Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter Books

violet sunshine 4

I'm going through all our bookshelves rounding up Easter books and bunny books. Here's what we have so far:

The Easter Story by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Mary Ann Utt. This board book tells the story of Jesus in simple, direct language. It starts out explaining that "when we celebrate Easter, we remember that God gave us his Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior." Jesus' healing miracles and love are contrasted with those who were angry and frightened at his teaching. Scenes of Jesus and his followers are presented from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. This is a good book for families with young children celebrating at home and participating in church services through out Holy Week, introducing children to the Christian holiday.

Why is There a Cross? by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Elena Kucharik. A questions my five year old often has is "Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?" That is a hard one to answer for anyone, but especially hard to explain to a young child. I don't like to come down heavy on the sin and punishment rational. I try to emphasis the love and mercy of God. I found this book in the bookstore that does that very well, and includes children of all races.

The National Geographic book Celebrate Easter by Barbara Heiligman. Beautiful photos of people all around the world in their various styles of celebration and worship. Simple, clear explanations of the history, mythology and practices of Easter. Fabulous book!

The Whispering Rabbit, by Margaret Wise Brown. A sweet story about a bunny who accidentally swallows a bumble bee and must find the quietest sound in the world to lure him out. Love this one!

Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. Another sweet little story. A lonely bunny looks for a home to share with someone to love. Wise Brown follows the classic quest for home pattern with a satisfying ending.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. We have both the Golden Book version illustrated by Cyndy Szekeres and the little F. Warne & Co. classic version.

Renchenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco. Polacco is a masterful writer and artist. Her illustrations glow with joy. Her stories are often autobiographical and full of genuine folk history and humor from her family’s roots in the Ukraine, Russia and Ireland. She grew up very close to her grandparents and writes most of her stories about the magical relationships between older and younger people. She didn’t start illustrating and writing children’s books until she was in her 40s, another reason I like her! This particular story is full of miracles and revolves around Easter themes. Many of her picture books are very appropriate for middle grade and older children.

I always try to put a few books in the Easter baskets. I'm about to go over to the book store for some solitary browsing while my kids are at school. (Yippee! Mom's holiday!!) What would you recommend we add to our collection this year?


tanita✿davis said...

Interesting post. I know a family with two sons who are Christians and did not tell their children about the death thing until they were much older. I'm not sure I could explain or discuss that with a child of five. It's ...hard for kids who are ten and twelve, isn't it? I guess it's like teaching them about birds/bees; you tell a little, what they can get, and then more on to more as they grow older?

Geez. Parenting looks SO HARD. You're brave.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I know! The thing is I don't want to leave it for them to hear all the cross/death stuff at church with no preparation.

Some of what other people say about dying on the cross is way to graphic for kids. I'd rather stress the love and the peace and justice teaching, along with the conflict/confusion/fear of the whole of Jesus life and community that leads up to the cross. Kids of five get that. They already know about conflict and rivalry.

They are fascinated with death too. They talk about it all the time. Whenever I introduce an author or a biography in the library the kindergarteners and first graders first want to know if the person is dead and how they died.

Then of course the whole point of Easter is that he rose again. The triumph of life over death is the real message. Kids love to hear that and they need to hear it. They know life is full of pain and struggle. They are eager to hear the hopeful part that comes on Sunday morning!

Better to address these things head on and use books to teach about it. Since my faith is so important to me I can't let it just go to chocolate bunnies and candy hunts, KWIM?

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

Thanks for this list! I need to post about our Easter books, too. Some of our old favorites are The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (of course) and The Easter Egg Artists by Adrienne Adams. We also love The Birds' Gift by Eric Kimmel, with beautiful illustrations by Katya Krenina. Enjoy your looking!

tanita✿davis said...

Good points, Andi!! Lots to think about...

Caroline said...

Perfect timing, as I always like to tuck some books into the Easter baskets, too. Past years the bunny has brought The Country Rabbit and the Little Gold Shoes, the Margaret Wise Brown books you mention, and Rosemary Wells' Max's Easter. This year, it'll be The Egg Tree by
Katherine Milhous and (thanks to your post)Renchenka's Eggs. Happy Easter!