Monday, May 2, 2016

PBT Blog Series: Theological Statements for Young Children #10

Illustration from Yes Day! by Amy Kraouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

I’m in the last stretch of this PBT series where I’ve offered you 9 statements so far that can easily be paired with secular books for very young children. Today’s offering is actually 2 statements that I’ve attached: Good things will happen; be thankful to God!
Illustration from Yes Day! by Amy Kraouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld
There are lots of book possibilities here. Any book about joyful, hopeful, or grateful living will connect well with these 2 ideas. I’m offering several books today so I’ll just give you a brief taste and the cover. Then I’ll list some of the best PBT books that connect to this statement and their postdates.

The first is a beautiful book about nature that directly relates to Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. You’ll find this verse on the first page. Then each day of the week is celebrated in various ecosystems while praise and gratitude are encouraged. The book ends exclaiming, Let all creation lift its voice. This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice! Rejoice!
Picture Book: This is the Day!
Author: Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrator: Richard Cowdrey
Original Publisher & Date: Zondervan, 2009
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

The next book is a classic from 1947 that has been lately re-published and newly illustrated by well-known Helen Oxenbury. Despite the context from so long ago, young children will love this story because they will relate to it so well. Children who have never experienced a farm could learn a lot here too. The little guy in this story sees all the changes at the farm, in the garden, in the animals, etc. He celebrates these little changes and is fascinated by everything growing. When he pulls out his clothes for the next season, he is thrilled to see that he is too big for them. He has grown too!
Picture Book: The Growing Story
Author: Ruth Kraus
Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
Original Publisher & Date: (modern version) Harper Collins, 2004
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, Toddler and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

If you want a more scientific flare to your celebration of change, the next two books by the same author/illustrator team will be perfect for you. Keep in mind, it’s good for young children to begin connecting the science they learn with their faith. The two are neither mutually exclusive nor in conflict in my book! Instead, they enhance one another.

The first story focuses on a seed that is reluctant to grow. Nearby underground creatures keep encouraging it to sprout. These are mostly insects and a worm who seems to be head cheerleader of sorts. Their encouraging words are perfect examples of encouragement and affirmation that hopefully your children experience in their faith community or preschool classroom. The text and rhymes are clever and will have your little ones making some ironic connections. I’m getting scared! It’s light up there.

You never know who might be lurking in the LIGHT!
When the seed gets bored and realizes it is needed above ground, it gathers its courage and grows. The book has fold-out pages that your children will enjoy as they watch the seed sprout beyond the dimensions of a traditional book and become a very happy flower rooted in a community of friends.
Picture Book: Rooting for You: A Moving Up Story
Author: Susan Hood
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Original Publisher & Date: Disney-Hyperion, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, Toddler and up
Formats other than Book: Not at present

A group of frog eggs take center stage in this next Hood and Cordell book. As the eggs grow and sprout a tail and 2 legs, a large community of animals in and out of the water, enjoy the show and offer the repeated refrain Change comes to all who grow.

Don’t tell your children what the eggs will become. When the tadpoles sprout those last 2 legs and then leap out of the water, your audience will be delighted to recognize that they are frogs. As in Rooting for You, there are fold-out pages that carry the action beyond the usual double-page spread. My favorite line here is
Who are you young amphibians delighting in shenanigans?

Clearly these 2 are clever books that you can connect with God’s good and clever ways! Help your children see that their joy in the changes of nature is a sort of thanksgiving prayer to God.
Picture Book: Leaps and Bounce: A Growing Up Story
Author: Susan Hood
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Original Publisher & Date: Disney-Hyperion, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Not at present

This next book takes a more human perspective though still somewhat scientific. In the spirit of gratitude, it takes a journey from source to table explaining many of the items young children experience daily at table and emphasizing the workers who make this possible. This lesson in food production begins with a table blessing: "to all the folks we'll never meet who helped provide this food we eat."
Picture Book: Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
Author: Pat Brisson
Illustrator: Mary Azarian
Original Publisher & Date: Tilbury House, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

If your children are very young, consider a board book with a similar title: Before We Eat: A Thank You Prayer by Jacqueline Jules and Melissa Iwai. I didn’t have access to this book, but check it out on-line. It looks like a great book for toddlers.
The next offering is also a book for very young children. As its title implies, it’s a simple prayer of thanks that’s perfect to keep beside a child’s bed. It’s short and sweet and is something like a board book so it can handle some rough treatment from infants and toddlers. Combine this book with theological statement #10 and you’ve got a set of wonderful truths for tucking a child or grandchild into bed.
Picture Book: Thank You Prayer
Author: Josephine Page
Illustrator: Caroline Jayne Church
Original Publisher & Date: Scholastic, 2005
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

The next book is another sequel. This one involves characters first introduced in Daniel Kirk’s Ten Things I Love About You which I first posted about [here] and connected just a few posts ago to statement #6 in this series: God/Jesus loves you and wants you to love yourself and others. in this PBT series.
Like in the first book, Pig is trying to do some writing (a thank you note in this case) when Rabbit comes over to play. Rabbit decides to do some writing too and keeps interrupting Pig so that his thank you note doesn’t progress. Both fun books end with Rabbit affirming Pig for being such a good friend. 
Picture Book: Ten Thank You Letters
Author & Illustrator: Daniel Kirk
Original Publisher & Date: Nancy Paulsen, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up 
Formats other than Book: Tablet

The last book I’m offering here is another one of Todd Parr’s wonderfully bold and simple books. Paired with his trademark brightly-colored line drawings, Parr simply lists things his characters are thankful for and why. Here’s my favorite: 
I'm thankful for the library because it is filled with endless adventures.
Pair this book with a version of statement #10 such as See what good things will happen; let’s be thankful to God! and you suddenly have a simple lesson in theology for young children.
Picture Book: The Thankful Book
Author & Illustrator: Todd Parr
Original Publisher & Date: Little, Brown, & Co., 2012
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Other PBT books that connect & links to posts:
The Stars Will Shine - 2/26/16               
All in a Day - 2/26/16
Hope is an Open Heart - 4/24/14           
Bear Says Thanks - 11/18/14
What a Wonderful World - 7/6/14
Yes Day! - 7/5/14
Think Big - 3/16/16
My Bibi Always Remembers - 3/22/16
Love is My Favorite Thing - 4/8/16