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Children’s book and DVD suggestions to accompany the Gather ’Round curriculum for Spring 2013

All books are in print and available unless designated with an asterisk; all DVDs are available for purchase. Books not in print may be found in public, private, or church libraries as well as for purchase from Compiled by Marjorie Geissinger , Naomi Kauffman, Mary Grieser, and Grace Headman, members of the Bux-Mont Librarians in Pennsylvania, with the hope that teachers and librarians would work together to provide some of these rich resources to the children in our congregations.


Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney, Candlewick Press, reprint edition, 2008.
Sometimes when you love someone very much, you want to find a way of describing how great your feelings are. Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare discover love is not an easy thing to measure! However, with the help of endearing watercolors, we get the message! (Session 2)

Jesus for Kids, DVD, 50 minutes, 1998.
Available from
Delightful, animated stories based squarely on the Gospels, divided into five programs including The First Easter. A free downloadable companion guide in PDF is available with objects and outlines, key vocabulary words, suggested follow-up activities and more. (Sessions 4–6)

*Lights, Music, and Me: Jesus Loves Me, Publications International, reprint edition, 2010.
A board book of songs for little children that express Jesus’ love for them. (Session 2)

*Tell Me About Eternity, Joel Anderson, Thomas Nelson, 2005.
Simply written—one sentence on a page—beautifully illustrated with parent/teacher discussion helps included. (Session 6)

*You’re All My Favorites, Sam McBratney, Candlewick Press, 2004.
Three bear cubs wonder how they can all be the best baby bears in the whole wide world. They couldn’t all be favorites, could they? (Session 2)

You Can Do It, Sam, Amy Hest, Candlewick Press, 2007.
One morning, while the moon is still up, Mrs. Bear and Sam bake cakes for all their friends on Plum Street. And who do you think takes the cakes up to each doorstep . . . all by himself? (Session 3)

Preschool – Primary

47 Beavers on the Big, Blue Sea, Phil Vischer, Thomas Nelson, reprint edition, 2012.
Phil Vischer spins a rollicking tale about 47 beavers that are lost at sea and discover that things go best when they all work together. (Session 13)

Bedbug Bible Gang: Easter Party, DVD, 27 minutes, 2000.
Available from
This film from the Bedbug Bible Gang contains stories of the “Palm Parade,” “The Garden Surprise,” and “Doubting Thomas.” (Sessions 4–6)

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs, Melody Carlson, Zonderkidz, 2008.
Benjamin, a very curious boy, wants to follow Jesus to discover who he is—a teacher?—a king? With each encounter, he adds a treasure to his box—a piece of leather, a nail . . . (Sessions 4–6)

The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule, Mike Berenstain, Zonderkidz, 2008.
Should Sister Bear ignore the new girl at school when no one in school invites her to play? As Jesus’ friends, we are to love each other. (Sessions 3, 11)

The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors, Jan and Mike Berenstain, Zonderkids, 2009.
The bears learn a lesson about being a good neighbor when their car breaks down on the way to a festival. (Sessions 3, 10)

The Bible for Children, Murray Watts, Good Books, 2002.
Two hundred fifty treasured stories of the Bible are located in this beautifully illustrated book. The contemporary illustrations add to the attractiveness of this modern book. This is a read-to- book for kindergarteners through early grades. Middlers would enjoy reading it independently. This book also includes accessible paraphrases of a number of psalms, words of wisdom and prophecy. Bible words of wisdom and prophecy, Bible references and indexes of people and places are also included. Attractive, contemporary illustrations give the book a modern look. This is a read-to book for kindergarten through early grades. (Sessions 1–13)

*Buzzle Billy, A Book about Sharing, Michael P. Waite, Chariot Family Publishing, 1987.
When Buzzle Bill stops sharing, no one wants to play with him anymore. (Session 1)

Cherub Wings: And It Was So!, DVD, 25 minutes, 2001.
Available from
Cherub and Chubby learn that by accepting Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, they can receive Him as their Savior. Children will see the ultimate act of forgiveness and will marvel at the power of God in the resurrection. (Sessions 4–6)

Cherub Wings: Shine Your Light, DVD, 25 minutes, 2001.
Available from
Cherub and Chubby explore practical ways to share the message of Jesus’ love with others in their everyday lives. (Sessions 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12)

*Classic Bible Stories, Rhona Davies and Tommaso d’Incalci, B & H Kids, 2007.
Classic Bible Stories was chosen as the best-known and best-loved of all and illustrated in a dynamic, contemporary style which should encourage children to want to discuss the illustrations as well as the stories. Stories limited to one page of print. (Sessions 4–6)

The Easter Story, Brian Wildsmith, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2000.
The story of the last days of Jesus’ life as seen through the eyes of a small donkey. True to the Bible account. (Sessions 4–6)

Eddie’s Kingdom, D. B. Johnson, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2005.
Eddie has an ingenious method of bringing peace to his not peaceful surroundings. He brings smiles, laughter and peace to his neighbors through his artwork. (Sessions 7–9, 11)

Four Feet, Two Sandals, Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2007.
Two Afghani girls living in a refugee camp share a pair of sandals. (Session 1)

God Loves You!, Mike Berenstain, Zonderkidz, 2008.
Brother and Sister Bear tryout for activities at their school, both are surprised at the outcome. They realize that God still loves them even when things do not turn out as they thought. (Sessions 1, 11)

*God’s Easter Promise, Todd Barsness, Concordia Publishing House, 2006.
“Only God would have planned it that way,” is the repeated phrase with each new part of the story. Story is in rhyme and walks young readers through Holy Week in a new fashion. (Sessions 4–6)

*God’s Little Dreamer, Ann Kiemel Anderson, Harvest House Publishers, 1990.
God gives Madison a dream that makes every day magnificent for her. As she reaches out to others, she is serving Jesus. (Sessions 8, 9)

Grandfather’s Journey, Allen Say, Sandpiper, reprint edition, 2008.
A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America and the feelings of being torn by love for two different countries. (Session 13)

Hermie and Friends: Hailey and Bailey’s Silly Fight, DVD, 60 minutes, 2007.
Available from
The twins can’t agree on whether to pack tomatoes or blueberries for their picnic. Will their sibling spat spoil their good deeds and infect the entire garden—or will everybody learn about getting along? (Session 9)

The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones, Zondervan, reprint edition, 2012.
Beautifully written and illustrated, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their story, too. (Sessions 1–13)

*Jesus, the Friend of Children, illustrated by Richard and Frances Hook, Faith Kidz, reprint edition, 2006.
The life of Christ for younger children. (Sessions 4–6)

*Kindness, Jane Belk Moncure, Child’s World, 1981.
When we are rooted in God, we will show kindness in many ways and will bear fruit. (Session 8)

The Legend of the Easter Egg, Lori Walburg, Zondervan, reprint edition, 2011.
While preparing for Easter in his small prairie town, Thomas hears the story of the resurrection of Jesus and discovers the meaning of new life through the symbolism of the Easter egg. An information page about the traditions and symbols of Lent and Easter is included. (Sessions 4–6)

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, Jeannette Winter, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2005.
This true story from Iraq of a librarian’s struggle to save her community’s priceless collection of books show the difference one person can make even in the hopelessness of war. The story connects children to world events in an identifiable and non-threatening way. The book ends on a note of hope. (Sessions 11, 12)

Little Colt’s Palm Sunday, Michelle Medlock Adams, Ideals Children’s Books, 2005.
Story told in rhyme with rich, dramatic illustrations. Colt learns nothing compares with his experience of giving Jesus a ride. (Sessions 4–7)

My Very First Bible, Lois Rock, Good Books, 2003.
The chapter entitled “Almost the End,” shows the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. The chapter called “Good News” shows that Jesus is risen! (Sessions 4–6)

*Nana’s Bible Stories, Roberta Simpson, Thomas Nelson, 2007.
Seven delightfully told Bible stories from Old and New Testaments with appealing illustrations. CD narrated by Jane Seymour accompanies the book. (Sessions 4–6)

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, Tomie dePaola, Puffin, 2000.
Just as we grieve the death of Jesus, so we grieve when Nana dies. (Sessions 4–6)

On That Easter Morning, Mary Joslin, Good Books, 2006.
A wonderful retelling of the Easter story—Jesus’ exuberant arrival in Jerusalem, the dark days of his trial and crucifixion and of his resurrection. (Sessions 4–6)

*One Winter’s Day, M. Christian Butler, Good Books, 2006.
One winter day the wind blows away Little Hedgehog’s nest. He sets out to a friend’s house and the generosity he shows to others along the way is returned to him. (Session 8)

