Monday, May 30, 2016

One Country, One Hope, One World

Picture Book: One Today
Author: Richard Blanco
Illustrator: Dav Pilkey
Original Publisher & Date: Little, Brown, & Co., 2015
Summary: The text of this picture book is the 2nd inaugural poem for President Barack Obama, first read on January 21, 2013. It is a celebration of the extraordinary that can be found in the USA from dawn to dusk and coast to coast. 
The bright illustrations burst with relationships via work and play. Rituals are evidence of our rich culture. Events such as MLK’s I Have a Dream speech and the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary are touched on as this book repeats the word “one” again and again: one light, one ground, one wind, while demonstrating diversity in our languages, our geography, our skin, our prayers. 
It ends with hope, as you might expect on such a day,
Hope-a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it –
together.
Hanna’s Comments: Today is Memorial Day in the states. It’s a day when we honor those who have given their lives to defend our country so I’m offering a picture book that is a tribute to the best of the United States of America. Regardless of your political leanings, this book has potential for you. As on days like this where we all honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, there is much that we all share and value in this book.
I know some who read this blog are not American. I recognize that many of the characteristics of America that this book celebrates is true for your country as well. 
One of my favorite hymns is This is My Song. We don’t sing it enough in our sanctuaries in the USA. It is a song of peace and an acknowledgement that what we hold dear in our country is likely held dear in other countries too. The words are by Lloyd Stone. It is sung to Jean Sibelius’ Findlandia. Here are the lyrics to the first 2 verses:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine;
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine;
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

Idea(s) for Application: Use this picture book in a teen or adult lesson on diversity or unity in which you are celebrating what makes our country great and thanking God for God's many blessings.
Scripture Connections: From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet