Children’s Literature and Guided Questions
Picture Book for K-3
Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed (Philomel Books, 2008)
Pete, a perfectly predictable pig, discovers the blessing of friendship with Pickles, the Elephant, who gives his life new meaning.
1. How do Pete and Pickles help each other, by just being who they are?
2. Who’s one person who has made your life better, even if you hadn’t expected they would?
3. Pickles liked dandelions. Did these become important to Pete too? Why or why not?
4. What would you give someone as a free gift (like dandelions) to appreciate them or bless them? What free gift (like dandelions) would you like to receive from someone?
5. Why would you give a blessing to someone? Who’s someone you know who deserves a blessing?
For Grades 4-7
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press, 2000)
India Opal, and her father, a preacher, move to Florida, and are adopted by a dog, Winn-Dixie, who reteaches them they have many blessings in their life. (Notes: also a movie with a decent adaptation. The author has said if she were to identify religiously she would definitely be a Unitarian Universalist.)
1. How is Winn-Dixie a blessing to India Opal and her father?
2. How are the other characters a blessing for India Opal?
3. How is life for India Opal like a Littmus Lozenge—sweet and sad all together? Is that true for you?
4. What are some blessings you’ve received unexpectedly? Have you given a blessing to someone and surprised them?
5. If you were going to give a blessing to someone what could you do?
Other worthy books:
Grades 1-5 Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco (Philomel Books, 1992) The children seen as troublemakers prove to be a blessing a for a shop owner whom they befriend.
Grades 3-7 Mother Theresa by Demi(Simon & Schuster, 2005) The life and gifts of Mother Theresa to the world.
Grade K-3 Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus’ Name amen by James Howe, illustrated b Catherine Stock (Atheneum Books, 2004) A young girl from an interfaith family remembers her beloved grandfather in her own way.
Grades 2-6 Howard Thurman’s Great Hope by Kai Jackson Issa, illustrated by Arthur L. Dawson (Lee and Lowe Books, 2008) The childhood of the theologian who taught Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and the community of people who supported him throughout his early life.
Grades K-3A Child’s Book of Blessings and Prayers collected by Eliza Blanchard, illustrated by Rocco Baviera(Skinner Books, 2008) UU minister Eliza Blanchard with a collection of actual blessings and prayers for all occasions.