranges are placed on the mantle and all are told not to touch them until after Christmas Eve worship. While his family gets dressed for church, Frankie holds his orange and then places it in his pocket. As the evening progresses, the orange is lost. Once home, Frankie hides and cries in his room upstairs. When his mother asks for an explanation, he confesses both the sweater gift and the absence of his orange. She praises his generosity, but leaves him in his room to ponder his actions regarding the orange. Meanwhile downstairs, Ma explains, and Frankie’s siblings each give 1 section of their orange to create the shape of a new orange for Frankie and wrap them with ribbon. When Frankie comes down, he is given his orange. Pa explains, “Our family is like your orange, Frankie. Love holds us together like the ribbon.” Sadly, this book ends with Polacco explaining that the Christmas of Frankie’s orange was Frankie’s last Christmas, but he has been remembered fondly by generations throughout the extended family because of this story.

Hanna’s Comments: This is such a rich story! I can understand why it has been passed down through Polacca’s family. It celebrates family rituals of generosity, holiday cheer, and loving bonds. It also touches on issues of disobeying parents, disappointing others, heartfelt confession, and sweet mercy from those who you love most. This is a story that offers much for consideration and conversation. Encourage your listeners to talk about the importance and faith aspects of their December holiday rituals and what they remember most about them.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Philomel Books, 2004

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up

# of Pages: 48

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: ancestor/patriarchs & matriarchs, blessings, brokenness, covenant/promises/vows, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, disobedience/obedience, family, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, forgiveness/mercy/redemption, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s nature, grace, grandparents, greed/selfishness, guilt, heritage, home, honesty, hospitality, intercession, kingdom of God/reign of God, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mistakes, nurturing, parables/stories, parents/parental love, possessions, regret/repentance, secrets, sharing, siblings/sibling rivalry, sin, temptations, unity

Scripture Connections: Whoever conceals his transgression will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13); confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to children or adults in your faith community and encourage them to consider the best and worst of Frankie and how each of them might share some of his qualities. Talk about the examples of grace in this story. Then talk about the importance of holiday rituals, family stories, and unconditional love.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 249


Picture Book: Images of God for Young Children

Author: Marie-Helene Delval

Illustrator: Barbara Nascimbeni

Summary: This book offers a collection of images of God that are found in the Old and New Testaments. Aspects of God are explained in terms children will understand through visual, concrete images as well as abstract analogies. Examples include God is light, God is promise, God is mercy, and God is peace. There are even some difficult questions to consider here such as: “Why do some people fight in the name of God?” Then the book offers simple explanations that you may want to expand on.

Hanna’s Comments: Unlike most picture books, this book should not all be read in one sitting. Instead its entries should be savored. In fact, each of the 40 themes are so rich you could create a whole series of conversations or even lessons based on the variety of images for God given here.  Non-Christians could leave out the two entries referencing Jesus. The same author wrote another wonderful book Psalms for Children, which is comprised of paraphrases of some of the Psalms that emphasize a range of human feelings.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Erdmans, 2010

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

# of Pages: 96

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, adoration, awe, Bible/scripture, God’s nature, Holy Spirit/spirit, image of God, Jesus

Scripture Connections: This book connects with numerous scriptures depending on the image.

Idea(s) for Application: Read small portions of this book to a child or group of children and engage them in conversation about particular images of God as found in the Bible.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 248


Picture Book: May I Bring a Friend

Author: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

Illustrator: Beni Montresor

Summary: A small boy receives an invitation from the king and queen to come to their castle for Sunday tea. He asks, “May I bring a friend?” Their reply: “My dear, my dear, any friend of our friend is welcome here.” So the boy brings a giraffe. This pattern repeats each day of the week, and each time the boy brings a more outrageous animal. The king and queen are always welcoming and adapt to the strange situation and guests. On Saturday, the boy invites the king and queen to have tea with his friends so all go to the city zoo for tea.

