Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Check out this video about PBT!

Interview of Hanna Schock

Click on the link above to see me discussing PBT at the 1st anniversary celebration of Faith. Family. Career with my friend and the group's creator Kanessa Miller Doss. My interview begins about 11 minutes in and lasts about a half hour. 

Below are the details of what I shared about PBT.


The Giving Tree by Silverstein

The Amida Tree by Ferrante (inspired by The Giving Tree)

Old Turtle by Wood & Chee (3 book series)

Note: These 3 books are featured here. Others below will be featured in the future.


Infants/Toddlers: No Matter What by Dodd (many in this series)

Preschoolers: My Friend is Sad by Willems (Elephant & Piggie series)

Elementary-Aged: Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Hische

Tweens: I Am One: A Book of Action by Verde & Reynolds 

Teens: For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World 

                    by Waters & Morris

Adults: Is That Story True? by Alary & Kyle

FAVORITE AUTHORS: Use the search engine (upper right) to search by name. Those in bold are illustrators as well.                                                                                 

Amy Kraus Rosenthal        Marie-Helene Delval                          

Kadir Nelson                      Amy June Bates

Emma Dodd                       Matthew Paul Turner

Tim Ladwig                         Glenys Nellist

Mo Willems                        Laura Alary

Tim Ladwig                         Jacqueline Woodson

Todd Parr                            Karma Wilson                                                              

Barbara Kerley (National Geographic photos)           

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (excellent children’s Bible too)





In the search engine (upper right), type in “PBT Questions” for more info. and examples.

1.      Is God, Jesus, or The Holy Spirit in the story?           

            i.e., The Rabbit Listened by Doerrfeld

2.       Is there a sacred theme to the story? 

            i.e., Maybe Something Beautiful by Campoy, Howell, and Lopez 

3.    Does the story remind you of a scripture story, character, or verse?           

i.e., Little Elephant by Hoban & Ford 

4.      Does the story contain or encourage a spiritual practice?

i.e., Wonder Walkers by Archer         

5.       How might hearing this story positively affect behavior? 

i.e., Exclamation Mark by Rosenthal & Lichtenheld

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Wonder Walking


Picture Book: Wonder Walkers

Author & Illustrator: Micha Archer

Summary: Two siblings decide to go on a wonder walk. They ask clever and imaginative questions about the beauty and mystery of the natural world. They look at the world in a new way, leaning into what they know. Here are a few examples: 

    Do caves have mouths?

    Are rivers the earth's veins?

    Is the wind the world breathing? 

Hanna’s Comments: Here is a great opportunity to tap into their natural tendency to wonder about God and God’s creation. Doing this encourages faith development, normalizes questions, and accepts exploration of godly possibilities. Wonder questions are an excellent tool for when your children are having a hard time settling down. Show the book cover or an early illustration and ask simple questions such as who, what, or how many they see. Once hooked, engage them in wondering what or who the story is about or where God might be in the book. Within the pages, ask what they see that is beautiful, surprising, or scary. Be sure to listen. Such time together is priceless.

Original Publisher & Date: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021

Age Appropriateness: Age 3 and up

Formats other than Book: Tablet

Scripture Connections: Any scripture that celebrates the mystery and beauty of God’s creation such as Song of Solomon 2:8-15; the creation story (Genesis 1); Land and skies reveal God’s glory (Psalm 19:1); I love your house and the place where your glory abides. (Psalm 26:8)

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: In my Trinity Treasures curriculum, I recommend this book for 4 lessons using the scriptures listed above. (Trinity Sunday in Year A) theme: God Creates, (3 different Sundays after Pentecost in Year B) themes: God’s Place, Land & Skies, Nature’s Goodness.

PBT Applications: Have fun with language after reading this book. Talk about the Hebrew word for breath and spirit being the same word. Have them recall the words about human bodies (mouth, veins, etc.). See if they can come up with similar questions when you have them close their eyes and go on a imagined nature walk together if an actual experience is not plausible. Fill the lesson with gratitude for favorite aspects of creation. Have them yell, "Praise God for trees!" OR "Thank you, God, for beach waves!" This book taps into the new movement in theology called Creation Care, an exploration of what it means to have “dominion” over the animals of the earth (Genesis 1:26). I once heard “dominion” translated by a biblical scholar as “having mastery.” Mastery begins with love, vision, and wonder. In the light of climate change, environmental justice concerns, and our desires to be stewards rather than abusers of Earth, there are many applications to what your children know already. They are naturally curious and play outside more than adults. Encourage your kiddos to explore with their feet and their minds, asking wonder questions about the creation God has given us all. 

