Monday, August 21, 2017

New PBT Series: Favorite Posts

This morning, I woke up thinking about today’s total eclipse. Many of us will be fortunate to experience it here in the US. How can I not think of God’s amazing creation and moments of light and dark! I found the following post and wanted to share it with you all, hence this new series. There are 4 beautiful books featured below. Consider the various contexts in which you could feature them in your ministry or share them with your family as bedtime reading or a homeschool lesson. Today (and while reading these gorgeous books later), know that God’s creation is good, very good.

From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman
Creation and Ecclesiastes
Here are 4 beautiful books that I've been savoring for some time. The first two are about creation, the next two about the commonly known verses in Ecclesiastes about the seasons of our lives. 
From Creation Song by Scott-Brown
In the first book I feature, the creation story as interpreted by one of the world’s leading Christian theologians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Anna Scott-Brown, a woman born in Nepal whose words are inspired by her birth country.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman

Both books offer renditions of the creation of our universe that emphasize God’s desire for relationship and loving delight in the creative process. Also in both, the illustrations are luminous and joyful.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman

Tutu’s book has the 7-day structure. It begins with personal letters from Archbishop Tutu and illustrator Nancy Tillman and ends with images of children and the words, “You are loved.” 
I’ve featured several of this illustrator’s other books here at PBT, check them out [here] and [here].

Picture Book: Let There Be Light
Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Illustrator: Nancy Tillman
Original Publisher & Date: Zonderkidz, 2013
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

Different but also stunning, Scott-Brown’s book is more abstract and free-flowing. Here God sings... 
and dances the universe into being!
Of the two books, only Scott-Brown’s book ends with images of Adam and Eve, who are merely referred to as the two beings who God made in God’s own likeness. There is no story of eating the forbidden fruit.

Both books use masculine pronouns for God. If you don’t want to use these, try using small Post-it notes with the word “God” on them where the male pronouns exist and substitute that word.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman

Light is emphasized in both books so consider these when wanting to illuminate that subject and not creation necessarily. 
From Creation Song by Scott-Brown

For either book, I suggest emphasizing God’s creativity and how our desires to create with ideas or materials might be evidence of God’s image in us.
From Let There Be Light by Tutu & Tillman

Here at PBT, I’ve also featured another picture book about creation. Check out the hilarious Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen by Nancy Wood and Timothy Basil Ering [here].
Picture Book: Creation Song
Author: Anna Scott-Brown
Illustrator: Elena Gomez
Original Publisher & Date: Lion Children’s, 2007
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

The last pair of books are celebrations of the human seasons found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8The text of these picture books is almost identical. Because their illustrations are so different, consider your purpose and audience when choosing. I’ll explain another minor difference below. 
In this first book, the connections between the text and illustration are less obvious, but the images are less pleasant and relatable
Jude Daly offers these verses in the context of her native South Africa. Her illustrations are simple and rural. "A time to be born" is illustrated above. 
You can offer your children a geography lesson as well as a lesson in scripture.
The entire scripture is found again on the last page. I recommend this book for younger elementary-aged children.

Picture Book: To Everything There is a Season
Illustrator: Jude Daly
Original Publisher & Date: Eerdman’s, 2006
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up
Formats other than Book: None at present

In the second of this pair of books about Ecclesiastes, the illustrators amazingly render coupled statements in the styles of different world cultures. For this reason, I suggest an older audience. Here’s an example:
Above and below you see verse 8 “A time to love, and a time to hate” are offered in the style of stone-cut art created by Inuit people from The Far North (Siberia to Greenland).
Explain to your audience that these images are original to the illustrators; these are not ancient drawings. Below you see "a time to refrain from embracing" represented in the style of art created in Ethiopia in the 17th - 18th centuries ACE. 
This picture book offers wonderful comparative art history while subtly emphasizes how these ancient verses have been true across time and cultures. It would be perfect for a homeschool or private school situation. Below "A time to plant" is represented in the style of a Japanese woodblock print.
Each pair of illustrations is explained in brief in a list in the back of the book. Be prepared to answer questions about the illustrations, like the one below illustrating "a time to heal" in the style of art found in pre-conquest Mexico. 
The small difference in text referenced above is simply that this book ends with the additional verse 9 “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: But the Earth abides forever.”

Picture Book: To Everything There is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes.
Illustrators: Leo & Diane Dillon
Original Publisher & Date: The Blue Sky Press, 1998
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 10 & up, 5th and up
Formats other than Book: None at present