Friday, February 22, 2019

It's Love! - a Little Late

Sorry I got sick and couldn’t feature these books earlier in February, the month of love. I have 2 new publications that are rich with meaning but very different visually and in tone. Both offer profound ideas about God’s nature and God's greatest gift. I also give you links to other “love-ly” books here at PBT.

Picture Book: Love
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Summary: The profound question “What is love?” is the "heart" of this book. Sorry for that very bad pun! Everyday moments, sometimes unexpected, are highlighted. There's lots of fun and diversity in character and deed, but the context is consistent - families and friends loving on each other!  
Loving spiritual practices and loving situations abound such as gifts of hospitality, generosity, and that most precious gift - presence. 
Hanna’s Comments: If your country celebrates St. Valentine's Day, this is a perfect book for that occasion, but it's applicable all year long! I adore the illustrator’s choices here! Check out the cover. Within these pages you have lots of examples of how we communicate love including the American Sign Language sign and other simple signals with our body. I used all these gestures for a preschool lesson about 1 Corinthians 13. This author’s fun book Excellent Ed was featured at PBT [here]. And [here's] another favorite book all about how our bodies (hands this time) show love. 
Original Publisher & Date: Running Press Kids, 2018
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet 
Scripture Connections: God is love. (1 John 4:8b); The Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13); Let all you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14); Above all these, put on love… (Colossians 3:14)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of young children, and practice all the ways in these pages love can be communicated with your body. Then create some new ways.  

Picture Book: My Heart
Author & Illustrator: Corinna Luyken
Summary: This author/illustrator urges us to let our hearts be our guides and listen to the loving voice within us. Sounds like The Holy Spirit to me! There’s a lot of abstract metaphorical language, but don’t let that keep you from sharing this with younger audiences. Sometimes they get such messages when we adults are stuck in the concrete.

Hanna’s Comments: You’ll want to play with these metaphors yourself before you read this book to an audience. What does it mean to say “My heart is a slide, a fence, or a stain? 
I used to collect hearts. There's no red in these pages! What Luyken does with that simple design and the colors yellow and black is amazing! Be sure to have your folks find the hidden hearts in these pages. Spend time with each image’s meaning. Does it remind them of a personal experience or a possibility or hope? Can they make up or dramatize a simple story inspired by an illustration? So much potential here! Keep connecting to scripture and you have a fabulous Sunday school or Bible Study experience. [Here's] another book about loving the world, but it's so very different looking. Kids might like experiencing both and then using all the images to compare, contrast, and create. If you're a preacher, this book could serve as rich visual stimuli for a profound sermon on what it means to love. 
Original Publisher & Date: Dial, 2019
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Create in me a clean heart O God… (Psalm 51:10); Keep your heart with all vigilance… (Proverbs 4:23); I will give you a new heart and a new spirit…I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh (Ezekiel 36:26); Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children or adults who need some reminders about how to love one another better. This book would also be a beautiful reading for spiritual direction or other bibliotherapy contexts, particularly if someone is struggling with important relationships. For more on that, check out [this post]. 

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