Tuesday, March 22, 2016

PBT Blog Series: Theological Statements for Young Children #4

Illustration from Blackout by John Rocco

So much of our faith is about relationships, certainly our relationship with God, but also our relationships with others. Family and community are vital for joy, for personal meaning, and for having positive effects in the world. If our faith doesn't motivate us to feel joy and belonging, do good work, and contribute, what meaning does faith have? All of these aspects of faith are enhanced by relationships. 
Illustration from My Bibi Always Remembers by Toni Buzzeo & Mike Wohnouka

Building on this idea and PBT's 3rd theological statement for young children (God gave you a great body to do great things.), I offer the 4th statement: Together we can do even more wonderful things. 
Illustration from Stone Soup by Jon Muth

This statement encompasses aspects of the Body of Christ, a Christian ideal proposed by Paul, a New Testament writer. He wrote in several of his letters that we are one body in Christ, and through this unity, we build up love for one another and the world. Christianity, and I suspect all faiths, are enhanced by cooperation, collaboration, and collective contributions of time, energy, gifts, and assets.  
Illustration from My Bibi Always Remembers by Toni Buzzeo & Mike Wohnouka

This concept is easily understood by children because their dependence requires them to always be in community. The first PBT book I offer today, demonstrates the joy of living together and relying on others. 
This beautiful and instructive book begins by explaining that in Swahili Bibi means Grandmother and Tembo means elephant. It goes on to explain that "elephants communicate across vast distances with a long, low rumble."
Tembo, a young elephant, hears the rumbling of her grandmother who is signaling all the herd to follow her toward a place where she remembers water. 
Tembo gets distracted and separated from the line of elephants, but each time she is gently brought back to the line and told to come along because Bibi remembers the way to wet.
When they arrive at a vast sandy puddle, Tembo, alongside Bibi, reaches her trunk into the mud and stirs. A muddy puddle forms and grows large enough to wet and cool the elephants. Tembo dreams of being the Bibi someday. 
There is an Author’s Note in the back that gives some more context. Also, this author has a series of similar books that celebrate family relationships in the context of wild animals.  
Just Like My Papa
Little Loon and Papa
Stay Close to Mama
Picture Book: My Bibi Always Remembers
Author: Toni Buzzeo
Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka
Original Publisher & Date: Hyperion, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

The second PBT offering today demonstrates both the turmoil of working against one another and the relief when competition ends and all work (and live) together. 
Rabbit and owl live happily in houses very close to one another. Rabbit works in his garden; owl enjoys his view of the forest. When Rabbit's garden gets too tall for owl to see the forest, owl complains, but Rabbit has to grow his food. 
Rather than collaborating on a solution, Owl begins building his house taller. Rabbit gets mad and does the same, placing some of his plants on the roof of his house. Extreme building ensues. 
Their pride and competitive spirit result in the loss of their friendship. Eventually the houses are so high that Rabbit can't bring water so far up for his roof plants and owl can't see the forest.  
The two extremely tall houses get blown down in a high wind. Left with little, they realize that "alone they had nothing, but together they had all they needed to build one small house."
Picture Book: Too Tall Houses
Author & Illustrator:  Gianna Marino
Original Publisher & Date: Viking, 2012  
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

Other PBT books that connect with links to posts:
One Family - 1/22/16 
The Very Lonely Firefly - 6/8/14
Bear and Bird - 11/4/14                                    
Blackout - 7/11/14
One Love - 6/16/14     
Bear Feels Sick - 6/4/14
A Little Bit of Love - 5/12/14
You and Me Together - 10/18/14
Tulip Loves Rex - 2/14/15     
I Love Hugs - 12/12/14
Stone Soup - 4/23/14
Going Places - 3/14/16
Think Big - 3/14/16