Friday, March 1, 2019

Favorite Posts #8 - Books for Lent & Easter

As we approach Lent and Easter, I thought seeing this post would be particularly helpful. In my next post, I’ll add to these lists of PBT books, giving you links to more PBT books about Lent and Easter that I’ve featured more recently. 
For those of us who are liturgical Christians, Ash Wednesday is upon us. This solemn day begins the season of Lent, a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) that symbolically represents Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness. This season guides us through Holy Week in preparation for Easter. 
At PBT, I’ve offered many picture books that you might want to choose to read during this season to help children connect in new ways to the concepts we consider and the events we remember during Lent and Easter. I’ve listed them below with a guiding connection that will help you tie the Biblical concepts/stories to the content of the picture book. 
These books are not meant to be perfect reflections of the Biblical concepts/stories. Instead they are offered as tools to encourage conversation, exploration, and application. For each, enjoy the secular story then let it lead you to more meaningful consideration of theological or spiritual possibilities. I’ve listed the book titles which serve as links to the PBT post. Books for the youngest audiences are listed first.
Lent (in general)
Lent is a time for remembering that Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness for 40 days and found clarity and strength to resist temptation. Therefore, during Lent we focus on intentional prayer, fasting, and service. Fasting is viewed generally as refraining from something (not just food) that distracts you from God. With a sense of repentance (returning to God), we re-focus our lives to be more like Jesus.
Make connections with these stories and the concept of refraining from distractions or temptations in order to live more generously, like Jesus:
Strega Nona                                             
A Chair for My Mother                          
Extra Yarn                                                
My Mouth is a Volcano                         

These are great books about prayer:
Does God Hear My Prayer?                 

Ash Wednesday
In an Ash Wednesday worship service, the sign of the cross is made with ashes in order to recognize our mortality so that we may humbly begin Lent committed to make changes and determined to be more like Jesus.

These stories connect well with the concept of humility:
Bear Has a Story to Tell                        
The Three Questions                               
Those Shoes                                              

Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a celebration of the hope that Jesus brings and an offering of the praise that he deserves. Here I’m offering books about both of these concepts: hope and praise.
Tie these concepts to the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
    About Hope:
Hope is an Open Heart                          
If You Want to See a Whale                  
And Then It’s Spring                              
A Child’s Garden                                     
We Shall Overcome                                
Hope Springs                                           
About Praise:
I Will Rejoice                                            
Let’s Make a Joyful Noise                   
All God’s Critters                                     
The Hallelujah Flight                             

Jesus’s Anger at the Money Changers
Children need clarification when it comes to how to deal with their anger. When Jesus sees the money changers whose greed is spoiling the purposes of the Temple, he gets violently angry.
Here’s the best story I know for children about anger:
When Sophie Gets Angry…                     

The Upper Room (Maundy Thursday)
The story of Jesus in the Upper Room with his disciples is a foundational story in the Christian faith. You have the first communion (the elements and a call to remember) and Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (a call to service).
Delve into the components of the Upper Room story with these books: 
Hands Say Love                                        
Bread Comes to Life                                 
The Memory String                                  
Washing the Willow Loon                       

The Garden of Gethsemane
The focus on this event is usually Jesus’ prayer, but here I offer a book about what Jesus’ disciples did not do for him in the garden.
This is the best book I know about being with friends when they are suffering and doing what they need you to do:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee                   

Peter Denies Knowing Jesus
This story is about Peter’s deceit and shame.
Here I offer a delightful picture book about being shamed and lying about who you are:

Connect these picture books with the story of Jesus on the cross.
These books are either about the concepts of sacrifice, giving, forgiveness or death:
One Winter’s Day                                      
The Friend                                                   
Stone Soup                                                   
Badger’s Parting Gifts                              
The Grudge Keeper                                    
Our Tree Named Steve                              
The Goodbye Boat                                      
The Giving Tree                                          

The pivotal event of the Christian faith is a celebration of joy, beauty, and possibility.
These wonderful feelings can easily be connected to these picture books:
AnnaHibiscus Song                                  
MorningHas Broken                                
WinterMoon Song                                     
Waitingfor Wings                                      
Whata Wonderful World                         

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