Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 287


Picture Book: I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

Author & Illustrator: Nancy Tillman

Summary: In this endearing declaration of a mother’s love, the author cleverly delights in young human children’s tendency to pretend to be other animals. Despite the ferocity or exotic nature of the animals her child becomes, this mother insists, “I’d know you anywhere, my love.” The illustrations here are stunning and will bring a smile to your face. The mother always manages to be nearby (look for red), no matter the species of her babe or the circumstances.

Hanna’s Comments: The reassurance we can provide children when speaking of God’s presence and unconditional love is invaluable to them. Allow this picture book to help you explore these ideas with young children. No matter who we pretend to be or how far we drift from God’s ways, we will always be God’s precious child, known and loved.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Feiwel and Friends, 2013

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

PBT Topics this Book connects with: affection, animals, babies/children, belonging, bonds/connections, caring/tending, change, covenant/promises/vows, God’s nature, God’s presence, love, mothers, parents/parental love, play, prevenient grace, reassurance

Scripture Connections: My steadfast love shall not depart from you (Isaiah 54:10); I have loved you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3); nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book as part of a lesson on God’s unconditional love, constant presence, or wooing prevenient grace.  

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 286


Picture Book: The Dove

Author: Dianne Stewart

Illustrator: Jude Daly

Summary: After crops are destroyed by flood on Lindi’s South African farm, she and her grandmother begin feeding a dove who they liken to the dove in the story of Noah’s ark. To buy new seed for planting and to feed themselves, they make traditional bead jewelry to sell at market, but they are unsuccessful. Then Lindi is inspired to make a beautiful beaded dove, a unique item, which sells easily. As new crops grow, they create new designs for beaded animals and begin to make a good living.    

Hanna’s Comments: Though this story ties into Noah’s ark, it could be used in a variety of lessons that are unrelated to the flood from the Hebrew Scriptures such as lessons on ingenuity or work, both of which are gifts from God. No matter your topic, be sure to talk about the symbolism of the dove in the Old Testament story and what it might mean to these two characters.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Green Willow Books, 2005

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

# of Pages: 32  

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present 

PBT Category: Post 2 K

PBT Topics this Book connects with: Africa, animals, change, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, disaster, eggs/seeds, family, flood, gifts/giftedness/talents, home, labor/work, land/mountains, poverty, rain, storm

Scripture Connections: Noah’s ark (Genesis 6), be transformed by the renewal of your mind to discern what is the will of God (Romans 12:2), according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book as part of a program about social justice issues surrounding fair trade practices or fair trade companies such as Ten Thousand Villages or SERRV.org.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 285



Picture Book: An Orange in January

Author: Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrator: Julie Maren

Summary: This is the story of one orange. It begins as a blossom in a land that glows with warm spring light. It ends across the world, in a young boy’s hands as he shares it with his school friends on a snowy playground. Across the distance, the orange offers its nectar to bees, ripens on a tree, and is picked and placed in a bag, then a basket, then a truck, then a grocery store, then a school lunchbox. At last, the children enjoy the sweet yummy goodness of the orange sections, even in January.

Hanna’s Comments: I am guilty of taking it for granted that an orange is available to me in the middle of winter. Use this book to help a young audience savor the beauty of an orange, appreciate the complexity of its route, and taste one of God’s great gifts. Talk about how an orange used to be a very rare treat and still is for many in our world who don’t have the means or accessibility to exotic or off-season foods. Mention the joy of sharing such delights and consider what other treats are worthy of further attention. Then relate these joys to savoring and praising God’s goodness in worship and all day long.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Dial Books, 2007

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: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, awe, beauty, blessings, consumerism/consumption/riches, dependence/interdependence, the environment/nature, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, fruit/fruit of the Spirit, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, geography, goodness, gratitude/thanksgiving, harvest, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, joy, manna, sharing, treasure

Scripture Connections: Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8); the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children while sharing sections of oranges. Talk about savoring God’s goodness and the importance of praise and gratitude to God.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 284