*Papa’s Birthday Gift, Lynn Downey, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2003.
When a snowstorm makes Papa miss Tessa’s sixth birthday party, Tessa is angry with God for not answering prayer that Papa comes home. When her disappointing birthday becomes a surprising wonderful birth night, Tessa learns that God’s answers come in unexpected ways. (Sessions 11, 13)

The Parable of the Lily, Liz Curtis Higgs, Thomas Nelson, tenth anniversary edition, 2007.
A farmer’s daughter receives a mysterious gift which she discards. On Easter morning she discovers how special it is. (Sessions 4–6)

* Potatoes, Potatoes, Anita Lobel, Greenwillow Books, 2004.
Classic story of two brothers who become enemies at war and their wise Mother whose cleverness comes to rebuild it in one day. Wonderful oil paintings. (Sessions 11, 12)

Quills, Aaron J. Ratzlaff, Herald Press, 2011.
Porcupine is surrounded by friends who listen to her clever stories and has a body of shiny quills that she brushes every night. But one day her quills begin to fall out in handfuls—and nothing can be done. Can anyone love a porcupine without quills? Giraffe stops by with a special gift and message of acceptance. (Sessions 1, 12)

*Root Beer and Banana, Sarah Sullivan, Candlewick Press, 2005.
Molly can’t decide between two ice pop flavors but the arrival of a new friend and help from Granddaddy lead to the perfect solution. (Session 1)

The Story of Easter, Gwen Ellis, Thomas Nelson, 2008.
Very short text about each subject in the Easter story and very simple illustrations accompany the text with a simple question which follows the script. (Sessions 4–6)

Sensing Peace, Suzana E. Yoder, Herald Press, 2010.
Peace looks like neighbors sharing. Peace sounds like the whole world singing. Peace tastes like the cool clean water for everyone. These and many other examples in this brightly illustrated book encourage children to experience peace through everyday occurrences. (Sessions 2, 8, 11)

The Story of Easter, Christopher Doyle, Concordia, 2007.
Includes the Lord’s Supper, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost. (Sessions 4–6)

*The Story of Job, Beverly Brodsky, George Braziller, Inc. 1988.
God tests Job’s faith by letting terrible misfortunes befall him. (Session 13)

*Sunrise Hill, Kathleen Long Bostrom, Zonderkidz, 2004.
This is a story that shares an inspiring message of faith, hope and courage that children can treasure for a lifetime. (Sessions 4–6)

*Suzy Swoof: A Book about Kindness, Michael P. Waite, Chariot Family Publishing, 1987.
Suzy is ridiculed by other Swoof kids because of her fear of flying until she does an act of kindness which changes their attitude. (Session 8)

The Tallest of Smalls, Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2009.
The people of Smallville learn that God loves and values them, large or small. Illustrations by Maria Monescillo are a great part of the charm of this book. (Session 3)

*The Two Brothers: A Legend of Jerusalem, Neil Waldman, Atheneum Books, 1997.
After observing a miracle that marks the love and concern that two brothers have for each other, King Solomon decides on the site for his great temple. (Session 10)

Walk in Peace, Ingrid Hess, Herald Press, 2009.
Children around the world are pictured leaving home for school, playing, doing chores going to market, or visiting Parents send their little ones out with a prayer for God’s protection and a reminder to walk in peace. (Session 13)


The Animated Passion Trilogy, DVD, 90 minutes, 2008.
Available from
Award-winning videos which will help youngsters learn about the events surrounding the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus, his resurrection, and his promised return. (Sessions 4–6)

*The Easter Story, Carol Heyer, Ideals Publications, 1990.
A biography of Jesus Christ focusing on the events of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. (Sessions 4–6)

The Lion Read & Know Bible, Sophie Piper, Lion UK, 2009.
A very nicely written Bible storybook which will appeal to early readers as will kid-friendly illustrations by Anthony Lewis. (Sessions 4–6)

The Littlest Angel’s Easter, DVD, 26 minutes, 2010.
Available from
Ryan moves from a big city to a small town and is having trouble making friends. With the help of the Littlest Angel, he discovers that miracles can happen when you open your heart. (Session 11)

The Oak Inside the Acorn, Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2006.
The book written in parable form conveys the message: God made one version of you, so be the best you can be. Little Acorn grows into a big oak and finds his strong branches were just right for a special purpose. (Session 12)

