Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 298

Picture Book: Last Stop on Market Street

Author: Mark De La Pena

Illustrator: Christian Robinson 

Summary: Little CJ and his grandmother ride the bus across the city every Sunday after church. CJ begins to notice how others are different from him so he asks questions of his Nana, questions that she answers with an affirming tone that encourages him to notice and interact with the abundant life that surrounds him. CJ is open to these new experiences. When they get off the bus, CJ asks why it is always so dirty in the neighborhood. Nana wisely answers, “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.” When they arrive at their destination, a place where a communal meal is being served to the poor, CJ sees the faces of familiar friends and proclaims that he is glad they came. Nana agrees and begins serving the meal with CJ beside her.

Hanna’s Comments: If quickly read, this picture book offers a nice story about diversity and abundance. However, there is much more here. Have your questions ready to ask the children either during or after you’ve read the story. You may want to prompt them with a few questions before reading.  Talk about how they can be more aware of differences across communities, particularly when traveling. Delve into issues of poverty, income segregation, gated communities, hospitality, jealousy, judgment, and/or engagement with those who are different. In our church we are working towards developing deeper relationships across differences. This requires time, effort, and sometimes vulnerability and risk. Use this book well, and I believe it will bless your community. Also, this book was recently highlighted on NPR. Here’s the link: http://www.npr.org/2015/02/06/383856887/on-board-a-city-bus-a-little-boy-finds-the-route-to-gratitude

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, video, audio download

PBT Category: Award Winner (Newbery Award & Caldecott Honor)

PBT Topics this Book connects with: abundance/bounty, acceptance, attentiveness/observation/seeing, blessings, body of Christ, choir/music/singing/songs, community, coveting/envy/jealousy, differences, diversity, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, humanity, integration, jealousy, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, kindness, listening, openness, outreach, poverty, presence, questioning/questions, sharing, at table, travel, variety, wisdom, witness

Scripture Connections:  All these blessings shall come upon you if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city. (Deuteronomy 28: 2-3); I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are learning about the importance of sharing in diverse community, including sharing experiences such as meals, music, stories, worship experiences, and even sharing the bus or other transportation. OR Read this book to a group of youth or adults who are about to embark on a mission activity with those who are different. Encourage them to notice and be open to the abundance of life and the blessings of the relationships and experiences to come.