Picture Book: Mrs. Toggle’s Zipper

Author: Robin Pulver

Illustrator: R.W. Alley

Summary: Poor Mrs. Toggle! The zipper of her puffy winter coat is stuck, and it seems she is destined to wear it all day as she teaches her young students. Also, the thingamajig, as she calls it (the pull-tab from the zipper), is missing. Her students pull with all their collective might, but the coat won’t go past her nose and her students end up in a heap on the floor. The class and Mrs. Toggle get help from the school’s nurse and principal. Each one adds their nonsensical efforts, and together they again attempt to remove the coat, but the result is the same. Finally they ask the janitor, who knows the name of the thingamajig and just what to do. Thankfully, Mrs. Toggle is released. She and her students gladly return to her classroom, and the janitor goes to find a dictionary to look up “thingamajig.”

Hanna’s Comments: There are several subtle jokes in this story that you might want to share with your audience. Note the names of the characters. Also, if Mrs. Toggle’s coat used “toggles” as fasteners instead of a zipper, she would not have a problem. There are three aspects of this story that make it a great PBT book. First, the problem is solved in community, with everyone lending a hand. Secondly, the care and concern for Mrs. Toggle is evident. Thirdly, it is the humble janitor who has the smarts here. He is the hero and his practical problem-solving skills are the reason.

Publisher & Date of Original Publication: Simon & Schuster, 1990

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: There are amateur videos on Youtube.com.

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, action, babies/children, body of Christ, brokenness, caring/tending, challenges, clothes/shoes, comfort, community, cooperation, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, education/learning/school, gifts/talents, helping, heroes, humility, mentors/teachers, problems/problem solving, servant/service/servant leadership, unity, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider reading this book when you want to talk to children in your faith community about God’s variety of gifts and how God wants us to respect and value all of those gifts and use them together to solve problems. Be sure to emphasize our interdependence on one another.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 283


Picture Book: Same, Same but Different

Author & Illustrator: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Summary: Two boys, living a world apart, can be best friends. In this picture book about pen pals (actually picture pals), Elliot, an American boy, and Kailash, who lives in India, share their lives through words and pictures. They discover that they have much in common (same, same) even though their worlds look very dissimilar (but different). Both love to climb trees, have pets, ride buses to school, and deal with too much traffic. Much is different about their worlds though. Their alphabet is different, as is the number of people in their town and family members in their home. They both greet people, but very differently.   

Hanna’s Comments: The author learned the popular saying, “same, same but different” while in Nepal and India. Native Nepalese and Pakistanis use this saying when comparing cultures. You might want to spend some time with your audience looking at the illustrations closely so that you can explicitly compare and contrast these two boys. Be sure to look at the postage stamps on the end papers. Maybe your children can guess in which country the stamps originated.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Henry Holt, 2011

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

# of Pages: 36

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, There are videos of this book on Youtube.com, but note that there is a different live-action movie with the same name.

PBT Category: Award Winner, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, America, art, Asia, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections, communication, culture, differences, diversity, exile/separation/walls, friends/friendship, geography, humanity, identity/names, openness, relationships, unity

Scripture Connections: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are studying diverse cultures that are united in their religious beliefs.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 282


Picture Book: Mrs. Biddlebox

Author: Linda Smith

Illustrator: Marla Frazee

Summary: Mrs. Biddlebox is having a bad day, but she is determined to deal with it in her own very bewitching way. First she gathers it in a big pot, requiring lots of energy. She even twirls it with her broomstick like spaghetti. She reaches up and hooks some sunrays to add to the pot and rolls up the cloudy gray sky like a vast carpet. Finally, she whips it, whisks it, beats and bakes it. Then Mrs. Biddlebox eats her bad day, every last bite of it. When the meal is finished, she opens her door to welcome in a shining night and goes to bed. It is inspiring to note that the author was a sort of Mrs. Biddlebox in her own right who battled cancer for two years before dying of that disease in June of 2000.

