Thursday, April 14, 2016

Creation and Ecclesiastes

From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman
Here are 4 beautiful books that I've been savoring for some time. 
From Creation Song by Scott-Brown
The subject for the first pair of books is the creation story as interpreted by one of the world’s leading Christian theologians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Anna Scott-Brown, a woman born in Nepal whose words are inspired by her birth country.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman
Both offer renditions of the creation of our universe that emphasize God’s desire for relationship and loving delight in the creative process. Also, in both, the illustrations are luminous and joyful.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman
Tutu’s book has the 7-day structure. It begins with personal letters from Archbishop Tutu and Nancy Tillman and ends with images of children and the words, “You are loved.” 
I’ve featured several of this illustrator’s other books here at PBT, most recently on 1/11/16.

Different but beautiful as well, Scott-Brown’s book is more abstract and free-flowing. Here God sings... 
and dances the universe into being!
Of the two, only Scott-Brown’s book ends with images of Adam and Eve, who are merely referred to as the two beings who God made in God’s own likeness. There is no story of eating the forbidden fruit.
Both books use masculine pronouns for God. If you don’t want to use these, try using small Post-it notes with the word “God” on them where the male pronouns exist and substitute that word.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman
Light is emphasized in both books so consider these when wanting to illuminate that subject and not creation necessarily. 
From Creation Song by Scott-Brown
For either book, I suggest emphasizing God’s creativity and how our desires to create with ideas or materials might be evidence of God’s image in us.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman
Here at PBT, I’ve also featured another picture book about creation on 6/9/14. Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen by Nancy Wood and Timothy Basil Ering is a hilarious imagining of how our universe came into being.

Picture Book: Let There Be Light
Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Illustrator: Nancy Tillman
Original Publisher & Date: Zonderkidz, 2013
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Picture Book: Creation Song
Author: Anna Scott-Brown
Illustrator: Elena Gomez
Original Publisher & Date: Lion Children’s, 2007
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

The well-known words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 are celebrated in the next pair of picture books. The text of these picture books is almost identical. I’ll explain one minor difference below. 
However, their illustrations are quite different so consider your purposes and audience when choosing. 
In this first book, the connections between the text and illustration is less obvious, but the images are less violent and more relate-able.  
Jude Daly offers these verses in the context of her native of South Africa. Her illustrations are simple and rural. "A time to be born" is illustrated above. 
You can offer your children a geography lesson as well as a lesson in scripture.
The entire scripture is found again on the last page. I recommend this book for younger elementary-aged children.
Picture Book: To Everything There is a Season
Illustrator: Jude Daly
Original Publisher & Date: Eerdman’s, 2006
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

In the second book in this pairing, the illustrators amazingly render each coupled statements in the style of a different world culture. For this reason, I suggest an older audience. Here’s an example:
Above and below you see verse 8 “A time to love, and a time to hate” are offered in the style of stone-cut art created by Inuit people from The Far North (Siberia to Greenland).
Explain to your audience that these images are original to the illustrators; these are not ancient drawings. Below you see "a time to refrain from embracing" represented in the style of art created in Ethiopia in the 17th - 18th centuries ACE. 
This picture book offers wonderful comparative art history while subtly emphasizes how these ancient verses have been true across time and cultures. It would be perfect for a homeschool or private school situation. Below "A time to plant" is represented in the style of a Japanese woodblock print.
Each pair of illustrations is explained in brief in a list in the back of the book. Be prepared to answer questions about the illustrations, like the one below illustrating "a time to heal" in the style of art found in pre-conquest Mexico. 
The small difference in text referenced above is simply that this book ends with verse 9 “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: But the Earth abides forever.”
Picture Book: To Everything There is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes.
Illustrators: Leo & Diane Dillon
Original Publisher & Date: The Blue Sky Press, 1998
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 10 & up, 5th and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

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