Saturday, September 21, 2019

PBT Discernment... What works for you?

Thanks for your patience while waiting for the next PBT post. Family circumstances and technical difficulties have kept me from posting. Now that I’ve been away, I’ve decided to take some time to discern the direction of PBT.
I’m interested in your feedback. 
Consider how PBT helps you and how it’s lacking. Then comment below. 
Would you prefer shorter posts, short podcasts, or both? 
Which books...Theme-based? 
I've been focused on secular books that you can’t easily find 
and God books about the nature of God. Does that still meet your needs? 
Do you like book lists or 1 book at a time? 
Children’s literature is getting better and better! Are you mostly interested in the best picture books coming out now
or classics that you might be forgetting?
Do you like my comments where I give you ideas for using the books or is this not a good use of my time?
All suggestions are welcome.
Remember you can access the 800 or so books here at PBT using the search box in the top right corner or using the large number of search labels at the bottom of your screen. All are connected to scriptures somehow. If you’re on your phone, you’ll have to click on “view the web version.” That option will show up at the end of a post. 
I want you to be pleased with my work because it helps your ministries and helps ALL your families serve God better. 
Please make a comment so that I know how to invest my time, continue to use PBT, tell others about it, and check back to see what direction I've decided to take. Grace and peace, Hanna


  1. I am new to your blog, but have appreciate every blog as they have come, and also being able to research topics with your excellent labels. Personally, I see please do not change a thing, and PLEASE keep posting! With appreciation from Romania.

    1. How wonderful to hear from you and to be affirmed in my work! Thank you! I know it reaches across the globe in ways that I can not even imagine so I am especially glad to hear from you. So glad you are using the labels; they are the keys to accessing the right books at the right time. I'm sure the posts will continue in some form. Blessings! h

  2. I use this fantastic resource in two settings! First in my work as a Library Director for my area conference of Mennonite Church USA. I frequently help patrons find books for children's time in worship as well as resources for parents to teach/talk about faith concepts. (I also direct church library committees to check here when they are looking to add to their children's collection). Secondly, I use your blog in my Children's Literature Course at the local college where I'm an adjunct.

    To answer your questions, I am more likely to access written posts than podcasts. I find your comments about possible uses of the book one of the most helpful features!! Also getting to see multiple pages from the inside in order to see visually whether I like the book is helpful. Finally, for my uses, the newer book posts are some of the ones I've been most excited about--but I love them all! Book lists are great sometimes, but the in depth posts on a single book are not to be missed. :) Thank you so very very much for this ministry! It is truly making a difference!

  3. Wow, Jen! Thanks! This kind of specific feedback is exactly what I wanted. And thank you for telling your students about PBT! It sounds as if you, like me, easily see the many benefits of good children's literature on spiritual development. I read just yesterday that experts believe children develop an image of God by age 5 with or without religious instruction. Encouraging rich and positive images of God are what PBT and your work are all about! h

  4. Tammy Johnson Felder9/25/2019

    Hanna, I love your blog!! I use it all the time so when I saw you were discerning, I thought I'd weigh in on the discussion. I love children's literature so I appreciate the way you take secular books and pull out themes for us and provide ideas for teaching. I lead chapel for preschoolers once a week. Not all of the children have home churches or access to religious settings so we keep it light, but I love the moral character lessons that often overlap with biblical truths we teach. To answer your question, I love the posts vs. the podcast. I like the search tool, especially when I can put in a scripture reference or a theme word. I love theme based suggestions. We can take those many different directions. I see that you reference books that are not easily found. I use the public library and amazon to find books so it is helpful for me if they are books that are currently in print or fairly new. I also love learning about new books that come out and how to use those in my setting. Plus, I love adding new books to my personal library of children's books. I like the lists of books but I also like when you dive deep into one. The list is helpful so that we have a variety of books to choose from. The recommendation of how to use the books are super helpful. I have been teaching in children's ministry for a long time and I still find the notes helpful, but I think they would be invaluable to newer teachers or volunteers looking for connection points. Thank you so much for the work you do. I love just getting on this page. I get so many ideas and I appreciate the effort you put in. Thank you so very much.

    1. Tammy, your words made me feel a little goose-pimply! I'm so glad read that PBT is so helpful to you. I think our little preschoolers soak in so much of what we say about God (rich food) and too often they get shallow candy and busy work. Bless you for your work and thank you so much for your specific affirmations. They are very helpful as I discern what God is calling me to do at this time in my life. Pray for me, please. H

    2. I am most certainly praying for you!!

    3. How nice! I am very grateful for any prayers offered regarding my discernment for the future direction of PBT. I want this website to serve Christ's church as well as possible. Thank you! h

  5. Hello! THANK YOU for this amazing ministry. I have been teaching second grade in a Catholic school for many years. Last year, I left my beloved classroom to become a "traveling teacher" within our very large school (over 1000 students, K-8.) I am teaching Theology of the Body to every student in grades K-5, using children's literature as the primary vehicle to bring TOB to my students. Your ministry has been invaluable!! I LOVE the way you have set this up... I can search by virtue, or topic, or simply browse your rich list of literature. I am pursuing my Master's Degree in Theology, and the focus of my thesis involves children's literature. I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done and continue to do to bring images and words to life in the light of God's love and presence. Your ministry has done so much good for me, but more importantly, hundreds of students. Please continue to bless the world with your work. I am praying for you and your intentions.

