Friday, June 3, 2016

Blessed are the Elephants

Picture Book: Pennies for Elephants
Author & Illustrator: Lita Judge
Original Publisher & Date: Hyperion, 2009
Summary: Based on true events in 1914, siblings Henry and Dorothy learn that local animal trainers are hoping to sell 3 elephants to the children of Boston for the zoo. 
Boston Globe articles are incorporated into the illustrations and move the plot along as these 2 children and others find ways to earn small change. When the siblings realize that they can visit the elephants, strong relationships develop between them and Mollie, Waddy, and Tony. 
Fundraising includes an animal-themed costume party and a Boston Globe publicity stunt involving having tea with the elephants. Movie theaters get involved as do children in nearby states. Success is marked with a big parade and an official handover in Fenway Park.
Hanna’s Comments: If you have children in your church who are passionate about social activism, they’ll be affirmed by this book. For those who are new to such projects, this book can serve as an early lesson on what children can do to better their world, which is what God calls us all to do. Point out that sometimes being a servant means being passionate about raising money. 
Other times servanthood is about working hard in small ways toward a huge goal. Point out where such patterns can be found in your faith family. Additionally, this book can help them understand how small financial gifts from many sources can make a substantial difference toward building God’s kingdom.
Idea(s) for Application: This book would be a fun component to a lesson for children about how they can contribute to the missions of their particular faith family so that all are blessed by the good work of God's creatures.
Scripture Connections: Paul urges the churches in Rome and Corinth to give generously for the Saints in Jerusalem who are experiencing famine (Romans 15:22-29, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15).
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present