Hanna’s Comments: If you are having trouble visualizing the events in this book, then you will be fascinated by the imaginative illustrations. I was also struck with the emotional tone here and the determination of this unusual character. I can see this book creatively used in a variety of settings in which your audience is dealing with a difficult and dark situation that requires energy, stamina, and determination such as a terminal illness, chronic pain, or depression. This picture book could also be used to motivate a religious community who is suffering through a particularly difficult problem such as large debt or a great loss as in a natural disaster or fire. My last idea is to talk about this book as a metaphor for battling evil, whether you see evil personified as the Devil or you see evil in more general, ambiguous terms. Note that the cover of this book as shown above may be different from the one on the book you find.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper Collins, 2002

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, anger, challenges, change, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, dying, emotions/feelings, endings, enemies, evil, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, hope, intolerance, labor/work, lamentations, light/morning, perseverance, power, problems/problem solving, rebellion, resisting evil  

Scripture Connections: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4); for 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); get thee behind me, Satan (Matthew 16:23)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider reading this picture book at a support group for people with situations of clinical depression, chronic pain, or terminal disease. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 281


Picture Book: The Boy on the Page

Author & Illustrator: Peter Carnavas

Summary: A boy lands on the first page of this clever picture book. He wonders, “Why am I here?” and “What does it mean?” At first there is nothing, Then a world begins to appear. Comically, he rides a horse, catches a fish, paints a picture, saves an animal, grows up, falls in love…. As his family grows, he looks at the moon sometimes and wonders why he landed on the page. In an attempt to answer this question, he jumps off the page. Again at first there is nothing, but then he tumbles back to the page where he finds “everything he had ever made, every animal he had ever cared for and every person he had ever loved.” Finally, he understands the meaning of his life.

Hanna’s Comments: These hilarious illustrations mask a picture book full of meaning and connections to our own questions about how and why our lives are meaningful and important and what happens when we exit. It’s a comforting thought to think that the end of our lives will have us surrounded by those we love and the fruits of our loves and labors.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Kane Miller, 2014

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 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

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, afterlife/heaven, beginnings/morning, birth/birthday, blessings, bonds/connections, creation, family, God’s care/providence, gratitude/thanksgiving, humanity, life, manna, mystery, purpose, questioning/questions, relationships, time/over time

Scripture Connections: The creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1 & 2)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to children when studying the story of God creating Adam and Eve. This book would also be a fun read at a family retreat for a faith community.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 280

Dynamic Duo: Book 2

Picture Book: The Missing Piece Meets The Big O

Author & Illustrator: Shel Silverstein

Summary: “The piece sat alone, waiting for someone to come along and take it somewhere.”  Many come along, but they are not the right fit or situation. The simple illustrations make this comically clear. The Missing Piece tries to be more attractive, but those plans fail. Then it meets someone who is different, The Big O, a perfect circle with nothing missing. When asked to roll with The Missing Piece, The Big O explains that there is no place for The Missing Piece to fit, but “perhaps you can roll by yourself.” The Missing Piece argues that it is not shaped for rolling. The Big O says, “Corners wear off… shapes change.” The Missing Piece tries it with a strenuous lift and a flop. Sure enough, it works again and again until its corners do begin to wear and its shape changes. Eventually, The Missing Piece, becomes a circle and rolls right up to the Big O. Then they roll together.

Hanna’s Comments: Please note the comments in the 1st book in this PBT Dynamic Duo offered yesterday (Day 279). Most suggestions apply here too. Like its predecessor, this book can be interpreted in many ways. The pair of these books also offer a good opportunity to consider empathy and perspective taking. In the reading of The Missing Piece, did your listener’s consider the perspectives of the pieces that were rejected and accepted? This second book offers one possibility. In The Missing Piece Meets The Big O, encourage your audience to empathize with the circles too, especially The Big O.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper Collins, 1981

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

# of Pages: 104

Available in Spanish? Amazon.com did not have it available in Spanish though it may be available somewhere. It is available in Chinese and Korean on Amazon.com.

