Monday, February 23, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 310

Picture Book: A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

Author: Emily Jenkins

Illustrator: Sophie Blackall

Summary: Across four family stories and centuries (1710, 1810, 1910, 2010), this book explains how one recipe (Blackberry Fool) and the methods and tools for making it have evolved over time. In the back pages, you’ll find a Note from the Author and a Note from the Illustrator. Both explain their preparatory research for the book. The author also explains how she subtly included issues of craftsmanship, hardship, slavery, and gender roles leading to the last story which is of a hopeful, diverse, and inclusive community.

Hanna’s Comments: There’s a great deal to talk about in this book!  One of the advantages of using rich secular picture books in ministry is to bring in valuable historical and cultural information and then encourage connections to faith concepts. These connections encourage deeper, more meaningful learning. Before reading, be sure to ask your listeners to notice how things change from story to story and what stays the same. For younger audiences have them focus on three changing aspects: 1. How did receiving ingredients change? 2. How did the tools change? and 3. How did the racial/gender roles change? After this conversation, use these stories to connect many of the elements in the making of Blueberry Fool to elements of worship. These too have changed. You may have to do a little research on the history of worship in your faith community or denomination. You could talk about music, behavior, dress, schedules, sermons, locations, and racial/gender roles. At the heart of your lesson, like the author does with her story, there are aspects of worship that continue relatively unchanged, such as a focus on God, prayer, praise, teaching, and loving community. Emphasize these, and talk about how meaningful worship can be just as yummy as Blueberry Fool! If you are able, I strongly suggest enjoying some of the dessert. Having the children help you make it is even better.

Since the initial writing of this blog post, this book has become controversial so I want to make you aware of this and give you the link to a New York Times article which explains the controversy. Judge for yourself. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/07/books/a-fine-dessert-judging-a-book-by-the-smile-of-a-slave.html

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015

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

# of Pages: 44

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: abundance/bounty, America, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, babies/children, blessings, bonds/connections, change, consumerism/consumption/riches, family, fathers, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, fruit/fruit of the Spirit, goodness, gratitude/thanksgiving, helping, heritage, home, joy, labor/work, mothers, parents/parental love, partners/teamwork, slavery/slaves, transformation, worship

Scripture Connections: Oh come let us worship (Psalm 95:6); sing praises to the Lord for the Lord had done gloriously (Isaiah 12:5)

Idea(s) for Application: As explained in my comments above, use this book as a metaphor for how worship has evolved, but like when making this dessert, at that heart of all worship are loving relationships.