If you are interested in learning about Trinity Treasures, a scripture-based preschool Sunday school curriculum that features picture books & children’s Bibles, contact me at hannaschock@bellsouth.net. Right now, free lessons are emailed if you fill out the monthly feedback form.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Goodbye to 2 Giants in Picture Books

Recently, I was sorry to learn of the deaths of 2 beloved picture book author/illustrators. They died within a couple of days of each other: Eric Carle (see some of his books above)

and Lois Ehlert (see some of her books above)

Their books have been part of PBT since the beginning (2014). Check out the PBT links at the end of this post to 8 or so treasured books and their applications!

What was striking to me was the similarity of their work. Both artists were innovative in how they structured some of their books, inserting mechanisms (Carle), using foldouts and cutouts (Ehlert). Both used bold collage and both celebrated nature: Carle’s characters were mostly from the animal kingdom. Ehlert’s books were about plants, animals, and humans. Both wrote simply and empathically to young children, but their books were full of loving wisdom that could be meaningful at any age.

One of my bucket list items is to go to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I hope some of you will check it out when you are in or near Amhurst, MA, USA. Here’s the website: https://www.carlemuseum.org/If you have been already, tell us about it via a comment below.

Before you click on the PBT links below, here is 1 more from each author.

Picture Book: The Very Clumsy Click Beetle

Author & Illustrator: Eric Carle

Summary: A young and inexperienced click beetle jumps from a tree and lands on his back, legs up. Fortunately, wise old click beetle comes along and begins teaching the young bug how to “click and flip through the air and land on your feet.” Young click beetle is not successful at first, but patient teaching continues. Meanwhile, other creatures pass by and encourage the trials. When a human boy approaches, the little click beetle is so afraid that he is finally and dramatically successful! The wise old click beetle watches and affirms.   

Hanna’s Comments: This is a great story about growing up and learning to do new and hard things. Such stories are what children live continually so they will relate! The young beetle’s struggles easily connect to the inconsistent growth of spiritual formation. For a child that might translate to relying on God while afraid or becoming more disciplined in faith habits. An obvious connection to the Bible for me was how Jesus consistently taught the disciples, despite their not seeming to get his teachings until after the resurrection. Another connection is the mentor/mentee relationship of Elijah and Elisha: 2 biblical heroes that children need to know, especially children who share their names.

Original Publisher & Date: Philomel Books, 1999

Age Appropriateness: Preschool & up

Formats other than Book: Audio

Note: Some books come with a mechanism that makes a clicking sound.

Scripture Connections: Elijah mentors Elisha (2nd Kings); any scripture in which Jesus is teaching his disciples (i.e. Mark 9:14-29)

PBT Applications: Teach connections to this book by having your children learn and do a novel but doable activity, like playing with Tidily Winks, shooting marbles, or going through a challenging obstacle course. Then talk about the importance of striving through difficult lessons.

Picture Book: Hands: Growing Up to Be an Artist

Author & Illustrator: Lois Ehlert

Summary: From the point of view of a child with artistic parents, this book is visually striking. Carpentry (father), various handiworks (mother), and gardening (whole family) are covered here in some nice detail. The illustrations include tools and results of difficult work. The parents include the child in their work. “Extra hands” are needed, they say. They even create a work space for the child so that the child recognizes the importance of work for busy hands.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a fabulous book that few people know! One aspect of this story that I really like is the mystery of the child’s gender. That means all of your children will be able to relate without stereotypical gender boundaries. The range of work for hands is a nice plus and the structure is so colorful and unusual. There are lots of unusual cutouts!

