Friday, June 8, 2018

Goodness!

Picture Book: Most People
Author: Michael Leannah
Illustrator: Jennifer E. Morris
Summary: This picture book offers a contrast to the negative stories from the news media. It begins with these words: 
Sometimes the world seems scary, it's true. 
But most people are good people, just like you. 
Then you watch as 2 non-traditional families who are representative of "most people" enjoy lots of life's goodness. The day begins as breakfast is enjoyed by a single mother and her 2 children
as well as a couple of grandparents and their grandson. 
We learn they are all friends as we view them in their common community.  
We see goodness from a surprising  character 
and bad choices from a child and an unseen foul-mouthed character. 
The results of some more bad behavior are shown, but that's not the focus here. 
The author and illustrator offer a wonderful metaphor that is at the heart of their message: 
If you could line up all the people who want to be good and all the people who want to be bad, the good line would stretch from here to the tallest mountain. All the people in the bad line could crowd together in a dark and gloomy room. 
The overall message is that most people want to be good because there is a "seed of goodness" in everyone. We see this in the confession and redemption of the boy who stole.
As you read, encourage your audience to look carefully for all the goodness and label it with more specific words. Call these spiritual or religious practices. There's cooperation in the background via a community garden. 
A young girl is angry. We aren't told why.
But the daughter who we saw have breakfast earlier notices and responds with sensitivity and generosity. We are encouraged to do the same. 
Sometimes you follow a sub-plot from one page to another. Here the grandfather shops for pies while other good things happen around him.
On a later page, we see one of the reasons for his purchase. 
The book shows many good situations that most people enjoy.
These images will give your audience many prompts for personal story sharing after the reading.  
The conclusion is a fabulous double-page spread of the two families enjoying a meal together on their roof while many others are enjoying their lives in their homes below or on other roofs.
Hanna’s Comments: This is an antidote to the bad news and frightful images common in our world. It's not a "Pollyanna" view but a view with a winder lens that encourages folks to notice beyond the headlines, participate in the goodness, and be thankful. Be sure to point out that the author refrains from calling anyone bad, instead there are bad choices. Make a strong connection between the "seeds of goodness" which the author says are in everyone and the "image of God" the Abrahamic faiths believe are in all human beings. 
Original Publisher & Date: Tilbury House, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Humans are made in God's image (Genesis 1:27); Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6); Oh, how abundant is your goodness (Psalm 31:19); Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8); …all things work together for good (Romans 8:28); The fruit of the Spirit is …goodness… (Galatians 5:22); Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to any group in your faith family who needs to be reminded of the goodness that surrounds us thanks to our God and the goodness God inspires in us.