Hanna’s Comments: Do practice reading this silly tale in verse aloud several times before reading it to your children. It has a difficult and unusual rhyme and rhythm. This picture book offers an opportunity to talk about the true nature of hospitality, why it is a spiritual practice, how the king and queen might represent God’s true nature, and funny stories about unusual guests and/or surprised hosts.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Atheneum Books, 1964

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

# of Pages: 48

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio download

PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott), Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, chaos/disorder, differences, diversity, evangelism, exclusion/inclusion, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, gladness/happiness, God’s nature, God’s will, hospitality, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, integration, reign of God/kingdom of God, openness, outreach, outsiders, participation, play, pleasing God/the Shema, at table, tolerance, variety

Scripture Connections: You shall treat the stranger as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:34); When did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of young children when talking to them about hospitality at home or at your faith community’s meeting place.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 247

Picture Book: Maddi’s Fridge
Author: Louise Brandt
Illustrator: Vin Vogel
Summary: Best friends Sophia and Maddi spend each day together, playing outside, attending school, and hanging out at each other’s home. When Sophia accidentally discovers Maddi’s nearly empty fridge and realizes her friend has no access to milk at home, Sophia becomes very worried. Maddi asks her to keep their situation a secret so Sophia struggles for days, worried about her friend but compelled to keep the secret. Often it is when Sophia is eating at her home, where a bounty of nutritious food is prepared, that she asks her mother questions about food. The burden of her promise to keep Maddi’s secret becomes heavier with each meal. Finally, she tells her mother, and they respond by bringing food to Maddi’s home and talking with Maddi’s mother about how they can help. Sophia is relieved, and their relationship is not damaged. Meanwhile, there is an interesting play ritual between the girls that involves competition, strengths, and weaknesses.
Hanna’s Comments: It’s rare to see a book that is so outwardly inviting be about such a profound and stark subject as hunger. Fortunately, the issue of hunger and the broader issue of poverty are handled in a way that is wonderfully appropriate for children, presenting some of the confusion that many children must feel when confronted with this issue. After the story, there is a call to action section which lists six ways children can respond to hunger as well as information on anti-hunger groups.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Flashlight Press, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
# of Pages: 32
Available in Spanish? Not at present
Formats other than Book: Tablet
PBT Category: Fresh off the Press
PBT Topics this Book Connects with: anxiety/worry, betrayal, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections, caring/tending, choices/decisions, companionship, competition, consumerism/consumption/riches, covenant/promises/vows, dependence/interdependence, differences, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, friends/friendship, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, mothers, play, poverty, risking, sharing, at table
Scripture Connections: If your kin become poor and cannot maintain, you shall support them (Leviticus 25:35); when did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40); parable of the great feast (Luke 14: 15-24)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children when studying the complex issue of hunger or poverty. Be sure to help them understand how your faith community responds to hunger and the broader issue of poverty.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 246


Picture Book: Lightship

Author & Illustrator: Brian Floca

Summary: Anchored on waters where lighthouses could not be built, lightships served similar purposes, offering beacons of light, loud horns, and radio signals warning passing ships of rocks, shoals, reefs, or shipwrecks. This picture book offers specific details about what life was like for lightship sailors as they held their one sure spot so that other, much larger vessels, would be safe as they passed. Illustrations and text offer details of the compartments and equipment of a lightship and the varying atmospheric conditions, particularly the close quarters and the sometimes dangerous rendezvous with ships. An interesting historical note in the back will offer more detailed material. The end papers have a fascinating cross-section drawing of the layout of a particular lightship that inspired this illustrator's drawings. That lightship is now docked in New York City.

