Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Boundary Crossing Stories

Picture Book: No Dogs Allowed
Author: Linda Ashman
Illustrator: Kristin Sorra 
Summary: A waiter stands outside Alberto’s City Lights cafĂ© to encourage customers. 
While standing beside a sign reading “Welcome!” a boy and dog approach. The sign is quickly amended to read “No Dogs Allowed.” Disappointed, the boy and dog turn to a nearby fountain in the city square. 
When a girl & cat and then a lady & bunny approach, the waiter adds to the list of creatures not welcome. The waiter is delighted to sit an elderly man, but ignores his customer, distracted by others he does not welcome. 
Meanwhile, those who are banned create community at the fountain. As the panoply of exotic animals builds, so does the fun around the fountain. 
The elderly customer gives up and joins the fun, and the discouraged waiter sits on the curb. When the lemonade runs out, the boy and his dog convince the waiter to bring refreshments outside to the fountain crowd. 
All rejoice and the name Alberto’s City Lights is transformed in name and spirit to All Critter’s Bistro where “Everyone is Allowed.”   
Hanna’s Comments: Recently I listened to a podcast from Richard Rohr’s Homilies. He referred to Jesus’ “boundary crossing stories” and preached on The Good Samaritan, a parable inspired by the question Who is my neighbor? Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a chapter about neighborhoods in the latest book from Diana Butler Bass, Grounded: Finding God in the World. At PBT I have many “boundary crossing” picture books. I find myself drawn to these stories and so is my church as we strive to fulfill our vision to be “A Welcome Place for All to Worship, Grow, and Serve.” Our diverse community is making plans to serve communion on World Communion Sunday in nearby Kelly Ingram Park, the same park where 50 years ago children were hosed by Birmingham’s police. Thanks be to God that barriers are more often questioned now and issues of boundary crossing are easily found in popular culture and in faith communities. Amazon lists no fewer than 5 picture books with this name. One I have previously featured [here at PBT]. It is delightful and involves an extended family’s trip to the beach where the family pet isn't allowed on the beach. The rule doesn't change as it does in this story, but the family's response is inspiring. Check it out before choosing which book best fits the conversation you wish to have in your faith community about boundary crossing.
Original Publisher & Date: Sterling, 2011
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Gospel accounts and parables of boundary crossing (healing the bent over woman, Zacchaeus, The Good Samaritan, The Great Feast)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this picture book to a group of children or adults when delving into Jesus’ many boundary crossing stories.