Friday, January 11, 2019

4 Snow Books

It’s a tricky matter to feature books about snow, but such stories are often fun and illustrations are usually striking. Thus is the case for the 4 books featured below. You may not be experiencing snow or even the winter season right now, but it was time for me to spend a little time connecting the joys of snow to faith. Have these books in your wheelhouse for when the flakes fall or when it’s hot outside and thoughts of snow would be particularly refreshing to your faith family. The first book is the story of a child's prayer. The next two books share the title Snow, with one being about patience and the other about snow's variety, beauty, and fun. The last book is about perseverance. All are full of sacred themes. But first, [here's] a PBT post about a "snowy" book that you all know already. 

Picture Book: Before Morning
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Summary: Upon arriving home, a young girl realizes her airline pilot mom will be leaving soon. She is not happy about this. As she prepares for sleep, she offers an invocation, a prayer of sorts, for a snow day to keep her family together. She gets her wish and love abounds! The joys of a snow day are abundant.
Hanna’s Comments: The text in this book doesn’t occur for several pages so this is a quiet book that demands attention to the illustrations. Be sure to offer it in small groups and explain the illustrations when they are hard to follow. The time and effort are worth it for this gorgeous book is all about familial love and a desire to be present. This would be a great choice for a conversation in your faith family about prayers of petition that are purely selfish. Does God mind them when they are motivated purely by love? Then spend some time talking about the joy of snow days and how they are blessings for some and hardships for others.
Original Publisher & Date: HMH, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: The psalms are full of petitionary prayers. Some are less selfish than others. 
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children or adults and embark on a discussion about the appropriateness of prayers founded on selfish desires. 

Picture Book: Snow
Author & Illustrator: Sam Usher
Summary: Sam awakes to a blanket of snow, but he must wait for his grandfather to step outside. Eager to be the first to make footprints, he's stands at the door calling for Granddad, but Granddad is slow. Then Sam watches as another child has that privilege. He keeps waiting and waiting, watching more folks and creatures (some ridiculous - the result of Sam’s imagination) walk about having glorious fun. After an agonizing wait, the two step out and join the fun. 
Hanna’s Comments: This book is part of a series called Seasons with Granddad. Other titles are Sun, Rain, and Storm. This would be a perfect book to share with children in a church family that wants to increase and improve  multi-generational interaction. Let it be a catalyst for a discussion about The Fruits of the Spirit (particularly patience, joy, and love) and how these might be needed on both sides of the age spectrum. Recognizing and exploring differences are the best way to eventually celebrate them and reap the benefits of all being respected and affirmed for their part of The Body of Christ.
Original Publisher & Date: Templar, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: The Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children and talk realistically about how patience is required when interacting with people who are elderly. Then spend time talking about the gifts the older generations have given your church. Have some important stories to share about individuals your children know.

Picture Book: Snow
Author: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator: Lauren Stringer
Summary: In this beautiful book of rhythmic prose, this prize-winning writer evokes all sorts of feelings from a variety of snow experiences thanks to a young girl who greets snow like a friend. She tells us that snow is best enjoyed WITH a friend too. Snow gives us permission to be happy! Delicate snow is lightly described, but sometimes snow is a heavy burden. This entire book is a child’s wisdom (they do experience snow better than us adults!) to savor snow and the experiences it offers for “nothing lasts forever except memories.”
Hanna’s Comments: Anytime you earnestly consider the beauty and treasure of one of God’s gifts in nature, you are engaged in contemplative prayer. This is certainly something children do already so label it as a spiritual practice and encourage more of it. Because this book is full of gratitude, you could read it in a lesson on the spiritual practice of gratitude. Share some scientific findings about how this orientation inclines us toward health and joy. Then encourage a gratitude journal. [Here] at PBT, I featured Cynthia Rylant and mentioned a few of her many books. She is a treasure that I am grateful for!
Original Publisher & Date: Harcourt, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: In the perfection of beauty, God shines forth (Psalm 50:2); To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1); God has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11); How great is God’s goodness and how great is God’s beauty! (Zachariah 9:17)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are learning about how to pray contemplatively or who are writing gratitude journals.  

Picture Book: Blizzard
Author & Illustrator: John Rocco
Summary: The author shares a story from his Rhode Island childhood about the blizzard of 1978. From the first flakes to the first snowplow many days later, Rocco’s family rises to the challenges of the deep snow. On day 6, their food has run out. Hot cocoa made from water has its limits. John is the lightest (and he’s the only one who has read a survival guide), so he sets out on top of the deep snow trudging toward the neighborhood store. Comically, he meets and helps neighbors along the way while taking their requests from the store. Finally, he arrives at the store and piles the supplies onto his sled. Racing against the sun, he delivers the requests to his grateful neighbors and returns home with groceries – a hero to all.
Hanna’s Comments: The themes of this fun story are hard work, kindness, perseverance, and being oriented to the needs of the community as a whole. Kids become heroes with such biblical values and such stories help them see the connections between real life and scripture, faith and action, love and work, service and joy.
Original Publisher & Date: Hyperion, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Scriptures about heroes such as Young David in 1 Samuel 17 and the boy who shares his lunch in John 6.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children and talk about attributes of heroes and what motivates them to do good.

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