Friday, June 15, 2018

PBT Stories #6 Arts Camp & Flight School

Today my urban church, First United Methodist Birmingham, AL, finishes a 10th Arts Camp in which children from all over our city come together for positive art experiences while learning about being in loving relationship with God. This is the theme and logo:
They have drummed, sung, danced, created visual art, and entered a transformed room where a Bible story or concept came alive for them. My husband Bill writes & plans the Bible Story curricula and is their lead playmate during this time. Ask most kids what their favorite Arts Camp experiences are and they’ll say Bible Story because of the novelty and affirmation received thanks to my husband. This year's theme related to flight so science and history were highlighted as well. 
One day Bill read from a screen the PBT book below and dressed as the penguin in the story. A plush penguin was transformed as well. On that day, they talked about Peter's passionate plea to The Jerusalem Council to include gentiles (read penguins) who wanted to soar with the Christians. You can imagine the delight the children had in hearing and playing this story. Here's my re-post:

Picture Book: Flight School
Author & Illustrator: Lita Judge
Summary: When Little Penguin shows up at flight school, he claims he has the “soul of an eagle” and was “hatched to fly.” 
He is allowed to stay and practice with the other birds. When students attempt their first flight, Penguin’s flight is a disaster. 
He becomes discouraged. This troubles his flight teachers who suddenly have a creative idea. More feathers are attached to Penguin with string and soon he is in flight, soaring with joy, at least for a little while. 
But how did this happen? With help from a friend.
This time Penguin’s eventual fall did not bother him for he had “soared on the wind.” He went home and soon returned with another, even bigger challenge for the flight school teachers.
Hanna’s Comments:  This is a great book for parents and teachers to read for it is a tribute to those who encourage the young and find creative ways to help them be successful. 
How does this inspiring book fit with theology? How about reading this book to children and attaching it to Isaiah 40, a verse often heard by children but rarely explained. You could also focus on the benefits of community and friendship for encouragement and helping us soar into our dreams and vocations. 
Connect with the body of Christ imagery that Paul gives and you’ve got many potential scripture connections.
Original Publisher & Date: Atheneum, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections:  Those who wait on the Lord shall mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31); Body of Christ imagery (in Paul’s letters); look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4); encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11); do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:16)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of private school or homeschool teachers who you want to encourage to be creative in helping their children succeed. Connect to a scripture choice from above to give it a godly vocational dimension.  

Update: This book now has a sequel that is delightful!
In the new book, Penguin, with the help of his friends, flies home to Antarctica to teach them the magic of flight. However, they're more interested in swimming. Penguin must accept that his penguin friends don't share his desire to fly. They do tell him they are quite proud of him and will be looking up at the sky and thinking of him, their much-loved Penguin with the soul of an eagle.

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