Monday, October 29, 2018

You get what you don't pay for at PBT!

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “You get what you paid for.” That’s not true here at PBT! I do this work out of love for God, for building God’s Kingdom, and for all who do the hard work of ministry and teaching. This website is all about freely sharing and giving, sharing about wonderful new picture books and giving you ideas of how to best use them. If you are grateful for my hard work, let me know by donating via the PayPal link to the right. Not a PayPal user? Send me a donation at 2029 Weeping Willow Lane, Birmingham, AL 35216. What's PBT worth to you?

Here’s one more share: I promised those who attended my workshop in Iowa that I would make the PowerPoint slideshow available. The contents represent months of work. You can access it via the tab above that says Other Resources by Hanna. There you'll find all sorts of goodies, including info. about PBT lessons and my passion for doing PBT workshops & presentations.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Iowa Presentation: Book #5

Below is my initial post about the last of the 5 books I talked about at my presentations in Iowa. It may be a personal favorite because it is so weird and wonderful. I hope you find ways to use it in your ministry among the many suggestions I've given you below. Here's that post:

One of the benefits of PBT is bringing high-quality secular stories to audiences of faith. Encouraging connections between that story and scripture boosts faithful responses for several reasons. Check out my Picture Books in Ministry tab for more about this. There is so much "below the surface" of these secular picture books!
Children's literature is getting better and better! Some stories are so good, you want your audience to explore them thoroughly, like the PBT book I'm featuring today. This new picture book has 2 protagonists so I encourage you to do what I call The PBT Flip-Flop, which involves finding the connections in opposite aspects of the story. I explain more in my comments below. It's so simple to do!
Picture Book: Hattie & Hudson
Author & Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
Summary: Hattie lives near a beautiful lake. She has an nature exploration ritual every morning.
On this particular morning, Hattie sings a sort of invitation song in her canoe. A huge creature, who usually stays hidden deep within the lake, is lured by Hattie’s lovely song. He decides to breach the surface, something he has not done for a very long time despite being very lonely. 
When the creature surfaces, Hattie is intrigued so she keeps singing. 
After looking in the creature’s eyes, Hattie knows there is no reason to fear. The creature even begins to harmonize with her!
However, the others on the lake soon see the creature and are terrified. The creature disappears into the waters. 
Both Hattie & the creature wonder if they'll see each other again. That evening Hattie decides to venture out and see. 
They do meet again. Hattie isn't afraid of the two eyes below the surface
or the creature's head when it emerges. She names her new friend Hudson. 
They play together all night and plan to meet again the next evening. 
The next day a meeting at The Town Hall is all about "getting rid of ...the Deadly Beast." Hattie tries to speak up, but there's no room for her voice. 
When Hattie and Hudson meet again, Hattie explains the adults' plan. Hudson surprises her with a bump of the canoe and a smile, then another bump and smile. Hattie soon understands. 
Next morning as her neighbors prepare, Hattie paddles to the center of the lake and waits for Hudson. 
 Hudson gently overturns Hattie's canoe. 
Then Hattie's acting begins. She makes sure her screams of terror are heard by the neighbors. As expected, they jump in their boats to rescue her. 
Just as they get close, Hudson to the rescue! 
The neighbors all watch in amazement as Hudson lifts Hattie above the water. 
Hudson gently swims Hattie to the pier and places her there. 
Next, Hattie holds a meeting of her own. She introduces Hudson, declares him to be safe, and assures everyone that once they get to know him, he will be their friend too. A boy approaches, and eventually others befriend Hudson. 
Once Hudson is fully integrated into the community, people from far away come to meet and play with him, the "famous friendly monster."  
But at night, it is just Hattie and Hudson growing and playing together.
Hanna’s Comments: If you are inclined create or piggyback a tune for Hattie’s song and sing it while reading. A musical friend of mine suggested trying the tune to "Do Your Ears Hang Low." Singing will enhance this story experience. The PBT Flip-Flop method is to read the story and then have 2 very different (even opposite) conversations. With this book, I encourage you to ask your audience the 2 questions below. Ask the second question only after the first has been discussed.
How is God (or Jesus) like Hattie?
How is God (or Jesus) like Hudson?
Another way you can use this book is to encourage connections to the gospel story in which Jesus heals the man born blind who then must defend Jesus to the Pharisees. Simply ask your audience to find any connections between that gospel story and the picture book. The stories don't have to be parallel. They just have to have some connections. Another Bible story to consider is Philip and the Eunuch. Notice the holy ideas that are here such as Hattie's contemplative ritual each morning. There's an aspect of worship in her ritual. Consider Hudson being lured by Hattie's song. That's like previenent grace. There's a lot of holy risk-taking and justice seeking for the stranger in this story. Talk about those! 
Original Publisher & Date: Candlewick Press, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Do not be conformed to this world... (Romans 12:2); Scriptures about the nature of God such God being viewed as a shield for all who need refuge (Psalm 18:30) Or the nature of Jesus such as when he heals the man born blind (John 9:1-34) or Philip, Jesus' disciple, welcoming a eunuch into Christianity (Acts 8:26-40); verses about welcoming the stranger such as when Jesus heals the Bent-Over Woman (Luke 13:10-16) or Jesus visiting Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) Or scriptures about wisdom or discernment when faced with a problem
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of tweens or older and ask them to find connections via The PBT Flip-Flop method as described above in my comments. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Iowa Presentation: Book #4