The Story of Jesus for Children, 16 language version, DVD, 67 minutes 2006.
Adapted from the Jesus film, this film depicts the Gospel as seen through the eyes of children. They watch Jesus from the crowds; they follow Him to see what this incredible man will do next. They see him betrayed, wrongly accused, crucified, and buried. But they remember his promise and believe they will see Him again. (Sessions 1–12)

Story of the Selfish Giant, DVD, 25 minutes, 2005.
Available from
A grandfather uses Oscar Wilde’s timeless tale, to help explain God’s love to his granddaughter. As the selfish giant learns in this story of love and sacrifice, God’s unselfish gift encourages us to be filled with joy. (Sessions 4–6)

What if Zebras Lost Their Stripes, John Reitano, Paulist Press, 1998.
Wonderful color illustrations invite children with the question “Why do zebras have stripes? And What if they lost their stripes?” This is an excellent discussion starter for the absurdity of racism and prejudice. (Session 9)


*Calendar of Prayers, Lois Rock, Lion Children’s Books, 2003.
A book of prayers for every month of the year. Delightful illustrations. (Session 13)

God’s Love at Easter, Joy Morgan Davis, Concordia, 2002.
A colorful rhyming picture book that shows Jesus’ love for all. (Sessions 4–6)

*Jesus on the Cross, Victoria Parker, Anness, 2003.
From the Bible Discoverer Series, this volume tells 4 Bible stories – The First Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Ascension of Jesus. (Sessions 4–6)

*Praying With Our Feet, Lisa D. Weaver, Herald Press, 2005.
Story told by young girl who takes part in walk for peace with parents and church family. (Sessions 9, 13)

Primary, Middler

Beatrice’s Goat, Page McBrier, Aladdin, 2004.
A young girl’s dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income producing goat. (Sessions 3, 9)

*The Birds’ Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story, Eric A. Kimmel, Holiday House, 1999.
Villagers take in a flock of golden birds nearly frozen by an early snow and are rewarded with beautifully decorated eggs the next spring. (Sessions 2, 8)

Boxes for Katje, Candace Fleming; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; 2003.
A true story about a young Dutch girl who writes to her new American friend in thanks for the CARE package sent after World War II. Many more packages followed the first one. When the hard winter was over, a package was sent from Olst to Indiana. (Sessions 3, 9)

Brother Juniper, Diane Gibfried, Clarion Books, 2006.
Brother Juniper lives with seven other brothers and is the most generous of them all. Sometimes the others think he goes too far, but he truly reminds us all of what it means to be “the church.” Based on a true story. (Sessions 3, 8)

Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories, Ouisie Shapiro, Albert Whitman and Company, 2010.
From all kinds of backgrounds kids and grown-ups talk about their experiences of being bullied. (Sessions 2, 3, 9, 10)

Children’s Illustrated Bible, Eve MacMaster, Herald Press, 2006.
This collection of Eve MacMaster’s stories that teach, fascinate and encourage young people, retells the Bible stories with clear, simple language and has colorful artwork that takes children from reading to discovery. (Sessions 1–13)

*Easter Eggs for Anya, Virginia Kroll, Zonderkidz, 2007.
Anya gets a big surprise when she finds abandoned goose eggs which she then plans to use for the traditional Ukranian pysanky for Easter. Instructions for making pysanky for Easter and information about the tradition are included. (Sessions 4–6)

The Easter Story, Brian Wildsmith, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2000.
True to the biblical accounts from which it is drawn; it is written in a straightforward and simple manner. The superb illustrations are a visual feast. (Sessions 4–6)

Give a Goat, Jan West Schrock, Tilbury House Publishers, reprint edition, 2013.
After hearing a story about a girl in Uganda whose life is changed for the better by the gift of a goat, a class of fifth graders pulls together to raise funds to make a similar donation to someone in need. (Sessions 3, 9)

*He is Alive!, Helen Haidle, Zonderkidz, 2001.
Jesus took one last trip to Jerusalem to finish his work on earth. Following the story of Jesus through this last week of his earthly life shows the reader how much he is loved. (Sessions 4–6)

In Jesse’s Shoes: Appreciating Kids with Special Needs, Beverly Lewis, Bethany House Publishers, 2007.
A girl is embarrassed by her older brother who is “wired differently” until she “walks in his shoes” and is able to explain what he can do to her peers. Great watercolor illustrations by a gifted storyteller. (Sessions 3, 10)

