Picture Book: If You Plant a Seed
Author & Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Summary: This beautiful picture book is made fabulous by pairing a simple tale with stunning illustrations.
Nelson begins with a simple situation: tomato, carrot, and cabbage seeds are planted by a rabbit and a mouse.
While giving their garden loving attention,
they patiently wait while their harvest grows and grows.
They are delighted by their harvest
and savor their crops
until some neighbors drop by.
They're not particularly subtle about what they want.
Like the seeds before, their selfishness grows and grows“into a heap of trouble” and mess.
Eventually Mouse reconsiders
and then decides to plant another kind of seed, a seed of kindness.
Suddenly, more friends come but this time
they don’t bring just their desires, they bring fruits of kindness in the form of showers of flower seeds which also growand grow while all patiently tend and wait, forming a community.
All the fruits are sweet and beautiful,
especially the kindness and the community.
Hanna’s Comments: I just read in Anne Lamott’s new book Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy: “God is the welcome and the welcomers” says a priest she knows. So true! Hospitality and generosity are holy acts, commands from the Hebrew scriptures and fruits of The Holy Spirit in The New Testament. In this big beautiful book, these holy endeavors bring about a surprising level of joy and communion as parts of the tasty harvest. Kadir Nelson is responsible for the illustrations (and sometimes the words too) in some of my favorite PBT books. Check out Nelson Mandela [here], Henry’s Freedom Box [here], and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands [here].
Original Publisher & Date: Balzer & Bray, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Treat the stranger as the native among you (Leviticus 19:34); Show hospitality to one another (Hebrews 13:2 & 1 Peter 4:9); listing of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of preschoolers or young elementary students in a lesson on kindness, generosity, and hospitality as faithful practices and fruits of The Holy Spirit.