Formats other than Book: Video versions are on Youtube.com.

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, action, adventure, aspirations/dreams, bravery/courage, brokenness, challenges, change, companionship, dependence/interdependence, differences, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, disappointment, diversity, encouragement, freedom, free will, growing up/growth, insecurity, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, loneliness, mentors/teachers, patience, perseverance, power, problems/problem solving, risking, satisfaction, self-control, self-discovery, transformation, travel, waiting, wisdom, wishes

Scripture Connections: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17); you were called to freedom (Galatians 5:13); live as people who are free (1 Peter 2:16)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider using this book and The Missing Piece (Day 279), in a marriage or pre-marital therapy context or at a marriage retreat for your faith community.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 279

Dynamic Duo: Book 1

Picture Book: The Missing Piece

Author & Illustrator: Shel Silverstein

Summary: This story begins, “It was missing a piece. And it was not happy. So it set off in search of its missing piece.” Thus begins a classic, metaphorical tale that has a simply-drawn protagonist searching for that which will make it complete. Along the way, it sings a searching song and delights in encounters such as those with flowers and butterflies. It does meet some pieces. One piece might fit but refuses, some pieces humorously don’t fit, and one piece that fits perfectly. But life changes when it is complete. There is no time for flowers and butterflies. And it can’t sing anymore. Eventually, it leaves the piece behind and continues the journey and the singing.

Hanna’s Comments: Because the song is important to the story, you might want to plan a little tune to sing with the lyrics. Simple is fine. The illustrations are crucial to enjoying this book. Keep this in mind when considering how to share it. More than one book might be needed if you have a large group or use one of the video versions. Don’t let the number of pages mislead you. It’s a fast read with few words per page. What does it mean? That’s the beauty of this book. Is it about… finding the perfect mate? Our search for God? Obsessions? Co-dependence? The joy of the journey? Have fun talking about all these possibilities and more. This is book one in a PBT Dynamic Duo. Tomorrow’s offering is Silverstein’s sequel to the book featured today. In it you’ll experience the perspective of a piece.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper Collins, 1976

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

# of Pages: 112

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Video versions are on Youtube.com.

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, addiction, adventure, belonging, challenges, conformity, dependence/interdependence, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, exploration, freedom, grace, growing up/growth, insecurity, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, loneliness, perseverance, problems/problem solving, reflection, regret/repentance, relationships, satisfaction, searching, self-acceptance/self-image/self-esteem, self-discovery,  travel, waiting, wisdom, wishes

Scripture Connections: Seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33); do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2)

Idea(s) for Application: There are many books that I offer on the PBT blog that would work well in a therapy, counseling, or spiritual direction situation. When a therapist, counselor, or spiritual director offers a book to be read and considered, it is called bibliotherapy. This book offers all sorts of possibilities for such a context.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 278


Picture Book: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?

Author: Bill Martin Jr.

Illustrator: Eric Carle

Summary: What Panda Bear sees is a “bald eagle soaring by me.” The next page asks, “Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle, What do you see?” In like fashion and in delightful rhyme and meter, each animal sees a different species. A black panther sees “a dreaming child watching over me.” This child, who might be interpreted as the moon or our best hope for the future, lists all of the animals that have been seen in progression. The book ends with “all wild and free – that’s what I see.”

