Wednesday, March 9, 2016

PBT Blog Series: Theological Statements for Young Children #2

Illustration from Big and Small, Room for All by Jo Ellen Bogart and Gillian Newland

I just returned from a conference in Tennessee for teachers of toddlers and preschoolers where I presented these theological statements for young children. They gave me great feedback and were enthusiastic about the 100 plus books that I was connecting to these statements.

I love presenting at conferences and would welcome more opportunities to present the books and ideas here at PBT to groups of people who want to encourage children to begin building their faith early and meaningfully. Just contact me via email if your group might be interested in a workshop.

I think the teachers were particularly pleased about the simplicity of what I was suggesting. Your own short statement or two that connects a simple theological or spiritual idea to a story is enough to begin building young children’s religious foundation. Linking these faith statements to books that are secular gives a very real context for understanding.

The second theological statement is: God created an amazing, diverse world for people to enjoy and treasure.

I’m offering 3 new books that connect with this statement and a list of books already on PBT. Supporting these concepts would be many non-fiction books such as those covering science and social science concepts. Animal books and nature books, common in preschool literature, would relate to this statement as well. There will also be great fiction books too.

A few of these books offer more text than you would want to read to very young children. I suggest that that you simply place a Post-it note on top of text that is too long and write a sentence or two that you’ll read instead. Make these books work for you and your audience!

To demonstrate the simplicity of this idea, I’ll start with a Sandra Boynton book. Her comical board books are almost a rite of passage for toddlers here in the US. Fifteen Animals is as simple as it sounds. It’s basically a counting book with Boynton’s signature absurdity. Every animal is named Bob except for the one on the last page, the turtle named Simon James Alexander Ragsdale the Third. Young children will be cracking up. Between their giggles, talk about how amazed you are by the variety of animals God has created and how glad you are that humans get to delight in them.     
Picture Book: Fifteen Animals
Author & Illustrator: Sandra Boynton
Original Publisher & Date: Workman, 2002
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 1 and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

Next I offer another animal book that focuses on mammals and their parents. You will love the illustrations! Choose the facts that your children will most likely respond to and focus on helping them learn the names of some of these exotic animals and the needs that their parents provide them. Suggest that God’s hope is for young mammals to be well cared for by their parents, just like God’s hope for human babies.
Picture Book: Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents
Author & Illustrator: Lita Judge
Original Publisher & Date: Scholastic, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

Gravity by Jason Chin is visually striking. Your scientifically inclined children will want to look at these illustrations repeatedly. There are only a few words per page, but there is a story here told largely through the illustrations. Make sure your children are following the events from page to page. Afterwards, talk about how gravity is a blessing from God that helps our world be more predictable. Consider what life would be like without it. For instance, balls would be interesting, but not much fun!  
Picture Book: Picture Book: Gravity
Author & Illustrator: Jason Chin
Original Publisher & Date: Scholastic, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up 
Formats other than Book: Tablet

To find my detailed posts about the books below, simply click on the post date.
Other PBT books that connect with links to posts:
The Water Hole - 5/24/14
Planting a Rainbow - 9/5/14                
The Quiet Book - 6/30/14
I Love Hugs - 12/12/14             
Yes Day! - 7/5/14       
What a Wonderful World - 7/6/14
Owen and Mzee  (board bk version) - 2/27/15                        
All the World - 5/26/14
A Cool Drink of Water - 6/29/14              
Two Eggs, Please - 7/10/14
Hello, Hello - 8/5/14                                   
Nest - 8/11/14
On Earth - 1/6/15                                    
My Favorite Things - 9/4/14
Homes Around the World ABC - 10/7/14                        
Panda Bear, Panda Bear… - 1/22/15
Brown Bear, Brown Bear… - 1/22/15
And Here’s to You! - 3/11/15               
Animal Teachers - 4/8/15
The Incredible Peepers… -  2/7/15
An Orange in January - 1/29/15
Shades of People - 9/17/14
Whose Eyes Are These? - 3/20/15
Big and Small, Room for All - 4/19/15