Julia’s Words, Judith L. Roth, Herald Press, 2009.
A young girl meets a deaf girl at a coastal campground and as their friendship unfolds, they are able to share emotions not just isolated words. This book will help 7–9-year-olds to think through the qualities of a good friend. (Sessions 2, 3, 8)

The Junkyard Wonders, Patricia Polacco, Philomel Books, 2010.
Inspired by a teacher who believes each of them is a genius, a class of special needs students invents something that could convince the whole school they are justifiably proud to be “Junkyard Wonders.” (Session 13)

The Legend of the Easter Egg, Lori Walburg, Zondervan, reprint edition, 2011.
While preparing for Easter in his small prairie town, Thomas hears the story of the resurrection of Jesus and discovers the meaning of new life through the symbolism of the Easter egg. An information page about the traditions and symbols of Lent and Easter is included. (Sessions 4–6)

On That Easter Morning, Mary Joslin, Good Books, 2006.
Beautifully illustrated book about the Easter story. (Sessions 4–6)

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, Katie Smith Milway, Kids Can Press, 2008.
In a small town in Ghana, Kojo and his mother survive on selling firewood. From a loan his mother receives, Kojo asks for a few coins to buy a hen. Kojo sells the eggs and this small beginning leads to Kojo completing his education, getting a larger loan and starting a poultry farm resulting in his being able to hire workers. (Sessions 3, 7)

Plant a Seed of Peace, Rebecca Seiling, Herald Press, 2007.
“Finding God’s Love” finds a pastor needing to love those who were not easy to love. “Showing Hospitality” shows sharing God’s love not only in washing feet but also in showing hospitality to those in need. (Session 3, 8)

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, Claire A. Nivola; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; 2008.
Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, grew up in the highlands of Kenya where trees cloaked the hills, fish filled the streams, and the people tended their gardens. But over the years as more and more land was cleared, Kenya was transformed. Nivola uses watercolor illustrations and lyrical prose to tell the remarkable story of one woman’s effort to change the fate of her land by teaching many to care for it. (Session 9)

The Story of Ruby Bridges, Robert Coles, Scholastic Paperbacks, anniversary edition, 2010.
Ruby must confront the hostility of segregationists when she becomes the first African-American to integrate a white school. Jesus gave her peace as she prayed while walking to school each day. (Session 13)

The Tale of Three Trees, Angela Elwell Hunt, Cook Communications, 2004.
The tale of three trees: a traditional folk tale. Each tree dreamed of what it wanted to become when grown up. In the end the dreams turned out different from what was expected. (Sessions 4–6)

*Ted Studebaker: A Man Who Loved Peace, Joy Hofacker Moore, Herald Press, 1987.
Trace the life of a conscientious objector who followed his religious beliefs in choosing not to fight, served in Vietnam as an agriculturist, and was killed by the Viet Cong. (Sessions 8, 9)

Torchlighters: Richard Wurmbrand Story, DVD, 30 minutes, 2008.
Available from
In war-torn Rumania, churches survived only by giving allegiance to the atheistic Communists who were in control. This pastor was arrested, imprisoned and tortured for years because he refused to cave in and chose to speak up for Christ. After his release from prison, he founded The Voice of the Martyrs which continues to impact the world today. (Sessions 7, 9, 11)

The View from Under the Pew, Diane Winters Johnson, Abingdon Press, 2008.
A seeing eye dog enables a blind person to pastor her church. (Session 13)

Walking with Jesus, Mary Meyer, Herald Press, 1992.
Twenty stories about real people who returned good for evil. (Sessions 8, 9, 11)

*Who is Sam Harrington?, Rick Osborne and K. Christie Bowler, Zondervan, 2000.
All over Coledale, children were doing nice things for each other because they had learned in Sunday school that’s what good Sam Harrington (Good Samaritan) would do! (Sessions 3, 8)

You are Mine, Max Lucado, Crossway, 2001.
Punchinello, first introduced in You are Special, learns a hard but necessary lesson in his new adventure; it’s not what you have that counts, but Whose you are. (Sessions 6, 8, 10)