Hanna’s Comments:  This board book is the most recent in the Brown Bear and Friends series. The first book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, was published in 1967. The author and illustrator have given this book a conservation emphasis by using only endangered species. The other 2 books are:
Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?
(North American animals)
Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? (zoo animals)
Each of these books celebrate God’s diverse creativity as demonstrated in the animal kingdom. How might this book encourage a theological or spiritual experience with toddlers and preschoolers? After reading the book to a small group, go back through Eric Carle’s gorgeous tissue paper animals and talk about how God created each beautiful animal to have different and specific attributes to survive. For instance, “Look at this spider monkey’s long arms and legs. God gave those to the spider monkey so that swinging from tree limbs is easy as can be.” You may have to do a little research about each species, but that can be easily done on the internet. At the end, be sure to talk about human bodies and how they too are beautiful and different and how they allow your young children to do amazing things.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Henry Holt & Company, 2006

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, Toddler and up

# of Pages: 26

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Audio download, Audio CD (of all 4 books listed above), video on Youtube.com, There is also a board game available based on this and the first book in the series.

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abundance/bounty, animals, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, babies/children, beauty, care of creation, creation, differences, diversity, Earth/world, the environment/nature, God’s care/providence, moon/space/stars/sun, variety

Scripture Connections: God created every living creature (Genesis 1:21); who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth (Job 35:11); the Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that God has made (Psalm 145:9); whoever is righteous has regard for the life of beasts (Proverbs 12:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of young children as described above in my comments emphasizing God’s diverse and ingenious creativity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 277


Picture Book: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Author: Mac Barnett

Illustrator: Jon Klassen

Summary: Sam and Dave begin their mission. They won’t stop digging until they find “something spectacular”. They dig straight down, but find nothing. They decide to dig in another direction, to the side. They dig in that direction for a while and then decide to split up and dig in two different directions. Each time, they find nothing so again they start digging together and straight down. Eventually they rest. Meanwhile, the dog, who all along has been giving hints as to what they are missing, begins digging straight down for a bone. All 3 characters fall through air to another home, an alternative reality of sorts. It looks very similar to the home they left. Upon landing, Sam and Dave declare, “That was pretty spectacular.”  Each illustration offers a cutaway view of Sam and Dave’s digging. Every time they change their direction, it is just before they are about to dig up a huge gem! Again and again in comical fashion, they miss a “spectacular something.” However, the characters are wise enough to realize that the journey in itself was spectacular.

Hanna’s Comments: The illustrations in this book are crucial to the enjoyment. I’m not just referring to where the huge gems are located, but also the dog’s behavior and the subtle differences between Sam and Dave’s location at the start and where they land. It will be important for your audience to be able to see these details so consider projecting the book on a screen or having multiple books with designated page turners who turn each page just as you do. Pacing is crucial in the delivery of this story. If you are reading to young children, you’ll need to explain beforehand that this is not a story based in our reality, although it seems to start that way. The ending is mysterious and up to interpretation. Encourage them all to interpret and discuss. There are many possibilities. You may want to read the book again after you have talked about it. If you plan to do this, don’t point out things the first time you read it, but do read slowly so that people have time to notice the details. Encourage them to be silent and attentive. Then the story becomes an individual journey, perhaps even “something spectacular” for each audience member.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Candlewick Press, 2014

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, adventure, blessings, choices/decisions, commitment, companionship, disappointment, doubt, exploration, friends/friendship, God’s will, grace, gratitude/thanksgiving, humanity, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, life, mission, mistakes, partners/teamwork, patience, perseverance, perspective, pets, purpose, satisfaction, searching, steadfastness, treasure, waiting, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Scripture stories of wandering (i.e. the Israelites in the wilderness), scripture stories of surprisingly good results (i.e. Joseph in Egypt), or scripture stories of realizing your priorities have changed (i.e. Paul on the road to Damascus)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults when you are talking about the idea of individual spiritual journeys, particularly the value of process over product.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 276


