The Watcher

Grimes, Nikki. The Watcher. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Jordan is afraid of Tanya, the class bully. But she, too, is afraid. Can these two classmates become friends? Nikki Grimes has used the the words of Psalm 121 to write her own narrative poem, ending each line with a word from the psalm. Designed so those words are in boldface, the entire psalm can be read by simply reading the last word of each line. Powerfully illustrated by the award-winning Bryan Collier, this brilliant picture book is highly recommended for readers – and listeners – 6 years old and up.
P.S. Maybe you’d like to try writing your own “golden shovel” poem afterwards. All the directions are supplied at the end of the book.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. (NIV) 

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Not so far away…

Erlings, Fridrick. Boy on the Edge. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014, c2012.
Henry stutters. He can’t read and he doesn’t walk properly. He has no friends and his mother can’t manage his anger. So he’s sent to a farm for homeless boys, run by an angry morose minister.  How can any goodness come out of this situation? This 219-page novel of the search for escape and the discovery of quiet peace is recommended for thoughtful readers 13 years old and up.

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What do you see?

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” – E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web

Wung-Sung, Jesper. The Last Execution. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016. Translated by Lindy Falk van Rooyen.
Chapter by chapter, the final hours count down to the last execution in Danish history. Chapter by chapter, eleven bystanders reveal their thoughts about the 15-year-old boy accused of arson and murder.  And in each chapter, we also hear the voice of that forlorn and forsaken boy. Based on a true story from 1853, this heart-wrenching novel of poverty and prejudice is highly recommended for thoughtful readers 14 years old and up. 

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I will pray…

Weatherford, Carole Boston. In Your Hands. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.
A mother tenderly speaks to her young son, telling him of her dreams and her prayers for his future. This exquisitely designed picture book – with soft illustrations and a beautiful font – ends with these words: “Black lives matter. Your life matters. I pray to God each day: Hold my son in your hands.” Author Carole Weatherford and illustrator Brian Pinkney have created a masterpiece that will touch the hearts of all readers. Highly recommended for people of faith. 

“He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91.4

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16.8

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14.27 

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Who is Guru Nanak?

Grace, Jones. The Birthday of Guru Nanak. Kings Lynn, England: BookLife, 2017.

What a lovely book to read aloud and discuss with a group of children! Each page is almost 25 by 30 centimetres in size and illustrated with colour photographs. What is a festival? What is Sikhism? What is the story of Guru Nanak? And how is his birthday celebrated? All these questions are simply and clearly answered for anyone interested in a very basic introduction to the Sikh faith. Highly recommended. 

Guru Nanak “taught that everyone was equal, no matter whether they are rich or poor, a man or a woman, or if they followed a different religion. This is still one of the main beliefs of Sikhism” (11).

An overview of major world religions HERE.

Stories about faith HERE.

Stories set in India HERE.

In the beginning,…

Rylant, Cynthia. Creation. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2016.
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” And so starts this picture book adapted from the book of Genesis and illustrated in a simple style with acrylic paints. Highly recommended for all ages.

(Actually, anything by Cynthia Rylant is recommended, although the intended audience varies. And any picture book by Beach Lane Books is sure to be outstanding.)

More books about faith HERE

More creation stories HERE  

More great publishers HERE

 

The Story of Creation

In the beginning,…

Fleischman, Paul. First Light, First Life. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016.

A master storyteller and accomplished artist tells a story of creation that celebrates traditions from around the world. The design of the book – the layout, font, colours – enhances this outstanding companion to a previous collaboration between Paul Fleischman and Julie Pashkis: Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. Recommended for readers 8 years old and up.

More creation stories HERE