Friday, May 13, 2016

Beautiful Work for Hands by Hands

For a while, I’m going to be trying out a shorter format compared to the posts I’ve done recently.  I’ll be focusing on one picture book at a time, offering ideas and scripture connections. These will be similar to the Picture Book a Day for a Year series that launched PBT here on 4/20/14. I’d love some feedback on this or other formats that I’ve used. What is most helpful to you in your ministry, family, or school context?

Today’s picture book is short, beautiful, and rich with ideas. It offers both a feel-good read-aloud experience with some inspiration for art making.

Tell me what you think about this book or the new format. If there are picture books that you’ve used that have inspired great art projects, let us know via a comment. We’d love to hear from you here at PBT.  

Picture Book: Beautiful Hands
Author & Illustrator: Kathryn Otashi
Author: Bret Baumgarten
Summary: The central idea of this book is the question: What will your hands do today? Surprising possibilities include planting (ideas), lifting (spirits), stretching (imaginations), etc.  

The look of this book is quite unique. The rainbow-colored illustrations seem to primarily be hand or thumb prints. In the back you’ll find About the Story & Illustrations, where you’ll read that this book began with Baumgarten’s experience holding his children’s hands and asking the central question of the book. Otashi explains that the rainbow image “embeds the handprints of over a hundred family members and friends.”
Hanna’s Comments: What I enjoy about this book is how it jumps from concrete ideas to abstract & unusual applications of those ideas. Hands touch hearts for instance. However, this jump must be supported by good teaching, particularly if your audience is young. For each idea discuss the concrete concepts that the children likely know already. 

For my example, talk about what concrete things your children’s hands might touch. Then transition them to think about the idea of touching hearts. Give examples. Explain what touching hearts feels like. Have them move physically through these ideas if that makes sense. Controlled movement often helps children obtain and retain concepts especially when a book refers to body parts as often as this one does. 

For each idea, you may want to connect with your faith. The easiest way to do this might be to use examples of people in your faith family who demonstrated these concepts. Does your child or children know someone who plants ideas? Lifts spirits? Stretches imaginations? 
For those of you teaching, parenting, or grandparenting very young children, this book fits in well with my PBT series 12 Theological Statements for Young Children. Consider statement #3: God gave you a great body to do great things. (post date 3/16/16) and #4: God loves it when we do even greater things together. (post date 3/22/16). 
Idea(s) for Application: Use this book to help children broaden their concepts of using their bodies for service or missions.

Scripture Connections: Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3); give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her (Proverbs 31:31); work heartily, as for the Lord (Colossians 3:23); having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6); we are made in Creator God’s image (Genesis 1:27) 

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

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