Monday, November 20, 2017

God Gave Us...

Below I feature another meaningful book for autumn, especially the Thanksgiving season. Following those details, I list the other books in the God Gave Us series, all of which involve loving animal parents exploring questions their young child asks about the nature of God. The animals' experiences and questions will be very meaningful to young human children and invite some great faith conversations.
Picture Book: God Gave Us Thankful Hearts
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Illustrator: David Holm
Summary: Little Pup is sad that winter is about to arrive because many of his friends will be hibernating. That means less fun and more boredom. 
So Mama takes Little Pup on a walk and begins to point out the benefits of Autumn. 
She gets a little push back from her son who does eventually admit that less skunks and bees are something to be thankful for. 
There's the wonderful way God paints the forest, Mama points out. 
Little Pup counters with complaints about poison ivy and his pack buddies who play too rough. 
Mama offers some wisdom:
The trick to having a thankful heart
is thinking about the things
that make us happy,
rather than the things that don’t. 
For example, Mama is very thankful for her Little Pup! 
Little Pup admits that he too is thankful for Mama and Papa. When he sees Papa with a fishing pole, he exclaims that he's very thankful for fishing! 
As they fish, Papa explains that even on days when they don't catch any fish, they should praise God for all that is given such as time together and the beauty of the river. 
Little Pup adds that he is thankful for the harvest festival but quickly complains about getting lost in the corn maze. 
Mama agrees that getting lost can be scary but she's thankful to God for showing them the way out. Little Pup adds that God is always with them, even in scary times. Mama affirms his thankful heart. 
The family all share their gratitude for apples and then list the ways they can be enjoyed. 
On the way home, Mama shares her deep thanks for the freedom to roam in such beautiful country.  
Once home, they enjoy the apples they picked and express gratitude for other healthy food on their table. 
Little Pup is especially thankful his home will be warm during the winter. 
Then he expresses one last great thanksgiving as they take him up to bed. He is thankful that God has given him a thankful heart. 
Sleep comes as Little Pup lists the many ways God has blessed him. 
Hanna’s Comments:  This is a great series for younger children! There’s also some great cognitive psychology here when Mama points out a positive orientation. Check out the other books in the series that feature either Little Pup or a young polar bear, Little Cub. There is such good substance here which can lead to important and meaningful faith conversations at home or in the midst of your faith family. Check out my list of other books in the God Gave Us series at the end of this post.
Original Publisher & Date: Waterbrook, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: I will give to The Lord the thanks due The Lord’s righteousness… (Psalm 7:17); Give thanks to The Lord, for The Lord is good… (Psalm 107:1); They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42); Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of young children in your faith family to explore the spiritual practice of gratitude or as a part of your Thanksgiving programming.

God Gave Us series (as of November 2017):
God Gave Us Family - Newly published, this story has Little Pup asking questions about why his family looks so different from other families.

God Gave Us Christmas - When Little Cub asks if God is more important than Santa, his parents lovingly explain the reason for Christmas.

God Gave Us Easter - Little Cub asks questions about the Easter season in this beautiful book for Christians. 

God Gave Us Love - Here Little Cub asks why he must love otters when they are so annoying.

God Gave Us the World -  A trip to a museum has Little Cub asking, "Why didn't God make us all the same?"

God Gave Us You - Little Cub crawls into bed wondering, "Where did I come from?"

God Gave Us Two - "Why do we need a new baby?" is the question that begins this story about the arrival of a sibling for Little Cub.

God Gave Us Sleep - This book has Little Cub asking why sleeping is so important.

God Gave Us Angels - Little Cub asks, "What do angels do all day?"

God Gave Us Heaven - The question "What is heaven like?" begins the polar bear family's conversation with Little Cub.

God Gave Us So Much - This is a box collection of three of these marvelous stories: God Gave Us the World, God Gave Us Love, God Gave Us Heaven.