Friday, June 19, 2015

Waiting for Whales and Gardens Thanks to Kohl's

I Need to See a Whale
Now and then life gets in the way of your delights. I’ve not posted for a while because I promised myself that writing a post would be my reward only after I applied to numerous jobs, the kind that will pay me money. Today we both get my reward! It’s no surprise that I found just the perfect picture book to explain my absence thanks to, of all places, a Kohl’s department store display. More about that later. 
Picture Book: If You Want to See a Whale

Author: Julie Fogliano

Illustrator: Erin E. Stead

Summary: This delightful book is full of advice on how to look for a whale. “You will need a window and an ocean.” AND Don’t look at "the ship that is sailing and the flag that is flapping.” There is not enough time to do the things you may want to do like smell the roses or determine if the pelican is smiling because pelicans and roses can never be a whale. Be sure to keep both eyes on the sea and wait and wait and wait….

Hanna’s Comments: Among the many helpful suggestions when looking for a whale, two struck home with me this month as I focused on applying for jobs. Whale-watching, like job-hunting, takes “time for waiting and time for looking and time for wondering ‘is that a whale?’” Is that the right job? Also, “possible pirates (in the ship mentioned above) won’t help at all. Neither will watching movies or reading novels. There are many wonderful things I could be doing instead, but I just might miss that whale. The whale encounter at the end of the book is (whale!) worth the wait! Sorry! I hope my new job will be as intriguing and rewarding.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Roaring Brook Press, 2013

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: Fresh off the Press, Award Winner

Scripture Connections: Seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness (Matthew 6:33); no one who puts his hand on the plow should look back (Luke 9:62); Paul and Silas freed from jail (Acts 16:16-40); be sober-minded; be watchful (1 Peter: 5:8)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to children who are learning about Paul and Silas in jail. Here’s the connection: The folk song Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, popularized in the American Civil Rights Movement, is based on an old spiritual Hand on the Plow which is all about Paul and Silas being freed from prison. Here’s a Wikipedia link that explains: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Your_Eyes_on_the_PrizeIf you want to hear a great modern version of Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, listen to one of my favorite Christian singers, Sara Groves. It’s on her Invisible Empires album.

Now about that Kohl’s display…

I’m pleased to tell you that if you have access to Kohl’s (on-line or a store) you have the opportunity to purchase 4 great picture books (hardbacks for $5 each!) while donating to local health and education initiatives. Kohl’s calls this their “cause merchandise.” What I call it is a treasure trove! The books are from one of my favorite illustrators, Erin E. Stead. Four cute plush animals based on characters from the books are also available for $5 each. Kohl’s will donate 100% of the net profit from these items toward local kid’s health and education initiatives. Here’s a link if you want to know more. www.kohls.com/Kids

Two of these Erin Stead books are favorites so they are already in my A Picture Book a Day for a Year list. Both of these are the kinds of picture book you could give to any child, as well as an adult who is hurting or needs a laugh. Their potential for ministry is unending: (A Sick Day for Amos McGhee - PBT Day 9 on April 28, 2014 and Bear Has a Story to Tell – PBT Day 64 on June 11, 2014). The third book is featured above. Here are the details and ideas for use for the fourth book which I liked a lot!

 Picture Book: and then it’s spring

Author: Julie Fogliano

Illustrator: Erin E. Stead

Summary: After a snowy winter, a boy and dog begin to plant a garden. Colors begin as browns. Then the two characters do the necessary work of planting, caring, and watching for their plans to come to fruition. Waiting, anticipation, hope, and patience are emphasized here. Finally, colors evolve from browns to wonderful greens.

Hanna’s Comments: This would be a particularly great book to read to children at the end of winter, but it would also serve well for a group who has been through a hard time or a long transition, adults or children. Connect the required patience when waiting for changes in this book with the changes you are anticipating in your group. Perhaps your faith community is hoping for a new leader or the completion of a building project. Then turn your conversation around and imagine how patient God must be while waiting for each of us to change. Emphasize God’s love, mercy, patience, and constant hope as we resist positive change.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Roaring Brook Press, 2012

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

# of Pages: 32 

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audible

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Award Winner 

Scripture Connections: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3); I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Idea(s) for Application: Besides the ideas in the comments above, consider reading this book to a group who is doing some long-range planning. Anticipate the difficult waiting and the inevitable doubts. Emphasize the importance of your faith in God and in your ability to discern God’s good work toward your goals.