It’s time for another re-posting of one of my favorite PBT books published in the last decade or so. I chose this one because it delicately handles the issues of hunger and poverty. Many children during the holiday season are confronted with these issues when they observe faith families giving food and gifts. This book gives you the opportunity to talk about their confusion and consider some meaningful acts of service and generosity during the holiday season.
Picture Book: Maddi’s Fridge
Author: Louise Brandt
Illustrator: Vin Vogel
Summary: Best friends Sophia and Maddi spend each day together, playing outside, attending school, and hanging out at each other’s home. When Sophia accidentally discovers Maddi’s nearly empty fridge and realizes her friend has no access to milk at home, Sophia becomes very worried. Maddi asks her to keep their situation a secret so Sophia struggles for days, worried about her friend but compelled to keep the secret. Often it is when Sophia is eating at her home, where a bounty of nutritious food is prepared, that she asks her mother questions about food. The burden of her promise to keep Maddi’s secret becomes heavier with each meal. Finally, she tells her mother, and they respond by bringing food to Maddi’s home and talking with Maddi’s mother about how they can help. Sophia is relieved, and their relationship is not damaged. Meanwhile, there is an interesting play ritual between the girls that involves competition, strengths, and weaknesses.
Hanna’s Comments: It’s rare to see a book that is so outwardly inviting be about such a profound and stark subject as hunger. Fortunately, the issue of hunger and the broader issue of poverty are handled in a way that is wonderfully appropriate for children, presenting some of the confusion that many children must feel when confronted with this issue. After the story, there is a call to action section which lists six ways children can respond to hunger as well as information on anti-hunger groups.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Flashlight Press, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
PBT Category: Fresh off the Press
Scripture Connections: If your kin become poor and cannot maintain, you shall support them (Leviticus 25:35); when did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40); parable of the great feast (Luke 14: 15-24)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children when studying the complex issue of hunger or poverty. Be sure to help them understand how your faith community responds to hunger and the broader issue of poverty.