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Culture Children's Books

Storybook lessons

Tessa Blackham

<em>Monday Is Wash Day</em>

Children's Books

Storybook lessons

Four illustrated books with biblical themes

Baby Wren and the Great Gift

Sally Lloyd-Jones

A baby wren emerges from a nest on the rock face of a canyon and sees creatures pass by: a swooping kingfisher, somersaulting ringtail cats, splashing sunfish, circling eagles. The wren passes up opportunities to join them and regrets that it doesn’t have those gifts. Then it discovers its own: singing. It bursts into a hymn of praise. Bright watercolor illustrations accompany the text: “For all of the sky and shining sun, for milkweed, monarchs, and rivers that run, for kingfishers, sunfish, ring-tailed cats, for eagles and thunderclouds and storms blowing through—and that I’m here too! Thank you!” (Ages 4-8)

The Chameleon That Saved Noah’s Ark

Yael Molchadsky

This extrabiblical story has no mention of God, and the ark merely provides a familiar setting and characters. As Noah and his wife labor to feed the animals, they can’t figure out what to feed two starving chameleons. They discover the chameleons eat worms infesting the stores of fruits and vegetables, saving both the chameleons and the food. Noah also saves two worms, vowing care for them: “Because soon, the sun will shine once again on the earth … and everything and everyone has a place under the sun.” Simple acrylic pictures show a dark-skinned Noah and his rosy-featured wife. (Ages 5-8)

Wonderfully Made: God’s story of Life from Conception to Birth 

Danika Cooley

Cooley weaves the biological story of an unborn baby’s development with Scripture’s teaching. The text is simple: “The Lord made a way for a husband and wife to join together to show their special love and to create a baby.” It mixes biological terms—sperm, egg, and amniotic fluid—with more visual words that compare the developing body with things the child might know: “To tell the truth, you looked a little like a tadpole; you even had a tail! You didn’t look like that for long, though. God had a plan.” Illustrations depict mothers, fathers, and children of various races. (Ages 4-9)

Noah: A Journal of Praise 

Nancy Ganz

Ganz imagines Noah keeping a journal into which she invites her readers: “Let’s pretend that we are reading some pages from Noah’s journal.” The beautifully illustrated journal begins on the day Noah enters the ark for the last time before the flood: “I was thankful that our God himself shut the door of the ark. Would I have the strength to do it?” Noah writes about the ark’s sounds and smells, his fear, and the attributes of God to which he clings. The book depicts the reality of God’s judgment and shows Noah offering praise for His goodness and mercy. (Ages 8-12)

Afterword

Fabulous collages made of paper cutouts illustrate MaryAnn Sundby’s Monday Is Wash Day (Ripple Grove Press, 2016), a simple turn-of-the-20th-century story about laundry. It begins, “Rain or shine, Monday is wash day.” Two sisters can’t play until the laundry is done. They help their mother gather dirty clothes, carry water to the porch, fill the open-topped wringer washer with hot water, and load the clothes according to color, washing whites first. The girls help with every step: emptying the rinse buckets on plants in the garden, hanging wet clothes on the line, and gathering the dry. Then, “We go outside and play.”

Hannah Harrison’s My Friend Maggie (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016) is a story of best friends, the desire to be popular, and the discovery of real, faithful friendship. Harrison’s delightful illustrations capture the emotions and drama of childhood. —S.O.