Webinar: Children’s Literature for Ministry

Webinar: Children’s Literature for Ministry

Children’s literature can be used in a variety of ways from preaching to children’s chapel and far beyond. In this webinar, Gretchen Wolff Pritchard and Miriam McKenney share practical wisdom on using children’s literature for ministry in your context. They will share thoughts on why these books are such an incredible resource for church work, how to select books, and how to share these stories in meaningful ways.

Webinar Recording

You can find the video archived on YouTube, and the slides are shared via Google Drive.
A huge thanks to our presenters Gretchen Wolff Pritchard and Miriam McKenney!

Resources from This Webinar

Storypath offers lectionary links, book reviews, lesson plans using children’s books, and other ideas for using children’s literature in different settings

Teaching Cultural Compassion is a database of picture books that enable children to know the innate dignity of all humans and that anyone can be the hero of the story. The database is continuously curated by a United Methodist deacon, who selects books that represent girls, persons of color, diverse abilities, etc. 

Other Resources
Books & Teaching Tips On Race And Racism from Building Faith

Explore Baptism With Children Through Storytelling And Picture Books from Building Faith

The Moral of the Story article from The Sunday Paper (Gretchen’s Blog)

Processing Grief And Death With Picture Books from Building Faith

Meet Tomie dePaola video has a rich (but brief!) description of children’s literature and what it has to offer us

More Resources
Publishers Adapt Policies To Help Educators – A post that outlines several publishers’ changes to their policies in light of COVID-19 and the increase in online teaching. 

Picture Books, The Way of Love, & Becoming Beloved Community – A post from Miriam McKenney on some great books to check out!

Seeing ourselves in picture books – A post by Miriam McKenney explaining how we see ourselves in picture books and how that can help us grow. 

Godly Play and the language of Christian faith by Jerome Berryman – Briefly discusses the premises of Godly Play and the “wondering” that was mentioned in the webinar, which can help children reflect theologically. 

I Wonder: Engaging a Child’s Curiosity about the Bible by Elizabeth F. Caldwell – Explores helpful questions to ask oneself in choosing books. 

Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present from the The Association for Library Service to Children – Miriam and Gretchen both recommend this list to find some of the best children’s books.

The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling by Cody C. Delistraty – An article cited by Miriam on why we’re drawn to fiction.

Books on this topic
Offering the Gospel to Children by Gretchen Wolff Pritchard 

Helping Children Find God: A Book for Parents, Teachers, and Clergy by Helen Oppenheimer

Michele Landsberg’s Guide to Children’s Books by Michele Lansberg

Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups by Alison Lurie

Inside Picture Books by Ellen Handler Spitz

Presenters & Host

Gretchen Wolff Pritchard is the creator of The Sunday Paper and Beulah Land, author and artist of Offering the Gospel to Children and other books. Gretchen retired in 2008, after 30 years of parish ministry, and continues to operate her home publishing business, The Sunday Paper. Gretchen writes, “As teacher, artist, storyteller and lay minister, I have always been first and foremost an evangelist: that is, my vocation is to invite children and adults to hear the Good News and respond with wonder, joy, faith, hope and love.”

Miriam Willard McKenney and her husband, David, met at the Union of Black Episcopalians conference in 1981. Together, they find joy parenting their three girls: Nia, 24; Kaia, 20; and Jaiya, 16. Miriam works as Forward Movement’s Development Director and is on the Way of Love working group. She’s also the Youth Minister at Calvary Episcopal Church in Cincinnati. Miriam followed God’s call to be a librarian, and was a children’s librarian and school media specialist for more than 20 years before joining Forward Movement’s staff in 2010. She loves to evangelize about her love of outdoor fitness, even in extreme temperatures — as there is no bad weather, just incorrect clothing choices.

Sarah Bentley Allred will serve as our host for this webinar. Sarah received her MDiv. from Virginia Theological Seminary in May 2019. She now serves as Director of Children and Family Ministries at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina and as the Associate for Christian Formation and Discipleship for Lifelong Learning. She loves local coffee shops, board games, the beach, and exploring new places with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace.

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