written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
In Chicken Sunday, the narrator is little girl who has made her two neighbors her brothers, by a solemn ceremony, and adopted their grandmother as her own. For Easter, the children want to buy their grandmother a beautiful hat she often admires in a shop window, but don't have enough money. They decide to ask the shopkeeper if they can do chores to earn the hat, but unfortunately for them, right as they arrive at the store to ask, a group of boys are throwing eggs at the backdoor and run away. Mr. Kodinski, the shop owner, thinks they are the culprits and call their grandmother, Miss Eula. Miss Eula believes that the children are telling the truth, though they can't tell her why they were there or it would spoil their surprise. She tells the children that Mr. Kodinski, with the hard life he's had, doesn't deserve to be so mistreated and that since he believes the children are responsible, they will have to show him that they are good people. The children decide to use eggs--the very things that got them in trouble--to make things right. A lovely story about kindness and love that features two big cultural elements of Easter: Easter hats and Easter eggs.
written by Nikki Grimes, with woodcuts by David Frampton
This collection of poems tells Christian Easter story from Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem on what is now called Palm Sunday, to the priests conspiracy to have him put to death for what they felt was the greater good, to the Passover/Last Supper, and Jesus' death, burial, resurrection. A good introduction to the Christian roots of the Easter celebration, this book is can also serve as a retelling of the story of Easter for those of the Christian faith. The woodcuts are lovely and feature a brown-skinned Jesus, even if he is not particularly Middle Eastern-looking (though that is debatable). Each poem is prefaced by a short explanation of what is happening at that point in the story and an Author's Note by Grimes poses some of the unanswered questions and the significance of the Easter story to Christians. Backmatter includes a "Notes and References" section that gives biblical references for each poem and further explanations.