Sunday, September 13, 2015

Do Something GRAND!

It’s National Grandparents Day here in the states. On the website, the folks at encourage everyone to “Do something GRAND!” Today I have a blogpost for you that celebrates grandparents, including details on 2 very different books about grandmothers. If you want more picture book options featuring grandparents, go to the list of green search words and click on “grandparents.” You’ll be taken to 36 different picture books I’ve featured on this blog!

What grand thing have I done today? I’ve designed and taught an adult Sunday School lesson. I’ve invited and welcomed a family to my church’s worship service where the praise was mighty and authentic. I’ve tutored a child. And I’ve visited my local library where I complimented the librarians on the grand work they do for me. Then I left with my usual big stack of picture books. Oh boy!

Look for more grand possibilities as I expand and diversify my work here at PBT. Details to come soon. Meanwhile, enjoy all the picture books I have already offered you and the many possibilities they hold for ministry, teaching, therapy, or especially for today, family time with a child or grandchild where you can talk about your values and your legacy. 
Picture Book: A Special Gift for Grammy 

Author: Jean Craighead George

Illustrator: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Summary: At the end of a visit, Hunter gives his grandmother a pile of stones on the front porch, near her front door.
What will I do with a pile of stones?” she asked Hunter.
“What everyone does with a pile of stones,” he answered.
Her simple response is, “Of course,” a response that is repeated time and time again as various passersby use the stones for various purposes. Some are used to mark the grave of a much-love dog. Three are used to give directions to a couple of Girl Scouts. Hunter himself finds that 5 of the stones serve as important symbols of his identity so they are strung on a necklace for Grammy. The last stone is found to be perfect for skipping lightly across a nearby lake.   

Hanna’s Comments: There are many things I love about this book. It emphasizes generosity, creativity, and memory while offering a nature story. Too many children are not able to see the bounty that is in their back yard or a nearby park. Stones, like many other gifts of the natural world, offer great potential for marking, adorning, and remembering. Offer your children a lesson on the qualities and possibilities of a pile of stones or one remarkable rock.

There are many places in scripture where stones or rocks are mentioned either concretely or metaphorically. The old hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing has had generations singing, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer.” That’s a reference to a biblical story of thanksgiving in 1st Samuel. Do you know what a cairn is? Cairns are piles of stones used for marking a place of memory. Jacob built such a cairn to witness his and Laban’s covenant. Peter is called the rock, and we are instructed to build our house on stone, not sand.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper, 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

Scripture Connections: Jacob places his pillow stone as an altar (Genesis 28:18-22); Joshua instructs them to take 12 stones from the Jordan River (Joshua 4); Then Samuel took a stone (1 Samuel 7); a wise one build a house upon the rock (Matthew 7: 24-27); you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (Matthew 16:18); yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider a series of lessons on how stones are used in scripture. Let this story be your starting point, emphasizing that, of course, a pile of stones has so much potential for enriching our lives.  
Picture Book: Grandma in Blue with Red Hat

Author: Scott Menchin

Illustrator: Harry Bliss

Summary: From a young artist’s point of view, this book celebrates the potential of art to honor and commemorate the love a grandson has for his grandmother. The unnamed protagonist attends art lessons at his city’s art museum. There he learns that art is beautiful, different, funny, tells stories, comes from far away, and makes others feel good. When he realizes that all of these qualities are also true of his grandmother, he decides he must give his grandmother to the museum. Once the museum curator gets involved, the narrator has a more practical idea. He studies the styles of various artists, is inspired by them, and creates a one-boy exhibition. The theme? Grandma. Many come, including the museum curator who acquires a piece for the museum: Grandma in Blue with Red Hat.

Hanna’s Comments: This is such a fun book. It teaches a great deal about art while celebrating an extraordinary cross-generational relationship. Encourage discussion about the nature of art and God’s role in artistic endeavors and the creative spirit of humans. Emphasize how the love of these family members inspires and enriches the beauty of the boy’s art. Look for evidence of loving art in your family or family of faith. Talk about how God and scripture have been the subject of artists throughout history.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Abrams, 2015

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present 

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press  

Scripture Connections: The skills of artists (Exodus 35); but now, O Lord, you are our God, we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book as a discussion starter for considering how God has created humans to be both artists and art, creators and creations, inspired by God and for God.