Children’s Literature and Guided Questions
Picture Book for K-3
The People Could Fly American Black Folktales told by Virginia Hamilton, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon . (Alfred A Knopf, 1985)
The story for the younger readers is also the story for the book, “The People Could Fly.” There are many other worthy folktales in the book.
The story of how African-Americans in slave times hoped for the miracle of flight to escape horrible conditions.
1. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why would you want it?
2. What is a miracle? Have you ever been completely surprised by something you thought could not possibly happen?
3. Why did the people in the story need a miracle, need the ability to fly?
4. Has there been a time you’ve hoped for something to happen that you knew probably wouldn’t happen?
5. If you could give a miracle to someone, who would it be? What would you give them?
For Grades 4-7
Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story by Marci Stillerman, illustrated by Pesach Gerber (Hachai Publishing, 1998)
A true story of Jewish prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp recreate the miracle of Chanukah with nine spoons.
1. What do you know about the Chanukah story and it being a miracle? How does this story compare to it? (Note: you might have to tell them the story of Maccabees)
2. Why do you think the Chanukah story and this story are so important to those who are Jewish and other people?
3. What is a miracle? How is it different from magic or a folk tale or hard work?
4. Can you think of something that has happened in your life that has seemed like a miracle? Do you still see it as a miracle?
5. Is being alive a miracle? What every day things are there that surprise you that they exist?
Other worthy books:
Grades K-3 The Miracles of Jesus by Tomie DePaolo (Puffin Books, 2008) A retelling of 12 of the miracles of Jesus.
Grades 2-6 How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head by Harish Johari and Vatsala Sperling and illustrated by Pieter Weltevrede (Bear Cub Books, 2003) The story from Hinduism of the miracle of how Ganesh came to be.
Grade 1-7 Stories of the Prophets in the Holy Qu’ran by Ruth Woodhall and Shahada Sharelle Abdul Haqq, illustrated by Shahada Sharelle Abdul Haqq, (Tughra Books, 2015) Retellings of miraculous stories from the Qur’an.
Grades 2-6 Every Day on Earth: Fun Facts that Happen Every 24 Hours by Steve Murrie and Matthew Murrie and illustrated by Tom Bloom (Scholastic Books, 2011) Not every fact in here applies, but some of the nuggets of information do seem miraculous. They could be a way to inspire awe.
Grades 5+ The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins and illustrated by Dave McKean (Free Press, 2011) For the skeptic of miracles
Grades K-5 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams (Harper Collins, 2012, original from 1951) A spider writes on her web to save a pig.
Grades 3-7 The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford (Little, Brown, 1961) Two dogs and a cat travel across Canada to reunite with their owner.
Grades K-6 Life On Earth: The Story ofEvolution by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) The miracle of Evolution explained in glorious illustrations.