Monday, July 16, 2018

PBT Series: Picture Book Classics #3

Below I'm featuring again a favorite discovery during my first year of PBT. Because that year I posted about a book everyday, you don't get as many photos of illustrations, but all the usual content is here. This is a beautiful classic that I encourage you to read for yourself if you don't know it. It's central message is needed more than ever across ages and in sacred and secular communities.  
Picture Book: The Happy Owls
Author & Illustrator: Celestino Piatti  
Summary: A pair of owls lives happily all year long. Their neighbors, barnyard fowl, are constantly eating, drinking, and fighting. The preening peacock wants to know why the owls seem to always be content. The other birds suggest that he visit them and ask. When the peacock asks about their happiness, the owls suggest he bring all his feathered friends to hear how they can be so content. Once all the birds are together, the owls explain and demonstrate their attentiveness and joy at seasonal details of nature. These practices of attention and gratitude lead to their happiness. The owls find joy and revel in the beauty of each season. What is the response of the barnyard animals? “What nonsense!’ and “Do you call that happiness?”  Then they return to their farmyard life, unpersuaded and unchanged. In contrast, the two owls snuggle in for winter, looking into one another’s wise owl eyes.
Hanna’s Comments: My library system has only one copy of this book, a 1964 publication. However, this classic has been reissued and can be easily purchased on-line. The price varies a lot so you may want to watch it for a while. I did not know of this classic which was initially published in Switzerland. When I saw the video in the collection mentioned below, I knew it must be one of my PBT daily offerings. What a treasure! What a beautiful message of contentment as a result of attention and gratitude, what we would call “mindfulness” today. If you like old books and styles of art, then you’ll especially like this picture book. Find a blog post about it on The Art of Children's Picture Books, which I've added to My Blog List to the right.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Artemis Verlag, 1963
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Audible, A video version is in the collection Corduroy & More Stories about Caring
Scripture Connections: This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be thankful (Psalm 118:24); let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28)
Idea(s) for Application: Reverence is a difficult but important concept to teach children in a worshiping community. Use this book to help your children understand the benefits of being mindful of God’s generosity and reverent when worshiping.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Grab & Go #14 – Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

A PBT Grab & Go book requires little planning because its content aligns obviously with theological ideas from The Bible. Bucket Filling is all about love. There are numerous resources, including other picture books, about the concept of bucket filling as a metaphor for the importance of loving attention. I've scattered a few covers of some of those resources in this repeated post from 2014. 
Picture Book: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?                                                     A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids
Author: Carol McCloud
Illustrator: David Messing
Summary: Based on the adult book How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, this picture book puts those authors’ ideas in an inviting format for children. The guiding metaphor here is that each of us has been carrying an invisible bucket since birth. The purpose of the bucket is to hold good thoughts and feelings about yourself. You need others to fill your bucket by being loving to you, and they need you to fill their bucket by being loving to them. What’s wonderful is that the act of filling someone else’s bucket fills your bucket as well. You feel good when you help others feel good. However, you might sometimes be a “bucket dipper.” Bucket dipping occurs when you take away someone’s good feelings by saying or doing mean things to them.
Hanna’s Comments:  I chose this "bucket" book because it teaches children how to fill others’ buckets and focuses on how our actions influence others’ well-being. This is an important aspect of any faith community. Another strength of this book is the way in which it teaches empathy, an important skill for personal resilience and functional community. Find an introduction by the author. For more information and resources including free downloads, visit www.bucketfillers101.com.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Ferne Press, 2006
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur videos on Youtube.com where there is also a song about being bucket fillers.
Scripture Connections: This is my commandment that you love one another (John 15:12); rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15); be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32); all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, love, a tender heart and a humble mind
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book when doing a lesson for children on your faith community’s loving interdependence and God's call to live in this way.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Oops! A 4th Book!

I didn’t realize that the children’s Bible that Marie-Helene Delval has written is in the same format as the other 3 books that I featured this month. I don’t usually feature Children’s Bibles here, but this one works for PBT because it’s so easy to use and offers a variety of material for lessons and conversations.
Picture Book: The Bible for Young Children
Author: Marie-Helene Delval
Illustrator: Gotting
Summary: This Bible offers age-appropriate language and imagery that together tell our story with God to young children. Here's how it says our story began:
The day and the night 
were all mixed together.
Then God said, 
"Light!"
Humans enter the story positively, without the Fall of Adam and Eve. 
A few key figures are highlighted, such as Jacob, but not many since there are only 40 entries. 
Some key events are included, especially if they are visually intriguing. Here the Israelites escape across The Red Sea. 
King Solomon's Temple is simply but beautifully portrayed. 
To be relateable, Jesus is shown as a child. 
Then Jesus "grows up," and meets people on his travels, blessing the sick and proclaiming the good news that all are God's "dear children." 
Sometimes when Jesus passed, he was greeted with happy pronouncements: "You are the Lord, the Son of God! You are blessed, the one who comes to bring us love and peace."  
But some people were not happy to see Jesus or hear his words. They wanted to kill him. 
The agony of the cross is shown from a distance. 
The next morning "the light of God brightened those who were sad. The love of God was stronger than death. Jesus had risen!" 
Take note that post-Easter events are not included. 
Hanna’s Comments: Like Delval's other 3 books that I’ve featured here, her children's Bible gives a small amount of text on the left and the image on the right. Each entry offers rich material for meaningful responses from young children. The simple format, means it’s more useful for grab and go situations than most children’s Bibles. There’s a simple 9 theme index in the back that can guide you quickly to the pages you want to read, but there are 40 total entries (usually several per theme). That's significantly less than most children’s Bibles. 
The highlights of our Holy Scriptures are definitely here so that you could use this resource for a series of very meaningful lessons or bedside conversations. 
Original Publisher & Date: Erdmans, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: An index in the back of this book gives you the scriptures references.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in Sunday School when you are pressed for a lesson that comes straight from the Bible.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Bees, Dragons, Deer, Hippos…

