Friday, January 12, 2018

It Takes a Village for Little Bears Too

I've been saving this favorite book for a while. It's sooo good! 
Picture Book: Baby Bear
Author & Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Summary: Baby bear is lost, but this little one is never alone. As he encounters members of his community, he respectfully asks for help. Each offers wise suggestions and encouragement. 
Mountain Lion suggests retracing his steps. 
Busy Frog encourages him by telling him to "Trust yourself. You will find your way home." 
Squirrels say that hugging a tree and thinking of home works for them. 
Baby Bear thinks it's silly but does just that. 
He's interrupted by a moose who suggests Baby Bear sit very still and listen to his heart. 
Baby bear does, 
but the tears come. 
Above a question comes from Ram, "Why are you crying?" Baby Bear admits he is lost so Ram suggests that he climb higher for a better view and sing a song for comfort. 
At the top, Owl hears his song. When Baby Bear says he is alone, Owl disagrees and says, "I am here with you. You only need to look up and keep going. You will find your way home." 
Both exchange words of love and Baby Bear keeps going.
Next Baby Bear speaks to a salmon who is willing to lead him a little further if Baby Bear doesn't eat him. Baby Bear promises. 
Salmon shows him just where to get out of the river, 
and Baby Bear sees that he is 
home.
Hanna’s Comments: I know of no more beautiful book about discernment than this one. There is so much rich content here. This is a great book for teens and adults for that reason, but don't assume that children are too young to explore such an important spiritual concept. They need to be making wise decisions about their personal paths and choices. Encourage all of these audiences to talk about how their community and The Body of Christ help them make decisions or find their path. Kadir Nelson's work astounds me. I plan to feature another of his books on MLK Day. Check out other PBT posts featuring his books [here] and [here]. I recently used this book in my new preschool curriculum that’s linked to The Revised Common Lectionary. I chose it for a lesson about The Body of Christ. This book could also be used with adults to explore the journey of finding a faith home or your way back to your faith after disruption. For a really interesting lesson, have your children compare and contrast this story with the story of Jesus being left behind in Jerusalem when he was 12.
Original Publisher & Date: Balzar & Bray, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Scriptures about discernment; Jesus left behind (Luke 2:41-49); The lost parables (Luke 15); we are The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27); the church is The Body of Christ (Revised Common Lectionary, Epistle Yr. A, Proper 29: Ephesians 1:22)
Idea(s) for Application: Home is a commonly explored spiritual concept. This book is all about finding home so it lends itself to all sorts of lessons about discernment, being lost, and leaning on our village for help.