Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 330

Picture Book: It Takes a Village

Author & Illustrator: Jane Cowen-Fletcher

Summary: It is market day in Yemi’s African village. Yemi’s mother, who will be busy selling mangos, has asked Yemi to look after Kokou, her little brother. Feeling very grown up, Yemi proclaims that she will look after Kokou “all by herself.” Her mother knows better as do the women of the market when this situation is explained to them. Kokou wanders off the first chance he gets. As she frantically searches for him, Yemi imagines the specific difficulties Kokou is having, but each time the reader sees that he is actually being tended to by various villagers at the market and having a great time. Finally Yemi yells out that Kokou is lost. Nearby a stranger asks, “Is this your Kokou?” Yemi thanks him, and he explains that others took care of Kokou while pointing to where Kokou came from. Yemi and Kokou retrace his steps and thank all the new friends in their village who helped Yemi take care of Kokou. Hurrying back to their mother, Yemi is anxious, for they have been gone a long time, but their mother hasn’t worried. She explains, “You weren’t alone today, Yemi. We don’t raise our children by ourselves. It takes a village to raise a child.”

Hanna’s Comments: The words of Yemi’s mother are a well-known African proverb that has seemed very true to me since long before I had my children. I think I agree with it so whole-heartedly because I had the privilege of growing up in a large extended family and a small church that was like family. Other important individuals in children’s lives make up their village: teachers, coaches, school counselors, neighbors, etc. Encourage this kind of investment in all the children in your faith community so that parents of young children can feel a little less daunted by the crucial and taxing task of raising children. Once grown, the children will look back on the many nurturing relationships they were blessed to have and just might be the adults your community needs to lead the next generation.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 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, Africa, anxiety/worry, babies/children, belonging, body/body of Christ, caring/tending, community, dependence/interdependence, found, goodness, gratitude/thanksgiving, growing up/growth, helping, lost, love, mentors/teachers, mothers, neighbors, nurturing, parents/parental love, protecting/protection, relationships, safety, wisdom 

Scripture Connections: Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2); let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book at a parenting class in your religious community or when training a team of those who will care for children while parents are away.