Below you'll find the last of 3 PBT books by French author Marie-Helene Delval in which she highlights in simple language key aspects of and images from The Bible. The books in my 2 previous posts were about The Psalms and Images of God. This time you have a menagerie of animals from Bible accounts and parables. 
Picture Book: Animals of the Bible for Young Children
Author: Marie-Helene Delval
Illustrator: Aurelia Fronty
Summary: Appropriately, the book begins with creation. 
Wondrous sea creatures soon follow.
Eve’s serpent, Isaac’s substitute ram, and Jonah’s whale, are here as you might expect, but even less memorable animals, like those from Isaiah's peaceable kingdom prophecies, are included too. 
Animals from Jesus' parables are here.  
And a rooster reminder of Peter's shame is not forgotten.
You'll find 40 pages of animals to consider with children.  
Hanna’s Comments: God’s wise and diverse creation is celebrated animal-style in this fun book. Like the other 2 books featured before this one, a little bit of child-appropriate text introduces each illustration. The animals are viewed with God’s purposes in mind. You might want to design a game in which the kids pantomime the animal they want you to read about. Then have them consider what message God intends this animal to give the humans who lived, heard, or read the story. 
Original Publisher & Date: Erdmans, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: An index in the back of this book gives you the scriptures references.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in your faith family and help them see how God’s scriptures abound with stories of animals and God's purposes.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Psalms for All Ages #2

As in my previous post, today I feature 1 of 3 books from French author Marie-Helene Delval. These books have been beautifully published for English speakers. Today's book offers 40 Psalms, chosen because children will especially relate to the emotions expressed.  
Picture Book: Psalms for Young Children
Author: Marie-Helene Delval
Illustrator: Arno
Summary: The Psalms are listed in order. As in Images of God for Young Children, the text is on the left and the gorgeous illustrations are on the right. Here's Psalm 1: 
When I listen to you, God, 
when I do what you ask me to,
I am like a tree
planted by a river,
a tree full of fruit
with leaves that are always green.
Here's an illustration I love with text from Psalm 8: 
People are so small
next to you, God.
You put the stars and the moon
in the sky, and the birds in the air
above the cows and horses in the fields, 
and the fist that swim in the seas.
You created all the beauty
in the world!
Complex emotions are in these pages. For Psalm 13... 
Sometimes, when I'm very sad,
I worry that you will
forget about me, God.
But then I remember that
you love me always.
So I will sing and be happy!
Direct questions and lamentations are here: For Psalm 28... 
God, can you here me calling out?
Listen to me,
I'm crying for you!
I know that you are not deaf;
I know you can hear me.
Already, in my heart,
I'm saying thank you for listening.
Here's the familiar Psalm 42 that your children will enjoy: 
A thirsty deer looks for water,
for a river to drink from.
I need God that way.
I'm thirsty inside.
God, send me your light,
show me the way to your house,
high on your mountain!
Children often struggle with fear. This version of Psalm 46 will be particularly meaningful: 
If the ground starts to shake,
if the mountains break into pieces
and fall in the ses,
if the waves grow big as giants,
I'm not scared.
God is with me.
God provides a safe place for me to hide.
Here's Delval's version of "Create in me a clean heart" from Psalm 51: 
When I do something wrong,
forgive me, God.
I want to feel like
I've just been washed in clean water.
I want to be like brand-new snow.
I feel so happy when you forgive me!
God's biggness is celebrated in Psalm 95 with praise and joy: 
Let's shout out loud
with joy to God!
Because God is a really big God.
He can hold the world
in his hands,
 the deep caves, 
the mountaintops, 
the blue seas - 
and you and me too!
This powerful image offered for Psalm 125 is a favorite.
When I trust God,
I am strong, like a city
built on top of a big,
talk mountain!
I trust God, because 
he protects me
always.
For my favorite Psalm, # 139:
God, you know me so well,
You always know what I'm thinking
and feeling. You know what I am 
going to say before I say it!
Even in the night, you can see me - 
you know my secrets,
you know my fears.
I praise you for making me
who I am. 
Hanna’s Comments: There are many ways you can use this book a few pages at a time. You could build a whole lesson out of one psalm or a few. These pages should invoke some strong feelings and verbal responses from your children so plan activities for their ideas to be expressed in writing (group or individual) or conversation (whole group or pairs). Having this book handy, offers opportunities to pull it out and read to a child individually when that child is in crisis or for a simple and easy children's sermon. Be sure to talk about the illustrations. You might want to have children imagine or draw other illustrations. If it's age-appropriate, pair these with the more traditional versions of the verses. If you believe the masculine gender of God in these texts limits God, simply use some small sticky notes to change the words as you see fit. Do emphasize that this book is a version of the Bible so that it will be viewed with reverence and approached with an open heart.
Original Publisher & Date: Erdmans, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Each page notes the psalm that has been paraphrased.
Idea(s) for Application: Read 1-3 psalms from this book to children at home or in a faith family and explore ideas about why someone would write such a psalm to God.