Friday, September 15, 2017

PBT Stories #4: Singing Our Faith

A favorite memory at my church happened when I taught Music Play. It was time to demonstrate what the children were learning in a worship service. I had about 12 children (all post high school now!) standing across the front ready to sing and do their motions with great enthusiasm. 

Suddenly, I felt terribly privileged. I had the opportunity to teach these children songs that could spiritually ground their faith for a lifetime. They sang lyrics like…
My God is so great
So strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do.
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified.
Do not be discouraged
For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.
O God, you are my God
And I will ever praise you….
I will seek you in the morning
And I will learn to walk in your ways.
And step by step you’ll lead me.
And I will follow you all of my days.

My children still remember many of these song. I hope their memories will serve them well as they face adulthood.

At present, I’m writing a Sunday school curriculum for our children (age 1 through 5). It is called Trinity Treasures and is tied to The Revised Common Lectionary. Lessons use picture books, readings from particular children's Bibles, and activities to learn more about a key idea or story from the Bible. Yesterday I wrote a lesson for October 22. The Trinity Idea for that lesson is

No one is like God. With your special voice, sing praise songs to God. 

Again, I'm privileged to encourage our children to understand the importance of singing praise to God. 

Today's post is pulled from PBT archives of my first year in which I posted about a new PBT book every day. Your children will love this story about an African girl who wants to find out what to do with all of her happiness. After seeing the many ways her family members show joy, she finds her own special way. I be you can guess what she does! 
Picture Book: Anna Hibiscus’ Song
Author: Atinuke
Illustrator: Lauren Tobia
Summary: Anna Hibiscus is an African child who loves to sit in a mango tree and watch her extended family in their daily tasks. She becomes so happy she doesn’t know what to do with her joy. She comes down and begins asking a series of relatives how she might express her happiness. Each of them has a suggestion (counting the reasons why she’s happy, dancing, tumbling, whispering in an ear “I love you”…) all of which she tries, but her happiness only grows. After her mother confesses to sitting quietly when happy, Anna Hibiscus settles into her mango tree again, but she is still about to burst with happiness. Then the birds inspire her to open her mouth wide and sing. Oh how she sings!   
Hanna’s Comments: Besides the overall delight of this picture book, I especially like the way the love of these extended family members shines through. Also, I am always glad to see various skin colors in picture books. Lauren Tobia has chosen to give us a bi-racial Anna Hibiscus. Anna’s mother appears light-skinned. Anytime book illustrators offer non-white characters, especially protagonists, their offerings are especially appreciated by those of us who hope to see more diverse characters in children’s books. Note and Helpful Hint: There are several Anna Hibiscus books. Some are picture books and some are early chapter books. If you are looking on-line, you can usually tell this by the photo of the book. Picture books are usually more square than chapter books.
Original Publisher & Date: Kane Miller, 2011
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Let us sing to the Lord (Psalm 95:1); O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt you and praise your name. (Isaiah 25:1); Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4)
Idea(s) for Application: The concept of worship is often difficult for children to understand. This book offers a wonderful demonstration of why and how we worship God in various ways. Sometimes praise and thanksgiving to God is the most natural human response we can make. 

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