Review and Book Idea
from Lori Stump, DRE
High Plains Church U.U.
Parker, CO

"Thoughts from the DRE: “The RE Giving Tree”         
  For people who love to read, finding out that a favorite author has written a new book, is like Christmas in July – an unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyable surprise. So it is with favorite UU curriculum writers. One of my favorites, Kate Tweedie Covey, from Boulder Valley UU Fellowship, is releasing a new curriculum entitled, “Picture Book Unitarian Universalist” in April 2009.
  It is based on the 36 best picture books for teaching young children about the love, reason, tolerance and good works that make up our faith. Geared toward Kindergarten through 2nd graders, this year long curriculum teaches our younger UUs the art of self-expression, to value individuality, to think for themselves and simplify their lives, and to understand that everything is connected – in fact, radically related. They will hear about people whose novel ideas and discoveries helped to transform our faith – people like Maria Mitchell, Henry David Thoreau, and Fannie Farmer.
  The RE Team has approved the purchase of 4 copies of the curriculum and I have pre-ordered it. ...I have proposed the idea of a RE Giving Tree. Here’s how it will work… I will set up a tree in the fellowship hall and hang pictures of the needed “Picture Books” from the branches. I will include the price – what it will cost to order it new or used from You can then peruse the pictures of the books and prices and decide if you or your family would like to donate money toward a particular book. After you choose one, you pull the picture off the tree and write your name and book title in a notebook which will be next to the tree. Then, you fill out a bookplate which will be attached to the front of your donated book when it arrives. You put your cash or check in an envelope marked, “Picture Book UU” and you’re done!
   The RE Team is getting quite adept at spotting a good curriculum when we see one. (We’ve learned from a few bloopers in the past). And this one looks like a winner. to pass on our values through some great books.

In the Spirit of the Child, Lori

Picture Book U.U.

U.U. Identity for Kindergarteners-2nd Graders
by Kate Tweedie Covey

"I'm using Katie's curriculum this year.  We finished Picture Book UU and are now on the World Religions Picture Book.  It's great!  Thanks Katie for writing it." Karen Brown, Morristown, NJ

36 Fun, Friendly, Concise Sessions
Give me more detail!
Click for sample sessions.

Based on the 36 best picture books for teaching young children about our faith.

Picture Book Unitarian Universalism is based on the following books:

1) The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
2) Old Turtle by Douglas Wood
3) Henry Builds a Cabin by D.B. Johnson
4) Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkof, Craig Hatkof
5) To Everything There is a Season by Leo & Diane Dillon
6) Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson
7) Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
8) If I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
9) Fanny in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson
10) Psalm 23 by Tim Ladwig
11) Over the River and Through the Wood by Lydia Maria Child (Thanksgiving)
12) Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth by Douglas Wood
13) Elijah’s Angel by Michael J. Rosen
14) One Candle by Eve Bunting (Hannuka)
15) The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer (Winter Solstice)
16) This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten (Christmas)
17) On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
18) The Everything Seed by Carole Martignacco
19) Maria’s Comet by Deborah Hopkinson
20) Henry Climbs a Mountain by D.B. Johnson (M.L.King Day)
21) The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
22) St. Valentine by Robert Sabuda (Valentine’s Day)
23) In God’s Name by Sandy Sasso
24) Born with a Bang, the Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story by Jennifer Morgan
25) Families by Susan Kuklin
26) Henry Works by D.B. Johnson
27) All I See is Part of Me by Chara Curtis
28) Spring Equinox by Ellen Jackson
29) The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper
30) Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco (Easter)
31) Earth Day Birthday (Earth Day)
32) From Lava to Life, the Universe Tells our Earth’s Story by Jennifer Morgan
33) Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (Mother’s Day)
34) Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
35) Summer Solstice by Ellen Jackson
36) God in Between by Sandy Eisenburg Sasso

Note: You must order the picture books separately.  You can request the books from your local library or bookstore.  There is also a Listmania list on so that you can order the books used or new. Estimated cost will be between $40.00 and $150.00 for the entire set, depending on whether you order new or used. For one idea on ordering the books, visit the review below.

Your options:
1) To order online: 
Instant digital PDF file $80.00.
Pay with a credit card or PayPal, push  "Add to cart"

(Note: Don't have a PayPal account? No need. Just click on the "Don't have a PayPal Account" button as you check out to pay with your own credit card.)

2) To pay by check:

Digital PDF file, $80.00. 
Print out the order form.
Mail with a check.
(Note: You will receive the digital file by email.)

