Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood, Matteo Bussola, Penguin Group TarcherPerigee, 2017.
Fatherhood, I have learned in the past two years, is a true gift. Sure, there are moments when the whining and the fussing gets a little weary, but hey, we all whine and fuss, right? All of those moments are pushed to the shadows when your little girl climbs in your lap to give you a kiss. Or when she makes a joke and then laughs at herself.
Being a dad has been the best calling on my life.
And it’s one of those callings that you only realize how powerful it is until it happens. I remember church members telling me after it was announced that we were expecting, that my life would never be the same.
Daddy’s Girl is a new picture book from author Helen Foster James and illustrator Estelle Corke great for children ages 2-5. Jame’s rhymes make the story of a little girl preparing her tea party approachable for young ears. Corke’s illustrations make use of pink and yellow as the primary colors, ensuring that each page is bright and colorful.
As the little girl, whose accessorizing includes a crown, pearls, and a boa, has tea with her teddy bear and Daddy, she realizes she has more than enough to share with others. She invites other stuffed animals to the tea party. The story concludes with a father and daughter hug, as the daughter expresses, “I love that you are here.”
Be a Star, Wonder Woman!, Michael Dahl, Capstone Young Readers, 2017.
Ever since I first read Bedtime for Batman to Toddler J, it has become a nightly ritual. After Good Morning, Superman, my hopes of a little girl version of these superhero books would become a reality. Michael Dahl delivers in Be a Star, Wonder Woman!
The sun has risen, and now it is time to get ready for school. The little girl in the story book uses her superpowers of being prepared, kind, brave, honest, and strong to make the day a great one! Just as with Batman and Superman, this little girl’s day mirrors a day in the life of Wonder Woman. As Wonder Woman fights off monsters, the little girl uses problem solving skills to master monster situations.
Wade’s Wiggly Antlers, Louise Bradford, Kids Can Press, 2017
Wade is a young moose who enjoys playing with his friends. One day, while playing, his antlers begin to feel a little wiggly. When the wiggle doesn’t stop, Wade hurries home to his mother, who reminds him that he will loose his antlers, but new ones will grow.
Even though Wade and his mother had talked about the change that Wade would experience, he is still worried about it. He chooses not to play with his friends in an effort to keep his antlers. Then, once he looses them, he feels freer. He is able to do things he was not able to do before, like win at hide and seek.
Lent is right around the corner. In a few short days, we will gather for Ash Wednesday in churches, on sidewalks, and in coffee shops to confess that we have not been as faithful as we could be, and to begin this journey we call Lent toward the empty tomb of Easter.
Here are four books I’ve read recently that would be great resources for small groups, sermon series, or individual devotional time.
Stop Feeding’ da Boids!, James Sage, Kids Can Press, 2017
Swanda is new to Brooklyn. If you have ever been to Brooklyn, you will know that it is full of diversity, thick accents, and pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. Swanda, a compassionate little girl, sets up some feeding stations on her fire escape to feed the birds.
And it works. The birds come!
Things get a little chaotic on the city block with all the birds. The cooing assembly leaves their mark on the sidewalks and neighbors. The reality of what is happening reveals itself in a double-page spread featuring the amazing talent of illustrator Pierre Pratt. In vibrant pastels the reader is faced with an array of birds, feathers, and round, yellow eyes against the accents of the fast-moving city life.
Spork, Kyo Maclear, Kids Can Press, 2017.
It has been a long time coming, but it has finally happened: The spork is getting its recognition.
This fun, colorful book tells the story of young Spork. Spork’s mother is a spoon and his father is a fork. This makes Spork different from the other kids. He does not fit in with the spoons and he does not fit in with the forks.
This makes Spork sad.
It is not until an occasion arrives when a fork or a spoon will not do. There was a need for “something that was neither spoon nor fork but a bit of both.” The arrival of a baby in the house gives Spork a new-found purpose.
Good Morning Superman, Michael Dahl, Capstone Young Readers, 2017.
The sun rises, bringing with it a new day in the city of Metropolis. With the rising of the sun, Clark Kent transforms into Superman. At our house, a toddler wakes up ready to conquer the day. But before she can leave the house, there are a number of things to do to get ready.
From the creative mind of Michael Dahl, comes another superhero themed children’s book. Similar to his book Bedtime for Batman, Good Morning Superman parallels Clark Kent getting ready for the day with an unnamed African-American boy getting ready for the day.
Finding Your Voice: What Every Woman Needs To Live Her God-Given Passions Out Loud, Natalie Grant, Zondervan, 2016.
Grammy nominated Christian artist Natalie Grant has been a force in Christian music since 1999. As she tells it in her new book, Finding Your Voice, she had what one could call a spiritual awakening during a trip to India. This “pivotal encounter with God,” she says, changed her career.
It was on that trip she came face-to-face with women and girls who were victims of human trafficking. It was this encounter of the image of God in the Other that Grant had her epiphany: She has a voice and her voice has power.
Russel Hoban has written some of the best classics in children’s literature. Bread and Jam for Frances and Bedtime for Frances are two of the most loved.
In 1966, Hoban wrote Charlie the Tramp, illustrated by his wife Lillian Hoban. Charlie is a young beaver who wants to grow up to be a tramp. His parents, much to the dismay of Charlie’s grandfather, allow him to experience the life of a homeless beaver. During this experience, Charlie hears, like young Samuel in the night, the call to his life’s work.