Tuesday, April 26, 2016

More God Books

I’m taking a quick break from the PBT series featuring theological statements for young children and picture books that connect with them to offer you 2 God books that I’ve run across lately. What are God books?
When I started PBT back in April of 2014, I wanted to mostly offer secular books for I believe those were the ones you most likely don’t know or can’t easily access. 
Picture books about specific scripture stories or characters can be found via search engines in libraries or on-line.
There is a treasure of sacred picture books about the nature of God that can lead to rich and meaningful learning experiences. However, they are difficult to find unless you know their titles. These are what I call God books.
During my Picture Book a Day for a Year series, I offered 11 categories of books. God books was one category. Here are those categories (many have to do with how new the books are):
Fresh Off the Press                         Post 2K
Pre 2K (1980-1999)                       Classic (before 1980)
Traditional                                      Non-fiction
Biography                                       Award (winner)
Rare                                                  Song
God
If you are ever uncomfortable with masculine pronouns for God in a God book, simply substitute with the word God (little Post-it notes can help with this). If your children ask about these, you’ve got a great teachable moment. 
If you are a fan of Max Lucado’s books, you’ll be glad to know that my next post will be about several of his God books!

The first PBT offering today is a surprising book that on the surface seemed a little too “Precious Moments like” for my taste. In fact, it features the Little Blessings characters which are unfamiliar to me.

Despite the saccharine look of the illustrations, this book offers some interesting questions about God – the kind of questions that are valuable for little ones to begin considering. Besides, young children may like the illustrations even if you don’t.
Also this book has Bible References that connects with each of the earlier text sections. These include scripture verses from the Old and New Testaments. There are 25 of these! Clearly this is not a book to read in one sitting but to experience in rich bits with your young children. Here's an illustration that connects with Psalm 23:1 I am the good Shepherd, who cares for each lamb. 
For older children, you might want to use some of the content in this book, without using the actual book. The ideas are appropriate for children of all ages.
What’s here is a series of questions that children might ask of God such as…
Can you really see me when I am so small?
Are you strong or gentle?
How do I know you are somewhere nearby?
Do you always love me or just when I’m good?

Then there are responses from God after God encourages the reader to look in the Bible for answers.
Here are some of those answers that will be connected to scriptures in the Bible References section referred to above:
…don’t be upset that you can’t see my face. You can look at my work in this beautiful place!
I’m as tall as the heavens and as wide as the sea.
But even your hairs are all counted by me.
Picture Book: What is God Like?
Author: Kathleen Long Bostrom
Illustrator: Elena Kucharik
Original Publisher & Date: Tyndale House, 1998
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

The other God book I’m offering is by Joseph F. Girzone, the author of the popular 1995 book for teens and adults: Joshua: A Parable for Today. Here he explores the question What is God? with text and his own beautiful illustrations. He emphasizes that God is all around us.
Here are a couple of photos of the illustrations.
I think you’ll get a sense of how exquisite they are and how intriguing are the ideas.
This is a small book so you’ll want to offer it to a relatively small audience. Also, these ideas are quite abstract so note that it is recommended for older elementary children and up. Adults would also enjoy exploring the ideas in this book.
Picture Book: What is God?
Author & Illustrator: Joseph F. Girzone
Original Publisher & Date: Doubleday, 1996
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 10 and up, 5th and up
Formats other than Book: None at present