At the Iowa CEF conference, I shared one of my favorite picture books. I love it because it's both ridiculous and full of scripture connections! Share it with your faith family.
Picture Book: The Bear and the Piano
Author & Illustrator: David Litchfield 
Summary: This beautiful picture book involves a bear cub discovering a piano in a forest. 
He is intrigued by the sound the pressed keys make and experiments. Years later, he plays beautifully and a forest audience forms. The bear is happy and dreams of “strange and wonderful lands.”  
When a young girl and her father, hear the music and discover the artist, they lure him to the city to experience and play music . There he can perform for bigger crowds!
He is a great success, winning fame and awards. He realizes all he had hoped for in the city, but he misses the forest and his friends. 
He returns to the forest and anxiously looks for friends to tell of his success. When the piano is not where he expects, he worries that his friends have forgotten him or were hurt that he left. After encountering another bear who runs away, he follows while apologizing for leaving. Then he finds the piano. 
Behind it is an altar of sorts, with memorabilia of his musical success. The bear realizes that his earliest audience members were watching from afar and hoping for him to have success and fulfill his dreams.
Hanna’s Comments: I love this beautifully absurd book! There is so much here about the God-given desire we have to explore, create, and experience art & beauty. When you discuss this book with children or adults, don’t just focus on the bear character. Have your audience consider the perspectives of the forest audience, the daughter, and others who encourage the bear’s success in the city. Might you consider the piano similar to the burning bush? This book also relates to the homecoming of The Prodigal Son. He doesn't have to be presented as a negative character. All of us go away from our home in one way or another. Also, there's Abraham & Sarah's journey away from home and God's promise that they will be blessed to be a blessing. In a discussion with adults, end with the question, "What's your piano?"
Original Publisher & Date: Clarion, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Made in God's image (Genesis 1:27); Abraham & Sarah leave home - blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-5); Jacob leaves home and then returns unsure (Genesis 33:1-17); The Great Commandment  (Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:31); Make a joyful noise (Psalm 100:1); Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30); the homecoming of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32); As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Peter 4:10)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of elementary students or confirmands who are learning about how human artistry is the result of God’s image in us so that we may create for joy and problem solving. You can also explore the importance of a supportive community to help us realize who we are supposed to be. Adults would enjoy this book in a small group or team who is considering ways to contribute to the Kingdom of God through artistry or support of the arts. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Iowa Presentation: Book #3

This simple but profound book was a favorite at my 2 CEF conference presentations in Iowa! Check out the PowerPoint for that presentation in the "Presentations & Resources by Hanna" tab above. Here's my original post with some additional scripture connections: 

This brand-new picture book is about empowering positive responses to the anger and hatred we see in media. It will prompt meaningful faith-based conversations with children and adults about how together our small actions will make a difference. This story ends with an invitation to you!
Picture Book: Come with Me
Author: Holly M. McGhee
Illustrator: Pascal Lemaitre
Summary: A little girl is fearful while watching the stream of news. The anger and hatred that she sees - "people against people"- is troubling.
She asks her papa how she could help. His response? "Come with me." They go to the subway. 
While there, the girl notices her father tips his hat to everyone he meets so she does the same. 
As they ride the subway, they are willing to risk kindness and connection. 
These small acts help them overcome their fears and connect them to each other and the people in the world. 
The news of violence and hate doesn't end. 
The girl turns to her mama next, asking how to make the world better. 
Her mama says, "Come with me." This time the journey is to their local grocery store where they see the bounty and diversity of our world. 
The little girl realizes that a person she has seen on the screen doesn't tell her about one person or one family or one race or one people. 
Once home, the ritual of setting the table and eating a meal are grounding to her as is the company of her parents and her dog.
She becomes inspired and more confident! She asks if she can walk her dog so she can do something on her own to make the world better. 
Her parents consider this. It's risky, but they decide to let her go, another sort of message to the world - a refusal to live in fear. 
Just as the little girl exits, a neighbor asks where she is going. 
She decides two people are better than one. Like her parents, she offers an invitation, "Come with me." 
He does come and together they discover that it's good to be outside. 
They see the world is not so bad. All living things deserve their bravery, gentleness, strength, and kindness.  
They see simple ways they can respond with goodness 
and learn that even small gestures matter to the world. 
Everyone's small contributions matter too. They can even come together for more goodness.
To end the young hero speaks to the reader, "Your part matters, too. Come with me."
Hanna’s Comments: This timely story proclaims that hiding in fear and homogeneity is not going to make our divided world better. It's a clarion call to action for children that will be heard by adults who will be reminded that children watch what they do and mimic their approaches to the world. I love that these small acts are doable - goodness in simple and hopeful ways. It's reassuring to consider how simple gestures matter too. The author & illustrator offer a dedication explaining that this book was written "in honor of friendship, bravery, and the fact that we aren't powerless, no matter how small and insignificant we may feel." The scripture connections are so many! 
Original Publisher & Date: Putnam’s, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Diversity in Creation (Genesis 1:20-25); Learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless; plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17); We are the work of your hand (Isaiah 64:8); The grounding of rituals (Matthew 7:24-25); Jesus says, "Come follow me." (Matthew 4:19); Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32); Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9); Extend hospitality to strangers (Romans 12:13b); Diversity in The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:15-19); Who is wise and understanding among you? By your good conduct show works in the meekness of wisdom. (James 3:13)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to begin a conversation with your faith family about responses to anger, hatred, and violence in our world. This book would be especially great for parenting class or a small group of parents.