You Can Be a Friend, Tony and Lauren Dungy, Little Simon Inspirations, 2011.
Jodi’s new neighbor uses a wheelchair. Jodi decides to change her plans for a birthday party at the water park and go to the zoo instead so Hannah can participate. (Sessions 3, 9, 10)

Primary, Middler, Junior Youth

An Angel for Solomon Singer, Cynthia Rylant, Scholastic, 1996.
Life in a New York hotel for men becomes more endurable for Solomon when he is greeted each day by the welcoming smile of the waiter at the Westway Café. (Sessions 8, 11)

Because of Winn-Dixie, DVD, 106 minutes, 2005.
Available on
A very wise 10-year-old girl and her preacher father move to a small southern town where she adopts a stray dog she names Winn-Dixie. The special bond between them grows and rubs off on the eccentric townspeople. Conflicts are resolved, hardened hearts softened, and community healing takes place. (Sessions 3, 10)

*Hero Tales (Volumes 1–4), Dave and Neta Jackson, Bethany House Publishers, 1996–2001.
These books present the stories of those who worked to share the gospel with others. (Sessions 3–13)

*I Heard Good News Today, Cornelia Lehn, Faith & Life Press, 1983.
These stories for children show how God’s messengers take the Good News of Jesus around the world. (Sessions 3–13)

Jeremy’s Egg, DVD, 95 minutes, 1999.
Available from
Jeremy, encumbered with physical and mental disabilities, gives his class a new appreciation for the meaning of Easter. Inspired by the true short story by Ida Mae Kempel. (Sessions 4–6)

The Last Chance Detectives, DVD, 150 minutes, 2004.
Available from
This DVD set includes three episodes of fast-paced adventures teaching children lessons in integrity, courage, and personal faith in God. (Session 8)

*The Loving Arms of God, Anne Elizabeth Stickney, Eerdmans, 2001.
The author uses stories from the Bible to teach children important truths about how God continues to work with and care for his people today. Each chapter also includes a section called “Meeting God” which offers a verse to remember, some questions to discuss, and a suggestion for prayer. (Sessions 1–13)

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Carole Boston Weatherford, Hyperion, 2006.
“I set the North Star in the heavens and I mean for you to be free.” Harriet Tubman who was born into slavery felt she heard these words from God one summer night and she decides to escape. Kadir Nelson’s emotionally charged paintings accompany Weatherford’s lyrical text telling of Tubman’s spiritual journey out of slavery as she feels she hears the voice of God guiding her north to freedom. (Sessions 7–9, 11, 12)

Owen and Mzee: The Language of Friendship, Isabella and Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu, Scholastic Press, 2007.
Owen, a 1-year-old rhino and Mzee, a 130-year-old sea turtle, the most unlikely pair, become exclusive friends after the 2004 tsunami strikes off the coast of Eastern Africa and both need a friend. (Sessions 3, 10)

Second Chances, DVD, 107 minutes, 2003.
Available from
Based on a true story, Second Chances, is the uplifting tale of a 10-year-old girl’s physical and emotional reawakening after a car crash claims her father – and her spirit. Miraculously, things begin to change after Sonny and her mother move next door to a horse farm. Her friendship with Ben, a horse trainer, and a mean spirited horse named Ginger are important to her recovery. (Sessions 8–10)

Stephen’s Test of Faith, DVD, 27 minutes, 2003.
Available from
Twelve-year-old Stephen is mocked and ridiculed for his faith. But that test leads to a new understanding and inner strength that changes his life. (Sessions 6–13)

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, Margaree King Mitchell, Aladdin, 1998.
Time and again Uncle Jed sets aside his dream of opening his own barbershop to help others over the rough spots of life. (Sessions 3, 13)

The Very First Easter, Paul L. Maier, Concordia, 2004.
Christopher learns important details about the miraculous Easter story that help him understand the season’s celebration. (Sessions 4–6)

Why War is Never a Good Idea, Alice Walker, HarperCollins, 2007.
Poet and activist, Alice Walker (The Color Purple), personifies the power and wanton devastation of war in this evocative poem. The compelling paintings illustrate this look at war’s destructive nature and unforeseen consequences. (Session 13)

Youth Adventure Series: The Outsider, DVD, 60 minutes, 1996.
Available from
Matt, an American boy, trying to fit in a British school, finds one person equally determined to stop him from joining his circle of friends. This story gives young people hope and encouragement to deal with trying times. (Sessions 11, 13)


