Tuesday, February 9, 2016

PBT Books for Lent and Easter

For those of us who are liturgical Christians, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. This solemn day begins the season of Lent, a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) that symbolically represents Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness and guides us through Holy Week in preparation for Easter. 
On the PBT blog, I’ve offered many secular picture books that you might want to choose to read during this season to help children connect in new ways to the concepts we consider and the events we remember during Lent and Easter. I’ve listed them below with a guiding connection that will help you tie the Biblical concepts/stories to the content of the picture book. 

These books are not meant to be perfect reflections of the Biblical concepts/stories. Instead they are offered as tools to encourage conversation, exploration, and application. For each, enjoy the secular story then let it lead you to more meaningful consideration of theological or spiritual possibilities. I’ve listed the book titles, the ages at which the book is appropriate, and the date so that you can find my blogpost here at PBT. Easiest books are listed first.
Lent (in general)
Lent is a time for remembering that Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness for 40 days and found clarity and strength to resist temptation. Therefore, during Lent we focus on intentional prayer, fasting, and service. Fasting is viewed generally as refraining from something that distracts you from God. With a sense of repentance (returning to God), we re-focus our lives to be more like Jesus.
Make connections with these stories and the concept of refraining from distractions or temptations in order to live more generously, like Jesus:
Curious George Saves His Pennies     6/2/14
Strega Nona                                             10/23/14
A Chair for My Mother                          8/16/14
Extra Yarn                                                5/31/14
My Mouth is a Volcano                          10/21/14

These are great books about prayer:
Does God Hear My Prayer?                 11/9/14
Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer       1/18/15

Ash Wednesday
In an Ash Wednesday worship service, the sign of the cross is made with ashes in order to recognize our mortality so that we may humbly begin Lent committed to make changes and determined to be more like Jesus.

These stories connect well with the concept of humility:
Bear Has a Story to Tell                        6/22/14
The Three Questions                               5/5/14
Albert                                                         4/2/15
Those Shoes                                              3/30/15

Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a celebration of the hope that Jesus brings and an offering of the praise that he deserves. Here I’m offering books about both of these concepts: hope and praise.
Tie these concepts to the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
    About Hope:
Hope is an Open Heart                          4/24/14
If You Want to See a Whale                  6/19/15
And Then It’s Spring                              6/19/15
A Child’s Garden                                     4/3/15
We Shall Overcome                                3/21/15
Hope Springs                                           12/30/14
About Praise:
I Will Rejoice                                            7/4/15
Let’s Make a Joyful Noise                     7/4/15
All God’s Critters                                     12/27/14
The Hallelujah Flight                             1/18/16

Jesus’s Anger at the Money Changers
Children need clarification when it comes to how to deal with their anger. When Jesus sees the money changers whose greed is spoiling the purposes of the Temple, he gets violently angry.
Here’s the best story I know for children about anger:
When Sophie Gets Angry…                     6/3/14

The Upper Room (Maundy Thursday)
The story of Jesus in the Upper Room with his disciples is a foundational story in the Christian faith. You have the first communion (the elements and a call to remember) and Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (a call to service).
Delve into the components of the Upper Room story with these books: 
Hands Say Love                                        3/14/15
Bread Comes to Life                                 11/5/14
The Memory String                                  7/28/14
Uncle Willie & the Soup Kitchen            4/13/14
Washing the Willow Loon                       7/23/14

The Garden of Gethsemane
The focus on this event is usually Jesus’ prayer, but here I offer a book about what Jesus’ disciples did not do for him in the garden.
This is the best book I know about being with friends when they are suffering and doing what they need you to do:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee                   4/28/14

Peter Denies Knowing Jesus
This story is about Peter’s deceit and shame.
Here I offer a delightful picture book about being shamed and lying about who you are:
Unlovable                                                    7/27/14


Golgotha
Connect these picture books with the story of Jesus on the cross.
These books are either about the concepts of sacrifice, giving, forgiveness or death:
One Winter’s Day                                      1/15/15
The Friend                                                   9/15/14
Stone Soup                                                   4/23/14
Badger’s Parting Gifts                              8/8/14
The Grudge Keeper                                    10/17/14
Our Tree Named Steve                              5/6/14
The Goodbye Boat                                      5/25/14
The Giving Tree                                          6/26/14

Easter
The pivotal event of the Christian faith is a celebration of joy, beauty, and possibility.
These wonderful feelings can easily be connected to these picture books:
Anna Hibiscus Song                                  8/26/14
Morning Has Broken                                4/5/15
Winter Moon Song                                     12/14/14
Yes Day!                                                        7/5/14
Waiting for Wings                                      9/6/14
What a Wonderful World                         7/6/14
The Gardener                                               6/6/14