Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 259

Terrific Trio: Book 2

Picture Book: The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins

Author: Lester Laminack

Illustrator: Constance R. Bergum

Summary: Confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home, Miss Olivia Wiggins can’t speak anymore, but she can remember. An attendant rolls her over to a window so that she can watch a beautiful sunset. Then Miss Olivia begins remembering sunsets of her past. This verse is repeated throughout the story: “All the while Miss Olivia just sat facing the window. Her hands still and folded in her lap. She didn’t move, she didn’t even blink, but slowly, quietly she began to think…” Then an important memory is described. When her daughter, Angel, and great-grandson, Troy, visit, they speak to her lovingly about shared memories which leads Miss Olivia to remember milestones such as Angel’s birth and the first time she held Troy. Eventually the visit must end and Miss Olivia is taken to dinner. The story ends with Troy’s belief that his Mama Olivia does remember even though there is no proof. Troy is comforted to know that he will visit her again and help her remember more memories.  

Hanna’s Comments: This is a second offering of a PBT Terrific Trio of books about responding to declining elderly family members. In both books you have boys lovingly interacting with matriarchs. As you read this book, invite young listeners to look for the toy horse which is in many of the illustrations and consider why the author offered this thread. After the reading, engage your audience in conversation about their aging family members and how they can attend to them with visits and conversation. You could also talk about the importance of memories and how they ground us and give us identity. Tie these ideas to the important memories of your faith community, including those that are recent and those that are scriptural.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Peachtree Publishers, 1998

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: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: aging, attentiveness/observation/seeing, change, death/loss/grief, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, grandparents, family, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, milestones, mothers, vision

Scripture Connections: Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12); stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man (Leviticus 19:32); that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation (Esther 9:28); don’t rebuke an older man but encourage him (1 Timothy 5:1)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this story to a group of children or youth in your faith community who are about to visit a nursing home.