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Picture book lessons

CHILDREN’S BOOKS | Tales of sacrifice, love, hope, and bravery for young readers

Picture book lessons
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Madani’s Best Game

Fran Pintadera
(Eerdmans 2022)

Everyone knows Madani is the best ­soccer player in town. But unlike his teammates, Madani plays every game barefoot because he can’t afford a pair of soccer cleats. He’s ­carefully saving his money in a metal tin, though, and his friends imagine how much ­better he’ll be able to run and kick once Madani finally has his own pair of cleats. The day finally comes when Madani goes to the store, but his friends are shocked when he returns still barefoot. Instead of shoes for himself, Madani has bought his mother a sewing machine that will allow her to work faster so she has time to come watch him play. A beautiful story of love and sacrifice. Ages 5-9


Barbara Ciletti
(Creative Editions 2022)

This story introduces families to an ancient form of Japanese embroidery called sashiko. After cold weather sends fishermen home with empty boats, a girl watches her mother sew a new coat for her father—one that is thick, warm, and covered in intricate stitches. Although sashiko, which means “little stabs,” first began as a way to reinforce clothing and make it warmer, it changed over the years into an exquisite form of textile art. Maria Cristina Pritelli’s soft watercolor illustrations capture the beauty of the embroidery and the love sewn into each stitch. Note: Some of the text implies that the mother’s stitches are magical and capable of protecting the father and ensuring a good catch. Ages 7-10

Building an Orchestra of Hope

Carmen Oliver
(Eerdmans 2022)

When Favio Chavez first organized a youth orchestra in a poor Paraguayan town, he had more children than instruments. But he also had an ingenious friend, Colá, who combed through the landfill looking for anything he could use to fashion rudimentary instruments. Colá first constructed a violin from a glue canister, wooden spoon, and door keys. Then he made a drum from X-ray films, a viola from a paint can, and flutes from drain pipes. When there were enough instruments for all the children, Chavez taught them how to play: “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.” A beautiful, true story showcasing how resourcefulness and resilience can positively shape a community and build hope. Ages 5-9

Your Brave Song

Ann Voskamp
(Tyndale Kids 2023)

In her trademark poetic style, Voskamp reminds children they can conquer fear and worry when they root themselves in Christ. The story follows a young girl who takes a step of faith amid uncertainty and finds strength in the promise of her mother’s song: “Jesus loves you, makes you strong. In Him you’re brave and you belong.” The book provides an opportunity for parents to discuss with their children what it means to find one’s identity and acceptance in Christ, and how His perfect love for us casts out fear. Amy Grimes’ beautiful illustrations frame Voskamp’s words with whimsical nature scenes and include ­children from diverse heritages. Ages 4-8

Kristin Chapman

Kristin is the children's book page editor and an editorial assistant for WORLD Magazine. She graduated from two World Journalism Institutes, including one in Asheville and one in Austin. Kristin resides with her husband, Jarrett, and their three children in New Castle, Pa.


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