Picture Book: Goin’ Someplace Special

Author: Patricia McKissack

Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney

Summary: In a southern American town in the 1950’s, Tricia Ann is being allowed to go to “Someplace Special” alone for the first time. She called it this because it was her favorite place in the world. “Be particular and remember everything I told you,” her grandmother says. Then she adds, “And no matter what, hold yo’ head up and act like you b’long to somebody.” On the bus she sits in the back in the “colored section.” She goes to Peace Fountain and dances around. She tumbles onto a nearby bench, but then she notices it is marked, “For Whites Only.” Outside a fancy hotel, she gets swept inside by a crowd greeting a star. As she gets her first glimpse of the grand lobby, she is shooed away by someone saying, “No colored people are allowed!” This is all so upsetting that she runs to the ruins at the Mission Church to cry, missing her grandmother and thinking of turning back. Instead she meets Blooming Mary, who takes care of the gardens and encourages Tricia Ann to think of what her grandmother would want her to do. She knows her grandmother would want her to go on to “Someplace Special.” She has one last difficult encounter with a white girl her age before arriving at “Someplace Special,” a place her grandmother calls “a doorway to freedom.” As she enters, she sees chiseled in stone at the top of the building, “PUBLIC LIBRARY: ALL ARE WELCOME.”  

Hanna’s Comments: The Author’s Note in the back explains that this is a fictionalized version of events in her childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. Here she personalizes the racism that she faced, and explains that her parents had fortified her with enough love, respect, and pride that she was able to face these situations. She explains that the treacherous journey to the library was worth the effort for there she felt welcome and able to read and check out many books, learning that “reading is the doorway to freedom.”

Publisher & Date of Publication: Atheneum Books, 2001

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, action, adaptation/assimilation, 
America, anger, armor, belonging, bravery/courage, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, challenges, civil rights, confidence, conformity, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, emotions/feelings, encouragement, equality/inequality, evil, exclusion/inclusion, fear, freedom, golden rule, grandparents, gratitude/thanksgiving, injustice, insecurity, integration, intolerance, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, justice, language/literacy/reading, the law/rules/10 commandments, North America, obstacles, perseverance, prejudice, pride, race relations/racism, risking, satisfaction, segregation, self-control, self-discovery, sin, victims

Scripture Connections: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32); For you were called to freedom (Galatians 5:13)

Idea(s) for Application:  Use this book when teaching children in your faith community a lesson on the importance of freedom and its relationship to knowledge. Also, this is a journey story with obstacles, suffering, and doubts. In spite of these, Tricia Ann perseveres. There are many journey stories in the Holy Scriptures that could be connected to this story.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 275


Picture Book: Young Martin’s Promise
Author: Walter Dean Myers
General Editor: Alex Haley
Illustrator: Barbara Higgins Bond
Summary: This picture book of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s boyhood is about how segregation affected him personally as a child. It includes his disappointment in not being able to attend school and later play ball with the white boys in his neighborhood. How MLK Jr.’s parents might have first explained racism and segregation to him is depicted here as well as an account of purchasing shoes with his father. When told to sit in the “colored” section of the store, his father refuses, and they leave the store. Conversations about the injustice of segregation continue in young Martin’s family, and he promises his father that he will fight against segregation.  
Hanna’s Comments: There are many other picture book biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr. I chose this one because it depicts him as a child, first learning of segregation, being detrimentally affected by it, and then being determined to work for social justice in his adulthood. I think children will be particularly drawn to this story. Be sure to ask your audience about the injustices they see now that might stir them toward working for change now and when they are adults. Point out that both MLK, Jr. and his father were ministers who were inspired by scripture to resist segregation in ways that were non-violent. This book includes an introductory note by Alex Haley and another note in the back about the MLK, Jr. holiday.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Steck-Vaughn, 1993
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
# of Pages: 32
Available in Spanish? Not at present
Formats other than Book: None at present
PBT Category: Biography, Pre 2K
PBT Topics this Book Connects with:  abuse/abuse of power, America, aspirations/dreams, beginnings/morning, brokenness, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, call/calling/vocation, civil rights, commitment, covenant/promises/vow, equality/inequality, fathers, growing up/growth, heroes, hope, injustice, integration, justice, legacies, neighbors, North America, prejudice, race relations/racism, segregation, social justice

Scripture Connections: What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8); blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to children when doing a scripture-based lesson on justice, righteousness, or non-violence.