Sample Sessions to download for free!
#1 - The Big Orange Splot
A witty story of Mr. Plumbean, who lives on a very neat street where all the houses look the same. One day (no one knows why), a seagull drops a can of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean's roof -- and nothing is ever the same.  Children are reminded, in a funny and entertaining way, of the joys of self-expression.

The Big Orange Splot.pdf
The Big Orange Splot.pdf
#3 Henry Builds a Cabin
Walden's chapter on "Economy," by Henry David Thoreau, generates the tale of Henry, a bear,  Henry plans a one-room cabin. When friends like Emerson and Alcott pronounce the cabin "too small," Henry replies, "It's bigger than it looks." He proudly guides them to a vegetable garden ("This will be my dining room") and a winding path to the pond ("This will be the ballroom"). The conclusion finds Henry happily outdoors in his "library,"; he gets under his roof only when it rains. Children are encouraged to think for themselves and to simplify their lives.

Henry Builds a Cabin.pdf
Henry Builds a Cabin.pdf
#18 The Everything Seed
The facts of science and the wonder of myth combine in this unusual creation story written by a U.U. minister that finds the universe in an acorn. The story moves from a plant's origins in a seed to how the universe began. The words offer a unique, cosmic view that celebrates the divine without rejecting science.

Children are encouraged to understand that everything is related.  "To know this at a heart level, to live into it with deep reverence, is my hope for us all.” – author’s note by Rev. Carole Martignacco
The Everything Seed.pdf
The Everything Seed.pdf
From the Introduction to Picture Book UU:
"We are using Picture Book UU Identity with our first/second grade groups for
the first time this year, and we really love it. It's just what we wanted
for this rotation. Katie's picture book lists for World Religions and Bible
Tales are also excellent. Thanks, Katie!" Maria Costello O'Connor, Brookfield, WI

This curriculum is fun, friendly and concise with teachable moments that introduce our faith to young children.

It’s easy for Teachers to use with:
1) Heart melting picture books as the focus of the session.
2) A clear and simple session plan.
3) Ready to copy parent take home sheets.
4) A defined belief, principle and source for each session.
5) Multiple options for activities for advance planners and Saturday night planners.

It’s easy for Directors and Coordinators to use with:
1) An Amazon Listmania™ List of all the Picture Books so you can order them used or new, whichever ones you need.
2) A complete booklist so you can request them from your local bookstore or library.
3) A scripted Parent and Teacher Orientation Session.
4) A list of Options that need Advance Preparation by Session.
5) A sortable spreadsheet of sessions by Principle, Source and  Belief.
6) Web versions of lists so you can customize them.
7) Discounts for multiple copies after your first copy ordered.

It’s easy to encourage multi-age congregational involvement with:
1) A list of special optional visitors who can share their gifts one time with the children, such as a rubber stamper or an astronomer.
2) A list of items that congregants can share with the children one time, such as quilts or a pet turtle.

Plus it’s fun for the children with options for:
Junk sculpture, bells for joy and justice, playdough menorahs, sarong dramatic play, “Pin the Star on the Constellation” game, Milky Way™ Bar meditation, and other creative activities.

I’ve selected the 36 best books that I could find that illustrate our identity.  Each book must meet my high requirements for use in my own Religious Education program.  Each book needs to have engaging illustrations of the right size for reading aloud, use language appropriate for primary aged children, and have the right amount of text.

Each accompanying session includes:
• set up suggestions,
• an entering activity,
• a sharing circle,
• 3 - 6 activity choices,
• a closing statement,
• teacher background information,
• and a parent handout for taking home.

In this introductory section, you will find:
1) How to order the Picture Books
2) Complete Booklist of Picture Books
3) a list of optional things to do in advance,
4) a list of optional special visitors whom you can invite to certain sessions.
5) a script for a Parent or Teacher Orientation and handouts.
6) the Do-Re-Mi Principles song as a poster to hang up in your classroom.
7) suggestions for how to read a picture book to a group of children.

PBUU Downloads - adapt these for your own use!

1) Sortable spreadsheet of each PBUU Session with the Principle, Source, Belief, UU Identity, and Theme represented by the session. Sort to find all the sessions on the "Web of Life," or on our source of "Jewish and Christian heritages."

2) List of Optional Visitors you may wish to invite for use during Parent Orientation or on classroom door. Perhaps there are parents who would like to share their gift of rubber stamping or their hobby of astronomy. As always, these are entirely optional and there are other activity suggestions provided.

3) List of Optional Items for use during Parent Orientation or on the classroom door. Who might have a pet turtle or some angel collectibles? As always, these are entirely optional, and there are other suggestions for activities.
PBUU downloadable documents for adaptation to your own program.
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