Saturday, October 29, 2022

Another Nora's Ark!

I started PBT Easter morning of 2014. That first year, I posted a book everyday! Since that year, I've posted less often, but you'll find 900 or so books here connected to scripture with ideas for using them in ministry, church-based schools, family devotions, and even spiritual direction. 

That first year, I featured a book called Nora's Ark. It was a play on the plot of Noah's story in Genesis. That humorous book, based on a true story, featured a hospitable and compassionate elderly woman who opened her home to neighbors during a flood. Find that post HERE .  

Today's book with the same title is about a preschool girl who pretends to be Noah in her unique and playful ways. Young children will enjoy this newer book! Nora knows the Bible story well and is enjoying being a problem solver and a caretaker to her friends, both animal and human.

At the end of this post, I'll give you a link to another Noah's Ark inspired PBT book. That one has a science fiction slant and has much more text so it's best for tweens and older. Below I'll also mention my strategies when dealing with the Bible story of Noah, which for some children and families may be quite troubling.

Picture Book: Nora’s Ark

Author: Eileen Spinelli

Illustrator: Nora Hilb

Summary: After a prediction of rain, little Nora is inspired by Noah. She builds an ark for herself, her animal toys, a few live animals that happened to be near, her little brother Frankie, and her friends who eventually wander away. Throughout the text it says Nora is being "Just like Noah. Well... not just like Noah." Then you turn the page and discover that little Nora has taken a lot of creative license with the Bible story! The illustrations are great fun so allow ways for your audience to get in close.

Hanna’s Comments: In this beautiful book, I especially love the way Nora is imaginatively exploring this Bible story that she knows quite well and has taken to heart! Isn't that what we are all supposed to do with our sacred scriptures? Think of this book as a preschoolers playful lectio divina! 

Anytime we allow for creative play in children, we are affirming not only healthy joy but also the gifts of creativity and problem solving that God "imaged" in all humans. In Genesis 1:27, where it says that God made us humans in God's own image, I believe it is God's own loving creativity that is God's greatest gift to humans. Allowing time for creative play gives time for children to experiment with story, perspective (building loving empathy!), social-emotional skills, consequences, and even STEM concepts. 

Little Nora builds in ways that are testing her environment and her caretaking inclinations. For this book and the book linked below, you have children engaging in critical thinking with joy and beautiful consequences. 

An easy lesson would be to present the scripture in Genesis. Then read 1 or more of the other books. You might do a whole month of Noah's Ark lessons! Allow the children to find the connections across and between the books and the scripture. Help them see beyond the plot details (especially the troubling ones) to themes like faithfulness, hospitality, generosity, and cleverness. All of these are present in the biblical text and in the picture books. Then allow them to have their own creative responses to this important story. 

Present the story as non-violently as is age-appropriate. If, like me, you view this as a mythic story that is shared by cultures across our globe, present it as such. If your perspective is the story happened as written, be ready to address the questions of violence and suffering that may come from your audience.

Original Publisher: Zonderkidz, 2013

Age Appropriateness: 2 and up

Formats other than Book: Audio book

Scripture Connections: Made in God's image (Genesis 1:27); Noah's Ark (Genesis 6-9) 

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: This book has been added to my Trinity Treasures preschool curriculum for 2 lessons - a Pentecost lesson in Year A (theme Noah's Ark) and a Lent lesson in Year B (theme: God's Rainbow Promise).

PBT Applications: Read this book to a group of preschoolers after you tell them the story of Noah. Then ask them to make an ark for everyone in the room to enjoy! Talk about what makes them feel safe and ask how God helps them feel safe.

Violence in Noah's Story: I manage this troubling story by dividing it into two stories. The first involves God's request, Noah and his family's responses, the gathering of animals, and the launch of the Ark as the rains come. This initial plot has themes about obedience, faithfulness, courage (social & bodily!), cooperation, and family ties. The 2nd part of the story begins when the rain ends. You still have plenty to talk about! The clever dove strategy, the ark's landing, again Noah and his family's responses to their new reality, and the rainbow promise from God are the key components. This last part of the story leans into conversation about hope, endurance, patience, loss, resilience, reliance, and promises. 

HERE is another PBT book inspired by Noah's story! It is a PBT Grab & Go book, meaning you will need to prepare very little to use this book in ministry. It offers much for tweens, teens, and adults to explore! If you want to present it to younger audiences, show the illustrations and tell the story because there is a lot of text. 

Other PBT Grab & Go books can be easily found by typing "Grab & Go" into the search box or clicking on that particular search label at the bottom of the web version.

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


  1. Thank you for the beautiful review. I'm Nora, from Argentina, the illustrator of the book. It's a beautiful story and I was very happy to illustrate it.

    1. You are very welcome! How talented you are. I wanted to step into little Nora's world and play. Thank you for your work and for interpreting this scripture story in a new way. Please tell me how you found the PBT post and thanks for making contact with me!

    2. A pleasure to be in touch with you. Every now and then I look for something related to the books I illustrate, and while googling, I found your post. A heartfelt hug from Argentina.