Coals of Fire, Elizabeth Hershberger Bauman, Herald Press, 1954.
A collection of fourteen stories of men and women who lived what they talked by doing good for evil. (Sessions 9, 10, 13)

Fish, L.S. Matthews, Yearling, 2006.
The story begins as a boy is told by his parents that they must leave their adopted home forever. The journey will be hard—but he has no realization of how difficult it will be. As they are ready to leave, he finds a fish in a small brown puddle and decides to take it with him. This is a very unusual story that will appeal to upper elementary students – excellent choice for discussion following reading. (Sessions 7, 13)

*Forbidden Gates: A Story of Stephen, the First Martyr; Denise Williamson, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1990.
An engaging fictional story of a young Jewish boy who learns how to become a real man for God when he meets Stephen, the martyr. (Sessions 7, 9, 11, 13)

Nathan’s Secret, N. Geraldine Plunkett, Brethren Press, 2000.
Based on a true story, the book was written about the Brethren and Mennonite families in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia coping with the fighting between the North and South as it moved into their peaceful valley. Nathan, a ten year old, has to help protect his family after his father leaves home to escape being forced to fight in the Confederate army. Difficult decisions had to be made within families where loyalties might have been to either side in the conflict over slavery. (Sessions 10, 11, 13)

Nory Ryan’s Song, Patricia Reilly Giff, Yearling, 2002.
It is 1845 and Nory Ryan’s family has lived in Ireland for generations. A terrible blight attacks the potato crop and faced with starvation, Nory must summon the courage and ingenuity to find a way to help her family survive. (Sessions 12, 13)

Middler, Junior Youth

*Amina’s Blanket, Helen Dunmore, Crabtree, 2002.
After helping to sew together a blanket to be sent to a country at war, Josie dreams of what life is like for the girls who will receive it. (Sessions 3, 11)

*Cups Held Out, Judith L. Roth, Herald Press, 2006.
A girl and her father drive from South Dakota to Mexico where they encounter poor children and beggars. They ponder their feelings of guilt and their responsibility to those who live in poverty. An excellent resource to begin a discussion on how responsible we are and what can we do to help. (Session 3, 8, 10)

Henry’s Red Sea, Barbara Smucker, Herald Press, 1955.
The story of a boy’s escape from Russia with his family who were Mennonite refugees during World War II. (Sessions 11, 13)

Mr. Lincoln’s Way, Patricia Polacco, Philomel Books, 2001.
“Mean Gene” is a boy who needs a way out of trouble. The kindness and attention of Mr. Lincoln help Eugene overcome his intolerance. (Sessions 3, 8, 11)

Seven Brave Women, Betsy Hearne, Greenwillow Books, 2006.
The author tells of the courageous things the women in her family have done beginning with her Mennonite great, great, great grandmother. (Sessions 3, 11, 12)

Through My Eyes, Ruby Bridges, Scholastic, 1999.
Ruby Bridges tells her own story of what it was like to live through the racial fears and hatred. (Sessions 11–13)

Multiage Reference Books

Daily Life at the Time of Jesus, Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, Abingdon Press, 2001.
The purpose of the book is to bring the reader as close to life as it was lived in the time of Jesus. The many vivid, original illustrations complement the text.

Food at the Time of the Bible, Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, Abingdon Press, 2004.
The book contains an in depth, easy to read survey of every aspect of food in the Bible accompanied by fascinating illustrations and photographs. Also includes authentic recipes from the time of Jesus.

*International Children’s Bible Dictionary, Ronald Youngblood, Thomas Nelson, 2006.
This is a fun and easy to use guide to the words, peoples and places in the Bible.

Manners & Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Daily Life in Bible Times, Victor H. Matthews, Baker Academic, third edition, 2006.
New color illustrations, maps, photos and diagrams make it easy to picture the world of Bible times. The third printing of this popular resource will help readers gain invaluable background information on the Bible’s culture, its people and how they live. Reading level is middler and youth.

The Nazareth Jesus Knew, Joel Kauffmann, Nazareth Village, 2005.
Nazareth Village was constructed to show believers and non-believers alike what Nazareth would have looked like in the days of Jesus. The book contains pictures and illustrations of the village which can be visited today.

Welcome to Israel, Geraldine Mesenas & Frederick Fisher, Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2001.
Presents information on the geography, history, government, economics, people and culture of Israel.