  6. Thank you, Barb! I am so glad to receive your feedback and affirmation, especially the specifics! I was a middle school reading teacher for 5 years. I am so glad you are using picture books with older students. At summer camp as a teen with little exposure to books in my background, I learned to love picture books (Whobody There? and The Giving Tree in particular) I hoped that by now I would have a clearer vision for this blog, but alas that vision is still muddy. I will continue to wait and listen. Meanwhile, my family, church, and PBT lesson writing are taking priority. Thanks so much for recommending this blog to parents! Have a great 2020!

  7. Lisa Jo5/25/2020

    I have been using Storypath for many years and I'm sad to see they won't be posting any new content but they suggested you. Since you are discerning, I wanted to provide a different perspective than I've seen in the other comments. I have been doing chapel with our childcare center and afterschool program as well as Sunday school and supplying books for our prayground. Storypath was invaluable to me because I don't have the normal entry points to children's and youth books (no kids, no early childhood degree, etc.)
    So here's what I find important:
    1. Scripture or lectionary index. Theme helps but only in broad strokes. I may think of a different term for the theme than you.
    2. I like more secular connections because I often find the Christian ones too preachy. Plus, I tend to find more secular ones at our public library.
    3. I love using multicultural books! We have a diverse community so it's nice to have that reflected in storytime.
    4. A mix of classic and new books is wonderful. References in the classics may not make sense to the kids. Newer books tend to have more diversity.
    5. A broad age range is helpful. We split our chapels by age range as dictated by the state. I always have a book for our 4-5s, sometimes for the 2-3s but it's a special treat for the 1s. We also use in Sunday school (K-5) and with the afterschoolers. Our prayground has middleschoolers picking up books to read during the service.

    1. Hi Lisa Jo! Thanks so much for this detailed comment. It is a perfect example of the kind of feedback I hoped for: specific and with reference to some of my questions above. I'm glad to hear that Storypath suggested me. I too am sad that they won't be posting new content. I didn't realize that. They have done great work! I use their website regularly for the lectionary-based preschool curriculum that I'm writing. That work and important family responsibilities are the reasons why I'll not be posting new material for a little while longer, but when I do it will be linked to scripture as usual, and I hoped linked to The Revised Common Lectionary for I will have so much of that work already done. It sounds like our theology (I too don't like preachy), inclinations (diversity is a very important issue for me and my church), and backgrounds (I'm a layperson) may be similar. I'm glad to suggest books to you individually if you'd like to message me on Facebook or contact me via the box at the top left. Just allow me time to do some digging. I love a challenge when it comes to picture books! I have a slew of suggestions for scripture connections, but I won't be able to create new PBT posts until Fall. That's when I will have finished writing this curriculum. I hope to start selling Year A of Trinity Treasures soon after. It sounds like wonderful things are happening at your church! I love the idea of a "prayground" and I'm so glad you have middle-schoolers engaged in literature. Also, I completely understand your comments about the classics versus new literature. Please be in touch. I'd like to help and would love to hear more of your work and your needs, especially during the challenges of COVID 19. Be safe and well. Hanna

  8. I teach at a Christian school and I've been doing #classroombookaday for 4 years. I was thrilled to find your blog. Each day we read a picture book and I have my Grade 5 students come up with any Christian connections with the book. It has been amazing--they are sooooo good at it after we go through it for the first few weeks. I can't believe you basically do the exact same thing. I was wondering if you have continued this type of work on a different forum? Or is 2019 the last year you blogged? --Sonja

    1. Great to hear from you! I keep hoping to get back to posting here. My work on a lectionary-based preschool curriculum (recommended picture books included of course!) and family responsibilities continues to make this difficult, but I have not given up hope. Keep checking in and using the info. here. Picture books continue to get better and better. There are so many I want to write about. Be sure to check out my PBT series by searching these key words: Grab and Go, God Books, 5 questions, Fruits of the Spirit, etc. Don’t hesitate to email me or comment! I love questions and favorable comments! I’m so glad to hear of your like-minded work with your 5th graders. I taught 5th grade for 5 years in public school. I have written many elementary Sunday school lessons based on picture books. I used to sell those lessons, but got few takers. Let me know if you are interested. I am a teacher at heart! Thank you! Hanna