Monday, October 9, 2017

Singing in Harmony

Picture Book: We All Sing with the Same Voice
Author: J. Philip Miller & Sheppard M. Greene
Illustrator: Paul Meisel
Summary: The text of this delightful book is the lyrics of a song from the Sesame Street TV show. It's full of children singing joyfully. 
They are quite different. 
Their names are different, Fred and Kareem Abdu for instance. 
Where they live is different. 
They might be from another country,  
from across the street, 
from a mountainous region, or from a coast. 
A repeated refrain uses an expansive concept of "I" making connections across children (and people of all ages) throughout our globe. 
I come from everywhere. 
And my name is you. 
The chorus proclaims the title idea that we all sing with the same voice and in harmony.
Then the children's diversity is explored through their various feelings
and behaviors such as crying 
and the need to sleep with a toy. 
Family structure is another way these children are different. 
Extended family members are mentioned 
as well as pets. 
Some favorite activities are listed like climbing and reading. 
Bedtime rituals are one of the activities these children share. 
The chorus wraps up this book that celebrates diversity and unified harmony. 
Hanna’s Comments: I wish I had known this Sesame Street song when my children were young. A key concept to emphasize for ministry applications is that all of these children (and each one of us) have inside us the voice of God. This is an expression of God’s image. Perhaps that is what “my name is you” means. At a time when diversity and creative expression are not always valued, let’s be reminded that God’s creation is our best model for the value and beauty of diversity. Humanity is the most blatant expression of diversity we have. Despite this, we also have a God-ordained connection that calls for empathy and community. Let’s celebrate when it leads to harmonious problem solving and joyful living. Give your audience examples of such harmony beyond a chorus of diverse voices. We Christians call that The Body of Christ at work. Here at PBT, there are many picture books with song lyrics as text because singing is an act of worship. You’ll find a few of my favorites [here] and [here] or you can use the search engine (below in the web version) and click on "songs." 
Original Publisher & Date: Harper Collins, 2005 (reprint)
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Several versions of this song are on Youtube. An audio cd comes in the hardback version, and the song is available for download on iTunes.
Scripture Connections: Created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); diversity in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12); the whole body, joined and held together… grows, building itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
Idea(s) for Application: Read (or sing) this book with a group of children and connect it to concepts mentioned in my comments above.