Be fair, be kind and walk with God — our children’s summer reading theme from Micah 6:8
As the adults in the congregation work their way through their three book selections for the summer, we have put together a suggested reading list for our children. All of the books fall into the picture book category, but would appeal to a wide range of readers. They suggested ages range from about 4 years old to about 11 years old. We will have one copy of each of the books here at church for you to look at. All will be widely available from a local bookstore, on amazon or at the Public Library. Some are poignant, some are humorous and some will remind us of our daily lives. All will show us how to live with fairness, with kindness, and walking with God.
June – Be Kind
I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien [June 4]
Three children from other cultures struggle and succeed in adapting to their new elementary school in America.
- Have you ever been the new kid in class? What was it like?
- I wonder if there are things you could do at school or at church to help someone new feel at home?
Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley [June 11]
Hank, a small teddy bear, finds an egg on the ground in the forest. He picks it up carefully and searches for the nest from which it has fallen.
- Why did Hank pick up the egg?
- Who needs your kindness?
- How can you be kind?
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead [June 18]
Amos, an elderly zookeeper, always makes time in his busy day to visit his friends. He plays chess with the elephant, races the tortoise and reads the owl (who is afraid of the dark) a bedtime story. When Amos becomes sick, his friends return the favor. This is a 2011 Caldecott Medal winner.
- What makes a good friend?
- What are some of the ways you and your friends are different?
- What are some of the ways you could be a friend to people in God’s world?
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson [June 25]
One boy's perfect summer seems to be ruined when his worst enemy, Jeremy Ross, moves in down the block. Fortunately, though, Dad has a recipe for enemy pie. But it seems that the pie will only be effective if the recipient is treated kindly before eating it. Reluctantly, the boy agrees to spend time with Jeremy.
- Do you have a best friend?
- A friend is someone who…….?
- What does the Bible tell us about how to treat our friends?...our enemies?
July – Be Fair
My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald [July 2]
A young Sudanese immigrant wraps herself in the imaginary blanket of her old culture when her new country seems strange, frightening, and lonely. When a little girl asks her to play and then begins to teach her English, the newcomer begins to weave a new blanket from the words and experiences of her new home.
- The little girl wearing orange and red in this story has moved from another country. She cannot understand the language of her new homeland. What do you think it would be like if you could not understand anything people were saying to you?
- The newcomer meets another little girl in the park. How does that girl help the newcomer?
- I wonder where you might see God in this story?
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson [July 9]
This is the true story of nine-year-old Audrey Hendricks who was inspired by civil rights leaders who visit in her home and preach at her church regularly. She decided to stand up against injustice. When Martin Luther King and others planned a children’s march in Birmingham in 1963, Audrey volunteered to be a part of it.
- What were some of the unjust laws Audrey wanted to change?
- If you had been at the church when Dr. King called for volunteers to go to jail, what do you think you would have done?
- Where do you see God at work in this story?
The Journey by Francesca Sanna [July 16]
This book is based on true stories of refugee families looking for a new home when their lives are impacted by war. As the reality of life for a refugee family escaping to a new home is told, a happy ending is not described, but hope moves on beyond the end of the story.
- What are some ways we can make a difference for people who come to our lives from other places?
- When was the last time you made a new friend? What are some of the wonderful things about meeting someone new?
- What are some prayers we can offer to God when we are moving to a new place or when we meet someone from a new place?
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts [July 23]
Sally McCabe notices everything, including the way her classmates treat one another. One day, after she has watched yet more unkindness, Sally has enough. Sally’s courage to speak out, though she is the smallest girl in the smallest grade, transforms her school.
- What kinds of things did Sally McCabe notice at her school?
- Why do you think Sally decided to make her announcement?
- What can we do as individuals or as a community when we see unkindness?
- Do you know the story of Esther from the Bible? Find that story in a Bible Story book and read it. I wonder if you see ways that Sally and Esther are a like?
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margaret Ruurs. (Translated by Falah Raheem) [July 30]
Rama heard the rooster crow and awakened to a world of abundant breakfast, happy play, and time for shared stories. But then war came and people began to leave. When the bombs came too close, Rama and her family left also. They said good-by to the place that they called home. They joined a river of people and walked and walked, then crossed the water and walked some more. Rama and her family were welcomed by people who shared what they had, and new dreams of peace seemed possible.
- Rama’s family left their home. Imagine leaving home with only what you can carry. What would you take? What would you have to leave?
- Rama’s family is welcomed to a new home. Have you ever welcomed a new person or new family?
- I wonder how the Bible tell us to welcome those who are new?
- This story is illustrated with the artwork of Falah Raheem. Are stones a good way to tell the story of Rama and her family? Why or why not?
August – Walk With God
Is There Room on the Feather Bed? by Libba Moore Gray [August 6]
The story is that of a “wee man” and a “wee woman” who live in a very small house at the bottom of a hill. Their family consists of a goose, duck, sheep, hen, pig, dog, cow, and a cat. A skunk watches the family but they never let him get too close.
- How is this family like your family?
- How is it different?
- Why is the skunk not a part of the family in the story?
- I wonder what this story tells us about welcome others?
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell [August 13]
Mooch wants to give his friend, Earl, a special gift. But what do you get someone who has everything?
- What are some of the special gifts you remember receiving?
- Why are these gifts special?
- Some of the best gifts we receive are not gifts of things, but gifts of time spent with those we love. We hold these gifts in our hearts and memories. What are some wonderful memories that have become gifts of the heart for you?
Tawny Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson [August 20]
"Once there was a tawny scrawny lion who chased monkeys on Monday—kangaroos on Tuesday—zebras on Wednesday—bears on Thursday—camels on Friday—and on Saturday, elephants!" So begins the classic story of a family of ten fat rabbits that teach the hungry lion to eat carrot stew—so that he doesn’t eat them. Rabbit was very brave.
- What did Rabbit do to become friends with Lion?
- Did Lion change? Why?
- God wants us to be fair, be kind and walk everyday with God. Do you think Rabbit and Lion can help us understand Micah 6:8?
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson [August 24]
A fuzzy, brown rabbit and a tiny notch-eared mouse plant tomato, carrot, and cabbage seeds and then wait for the plants to grow and produce. If You Plant a Seed shows how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit. Kadir Nelson, winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, presents a resonant, gently humorous story about the power of the smallest acts and the rewards of compassion and generosity.
- I wonder what Rabbit and Mouse learn about kindness generosity and hospitality?
- Where do you see God in this story?
September – Be Fair, Be Kind, Walk with God
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser (older reader) [September 3]
Emma Lazarus, the subject of Emma’s Poem, saw the plight of the immigrants in New York City, the least of these. She began to help them learn to read, get jobs and food, and other necessities. She is most famous for penning the poem on the Statue of Liberty, with the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses/Yearning to breathe free”. Emma Lazarus truly did her best for “the least of these”.
- How can we choose to give help, water, clothing and love and kindness to those who are “the least of these”.
This Little Light of Mine by E. B. Lewis (younger reader) [September 3]
It is morning when the book opens, and we are greeted by a smiling boy. Throughout the day, he spreads his own special brand of joy wherever he goes.
- There is a Light inside of you. How do you let your light shine? Where do you see God in these two stories?