Question: Do you have books written for children in addition to those written for adults about children?
Sue Says: We do have a small but growing collection of picture books for young children. We also have a collection of bibles for children and some non-fiction on religious themes or themes related to programs of the diocese such as the environment. These materials are often borrowed by adults to support summer camps or other programs, and the age range is roughly three or four years through early middle school. This supplemental collection supports curriculum that mentions children’s books, as well as materials for story times and individual exploration. For instance, last month we reviewed Jerome Berryman’s Stories of God at Home: A Godly Play Approach (268.432 Ber). In it he mentions six children’s titles, three of which are classic titles for younger children and all of which are available in the Resource Center.
Velveteen Rabbit: Or How Toys Become Real (j/E Wil) by Margery Williams. We actually have two editions of this classic title, first published in 1922. One is with the original illustrations by William Nicholson and the other is the same beloved text but with newer illustrations by Maria Berg. A young boy is given a velveteen rabbit for Christmas, but soon the rabbit is shunned in favor of newer and glossier toys. Eventually he once again becomes the boy’s chosen companion, being loved so fervently that he becomes threadbare. But he was always beautiful to the boy because he loved him. And then the boy contracts Scarlet Fever. Skin Horse, the oldest toy in the nursery, notes that “Real isn’t how you are made… It’s a thing that happens to you.”
Clown of God, written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (j/E deP). Based on an old French legend, this 1978 Caldecott honor book features a little juggler whose talent leads him to great heights and acclaim, then as he ages his popularity fades; sleeping destitute in a church one day, a miracle happens when no one is watching but the statue of Mary and Child.
Frederick, by Lio Lionni (j/E Lio). The mice are all preparing for the coming winter, but Frederick has the heart of a poet and rather than gathering supplies he gathers stories as his contribution to share in the dark months ahead. This was also a Caldecott Honor Book, in 1967. (Note: My mistake may be your windfall. I thought I was ordering a clean copy of this, but when it arrived it was indeed in great shape, but is in German. Let me know if you can use it.)
These tales all deal with finding what is important, and that theme is continued in Jennifer Grant’s 2017 book, Maybe God is Like That Too (j/E Gra). A little boy, living with his grandmother in the city, reflects that his world is filled with people but he has never seen God. His grandmother helps him to understand that seeing kindness, patience and other fruits of the spirit in those around him allow him to see God in the qualities of people. He concludes that although he doesn’t see God the same way he sees physical objects, he sees God in those around him and says, “I know what God is like. Maybe I can be like that too.”
If you would like to borrow any of these books, or others, please let me know. I will be glad to mail one or several items to you, and of course you are welcome to come into Diocesan House and browse what is available.