Original Publisher & Date: Harcourt, 1997

Age Appropriateness: Preschool & up

Formats other than Book: none

Scripture Connections: Any scriptures about work, art, tender touching, or busy hands during worship (in praise or via music); For we are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works... (Ephesian 2:10)

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: In my Trinity Treasures curriculum, I recommend this book for a lesson based on the Ephesians scripture above (RCL: Year B, Lent 4). The theme of the lesson is Created for Good Work.

PBT Applications: There are many ways to talk about hands in a religious  context. Hands love in many ways. They do good work, give comfort, show tenderness, and are part of The Body of Christ. All are important life applications for a child of faith. 

Links to other Eric Carle’s PBT Books:

The Tiny Seed

Panda Bear, Panda Bear: What Do You See? and 1 more

A House for Hermit Crab

The Very Lonely Firefly

Links to other Lois Ehlert’s PBT Books:

Planting a Rainbow

Waiting for Wings

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf 

Rain Fish and Leaf Man

Sunday, June 13, 2021

PBT Interview! Here's the Link

If you can join my live interview about Picture Book Theology, I hope you will. It's tomorrow night (Monday, 6/14/2021) at 6:30 CST. Here is the link:

If you are unable to join us, I will post the recorded interview here as soon as it is available to me.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Upcoming Interview about PBT!


This interview is Monday night (6/14/2021), 6:30 CST). Faith.Family.Career is a fabulous Facebook community! Kanessa is a fellow school psychologist who is passionate about exploring & balancing our faith journeys, careers, and family responsibilities. Join us live or check out the video here later in the "Other Resources by Hanna" tab above. I’ll be talking about new books that I’ve discovered during my break from posting here at PBT!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

I’m Back! New PBT Posts Ahead!

Sometimes life gets in the way of doing the work you love! Thank you for your patience, feedback, and encouragement of me while I’ve taken a long break here at PBT. I assure you, my PBT work has not stopped! More about that later. 

I have made so many fabulous discoveries of picture books and their potential for use in churches, classrooms, and homes! You will love what’s coming! 

Today’s feature book comes from a great pair, a well-known children’s author and a popular children’s illustrator. Because this book is broad in scope, it has much potential for meaningful theological conversations for children, teens, and adults! 

Picture Book: Life

Author: Cynthia Rylant

Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel

Summary: All about love and change throughout life, this book is a celebration of God’s plan for us to grow, adapt, and learn. Rylant & Wenzel emphasize that “life begins small, even for the elephants. Then it grows.” They explore how life gets bigger and more complex. Throughout, animal companions in beautiful spaces teach. We are encouraged to “ask any animal on Earth, what do you love about life?” Animals respond with an answer that reflects their life journeys. For all, struggles are inevitable, but they lead to new paths. Every place is for loving, gratitude, protection, and connection. If you ever doubt the beauty and meaning of life, look to nature to steer you back home.

Hanna’s Comments: The pandemic has required us to change and adapt. Change is inevitable in all of life, even in viruses! This is God’s loving design, far beyond our comprehension, but we are learning! Such learning and growing deserves theological attention and conversation. Conversations about growth can be broad as in the subject of spiritual transformation or more specific as with learning to say no to people or temptations. As I have struggled through the pandemic, I have thought of Jacob wrestling with an angel in Genesis 32. The angel renames him Israel because he has struggled with God and with humans. This year I discovered in a Judaism course that Israel is a name for us all, for we all struggle! Life is a struggle, but it is full of blessings. We inhabitants of Earth are in these struggles and blessings together! Thank God!

Original Publisher & Date: Beach Lane Books, 2017

Age Appropriateness: Preschool & up

Formats other than Book: Tablet & Audio

Scripture Connections: Any scripture in which a character experiences great change such as conversion experiences or coming home, also scriptures about lessons brought forth by nature, Jacob wrestles with an angel (Genesis 32); ...do not be discouraged for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9); See I am doing a new thing... (Isaiah 43:19); For I know the plans I have for you... (Jeremiah 29:11); …all things work together for good (Romans 8:28); consider it pure joy when you face trials... (James1:2)

PBT Applications: Read this book to a group of any age and guide them to consider how life changes, we struggle, we grown, and we lean into natural experiences or God’s promises, God’s presence, God’s ways, or the hope we have in God.