Friday, March 11, 2016

Bicycle Generosity & Hospitality

I’m going to step away from the PBT blog series of theological statements for young children and highlight a book for children who are a little older. I’ll get back to the series with my next post. 

I look forward to Alma Fullerton’s new books for she always offers a glimpse into a world far away from me and the children that I work with and yet, she makes obvious connections that all children can enjoy.
In this beautiful book, her main character, Anna, is a young girl in Tanzania who is having difficulty in school because her walk to and from school is so lengthy she has no daylight at home to do homework. 
At school while Anna is studying during lunch break, the bicycle library comes. This is simply a pick-up truck with bikes in it for the children to borrow for a time. 
There are not enough bikes for Anna to have one. Despite her disappointment, her generous heart has her helping her friends learn to ride and encouraging those friends who are having trouble.
Anna’s journey home takes much less time because she runs beside one bike and then rides with other bikers. When the last boy reaches his home, he suggests that she ride on to her home. They make plans for Anna to pick him up in the morning for school.
There are so many important values and concepts that you could emphasize here in a lesson for children in your family of faith: perseverance in difficult circumstances, generosity despite disappointment, hospitality in sharing our gifts, and coming together with friends to make a situation better. In Christianity we like to call that last one The Body of Christ.
The Author’s Note in the back explains about the need for bikes in much of Africa and lists several organizations that distribute bikes to Africa and other countries. If you’re near one of these organizations, you may want to have your children organize a bike drive in your faith community.

Picture Book: In a Cloud of Dust
Author: Alma Fullerton
Illustrator: Brian Deines
Original Publisher & Date: Pajama Press, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

Another one of my favorite Alma Fullerton books is A Good Trade, featured on PBT on 5/7/14. I’ve created a lesson about missions based on it for elementary aged children. I sell that lesson here on PBT for only $5. Just contact me via email to receive it.