Hanna’s Comments: This is such a fun book! Most of us know about lighthouses, but who knew about lightships! Encourage your audience to look for the cat in most of the illustrations. Consider what it must have been like for the sailors to be isolated so long, stuck in the waters and vulnerable to the weather and the huge ships that they were there to protect. There are lots of possibilities for conversation and connections to scripture here.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Antheneum Books, 2007

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

# of Pages: 48

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: America, beach/ocean/pond/river/sea/shore, bravery/courage, call/calling/vocation, challenges, commitment, communication, danger, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, directions/maps, geography, God’s nature, helping, heroes, hiding/isolation, heroes, labor/work, light/morning, loneliness, obstacles, protecting/protection, purpose, risking, rocks/shells/stones, safety, storms, unity, waiting, water, weather

Scripture Connections: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105); let your light shine before others. (Matthew 5:16); the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5); I am the light of the world. (John 8:12)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book for an interesting lesson on light. Make connections between the light of the lightships and the various kinds of light in the Holy Scriptures. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 245

Dynamic Duo: Book 2

Picture Book: Say Hello

Authors & Illustrators: Jack Foreman & Michael Foreman

Summary: This story in verse begins with a dog who is apparently feeling lonely. Then he spies a group of children playing and easily joins the fun. Meanwhile, a shy child off to the side asks, “Why am I the only one? (the only one who is left out).” The other children don’t seem to notice him. The dog does though and offers him a ball with an unspoken message to, ”Come join the fun. No need to be the lonely one.” All the other children then notice. Together they shout one simple word, “Hello!” and welcome him to play.

Hanna’s Comments: This simple, but poignant picture book offers a direct challenge to readers, particularly children. When you are caught up in your fun activities, take time to notice who is feeling left out. Then be more welcoming to them. I know some adults who would benefit from this reminder. There are times, you could argue, when the behavior of shy people, like the child in the story, encourages being excluded. You could argue that it’s their own fault. However, I believe the children of God are called to pay attention and be especially welcoming to the outsiders, the on-lookers, the shy ones, the least. Help the children in your faith community be more sensitive and welcoming to those who might be shy or feel left out. Overtly teach them skills such as how to carry a conversation by asking questions and searching for common interests. Talk about the difference between being encouraging and pushy. Remind them to respect those who don’t want to participate. Like yesterday’s PBT Dynamic Duo entry book with the same title, this book includes the word “hello” in various languages. You’ll find these on the back end pages, not in the narrative.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Candlewick, 2008

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, animals, attentiveness/observation/seeing, belonging, chosen, communication, community, exclusion/inclusion, golden rule, hiding/isolation, hospitality, insecurity, loneliness, outsiders, participation, perspective, relationships, risking, shyness, waiting

Scripture Connections: You shall treat the stranger as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:34); When did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book in a lesson for children on hospitality. See details in my comments above. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 244

Dynamic Duo: Book 1

Picture Book: Say Hello!

Author & Illustrator: Rachel Isadora

Summary: Carmelita is very friendly to those in her diverse neighborhood. She has even learned to say “hello” in many languages. As she and her mother walk to Abuela Rosa’s, she does just that. Other words and visual cues such as signs, dress, and food give more information about the culture of her neighbors. Amazingly, Manny, Carmelita’s dog, has a “woof” that can be understood by everyone as well especially Carmelita when he wants some ice cream from the ice cream truck.

Hanna’s Comments: Be sure to check out the helpful pronunciation guide in the back of the book before reading aloud so that you can teach your children how to say these important words. Then talk to them about the essential spiritual practices of hospitality and empathy and the joy of language and communication. This is the first in a PBT Dynamic Duo of 2 books with the same name, both emphasizing the importance of being friendly to others.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2010

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, but there are some videos on Youtube.com that demonstrate saying “hello” in many different languages.

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abundance/bounty, acceptance, attentiveness/observation/seeing, belonging, communication, community, culture, differences, diversity, golden rule, hospitality, language/literacy/reading, neighbors, neighborhood, openness, pets, pleasing God/the Shema, relationships, variety

Scripture Connections: For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Idea(s) for Application: Being friendly is a concept understood by children, but sometimes they need to be taught exactly how to go about it, why it’s important, and how it relates to their faith. Emphasize God’s desire for them to be empathic, sensitive, and welcoming members of your faith community as well as their neighborhoods and schools.