Monday, February 6, 2017

God's Many Colors of Us

(all photos, like this one are from The Colors of Us by Katz)
One of the reasons I write these PBT book features is to explore my theology, ground it in scripture, and offer picture book stories that you can use to explore these ideas in ministry or with those you teach or counsel or those you love most. At PBT, picture books form a bridge between story and scripture. 
Diversity is a core theological value of mine. Today’s feature reminds us that God created a diverse world and called it good. We humans are imaged of God; we are good and beautifully different parts of the whole body of creation. Because I am a Christian, I will add that we are all beautifully different members of the whole body of Christ.   

Picture Book: The Colors of Us
Author & Illustrator: Karen Katz
Summary: Lena, whose mother is an artist, decides to paint a self-portrait. 
Thinking of the brown paint she will use for her skin, she walks through her neighborhood and realizes brown skin comes in many, many shades. 
Lena is the color of cinnamon, not so her many neighborhood friends. 
Sonia is a creamy peanut butter brown. 
Isabella’s skin is chocolate brown and Lucy’s is peachy tan. 
Jo-Jin’s skin is the color of honey and Kyle's is reddish brown, like fall leaves. 
Mr. Pellegrino’s skin is the color of the pizza dough he makes, and Lena’s babysitter is like a beautiful jewel that is bronze and amber. 
We meet many more of Lena's neighbors, in all their glorious brownness. 
After her walk, Lena has friends over and thinks about their array of beautiful colors.
When her friends leave, she begins painting her friends. 
As she paints, she says the names of their colors, thinking how delicious they sound and how beautiful they are.
Hanna’s Comments: On Facebook recently, veterans of the church camp community that raised me began remembering some of our favorite camp song lyrics. Here's one of my favorites by Avery and Marsh:
Diff'rent is beautiful.
God bless variety.
Just look around and see.
Diff'rent is beautiful.
No surprise then that I wrote this post! Here are some ideas: After you read this book, be ready to share the name you have given your shade of your skin and encourage your audience to do the same. Help them connect their shades to other God-creations in nature. Having lots of naturally brown items in the room will help. Find ways for the array of their various shades to be displayed, perhaps with legs (as in this book) or with hands or feet. Declare again and again how God’s creation is good and all humans are created in the image of God. Then consider what that means to you as individuals, to your family of faith, your country, and our world.
Original Publisher & Date: Henry Holt & Co., 1999
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections:  God created us in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27); God arranged the members in the body… if all were a single member, where would the body be? (1 Corinthians 12:18-19); for by God all things were created through God and for God (Colossians 1:16); I looked and saw a great multitude, all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book as a central activity in a lesson on God’s diverse creation or the meaning of being made in God’s image.