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); 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.



  1. Yes yes yes! So glad you are back! Just visited the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art...never felt more in love with the genre. Pocture books were such a big part of our Pandemic survival. Have always been so inspired by PBT. Please be patient as readers find their way back.

    1. Thank you! This means so much to me! I so hope to go to that museum when I visit the area in the fall of 2022! A tribute to Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert is my next post since they died recently.

  2. Wonderful❤️❤️❤️

  3. Wonderful❤️❤️❤️

  4. I'm extremely excited to see you posting again! Your work is so meaningful personally as well as professionally as a librarian in a private religious library and when I teach Children's Literature.

  5. I'm so glad you have found it meaningful and helpful! Thanks for letting me know! I hope you can watch the Facebook Live interview Monday night or here when I post it afterwards. I will be mentioning lots of new books not yet on PBT.