Monday, April 6, 2009

Faith by Maya Ajmera, Magda Nakassis, and Cynthia Pon

When you think of a children's book about different religions, you may expect two-page spreads featuring a different religion on each spread, dull narratives about each religion, and maybe a picture or two. Boring, right?

Luckily, The Global Fund for Children, has brought us a look at different religions in a completely different, engaging, and unique way. Instead of focusing on one religion at a time, Faith, gives us glimpses of different faiths by demonstrating how they're alike.

Two-page spreads feature a different element of faith, such as festivals or food and drink, and full-color pictures with extended captions show children around the world celebrating their faith as it relates to the topic. For example, on the spread about festivals, we see a smiling child in Guatemala peeking out from an Easter mask, children in India celebrating Diwali, children in South Korea celebrating Buddha's birthday, and children in the United States participating in a Native American potlatch ceremony.

What is most compelling about this book is that through very few words, it gives children an overview of the world's faiths and celebrates diversity and religious tolerance. The text is sparse and lets the beautiful pictures do the explaining, so don't expect to find dense explanations of the different faiths. Instead of feeling like a lesson, children will be captivated by the pictures and will likely have many questions about the different children, countries, and religions featured in the book. The back matter includes a brief paragraph about the different elements featured in the book as well as a glossary of different faiths and religious terms. I'd recommend this as a jumping off point for discussion of different religions and can see it being used at both home and in the classroom.

The Global Fund for Children has given us a real treasure with their latest book, Faith. I highly recommend it.

More information:
  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing (February 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1580891780
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580891783

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  1. Thanks for this review. I've been looking for just such a book (an introduction to religious literacy for young children). I'd heard of this title, and your positive review has me thinking this is the one.

  2. I love your blog! Thankyou!!