Friday, April 3, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 349

Picture Book: A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope

Author & Illustrator: Michael Foreman 

Summary: A barbed wire fence divides a boy’s ruined community from a group of soldiers and their city. He finds a small plant emerging from the rubble and is determined to help it survive. It is a grape vine that thrives in his care, tendrils climbing the fence while the soldiers watch. Children begin playing there, as well as birds and butterflies. Once it’s large, the soldiers pull the vine out of the soil and leave it in a ditch on their side of the fence to rot. Winter comes; the boy and his family survive, and so does the vine, for it had scattered its seeds all along the fence, but the plants would have to survive on their own for the boy could not reach them. Soon he sees a young girl tending the shoots in the ditch. New shoots appear on his side too so he yells for the girl to come see. Each child tends their garden and soon their vines become entwined. Birds, butterflies, and children return and the boy concludes that despite the soldiers, the vine’s roots are deep, seeds will spread, hope remains, and the fence will eventually disappear so the children may play in freedom again.

Hanna’s Comments: This parable of war is about relationships built on hope and work. Metaphors abound here. Don’t limit your discussion to issues of war and peace, though they are prominent. Talk about how trust and civility, between two people or nations, is hard and easily deterred when circumstances are difficult. Consider how human relationships can survive despite the damage of selfishness, hurtful words, scarcity, and even violence. Connect this story to any verses in our Holy Scriptures having to do with forgiveness, grace, hope, faithfulness, freedom, resurrection, or even evangelism.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Candlewick Press, 2009

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present 

Formats other than Book: Video on 

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book connects with: abuse/abuse of power, action, adaptation/assimilation, babies/children, beauty, brokenness, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, caring/tending, care of creation, commitment, conflict, enemies, the environment/nature, evangelism, exile/separation/walls, faith/faithfulness, forgiveness/mercy/redemption, freedom, fruit of the Spirit, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, God’s nature, grace, harvest, home, hope, image of God, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, neighbors, nurturing, pacifism/peace/peacemakers, passion, steadfastness, transformation, violence, war/war veterans, water

Scripture Connections: … and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6); for I know the plans I have for you…plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11); the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37); one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much (Luke 16:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this powerful parable to a group of children, youth, or adults who are talking about issues of peace, war, forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, faithfulness, resurrection, or evangelism. 

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