Who could possibly think that they could write a children’s book about religion and captivate the targeted audience? Well, Maya Ajmera, Magda Nakassis, and Cynthia Pon have done just that with their work in Faith.
As I began to read this book I was skeptical. I couldn’t imagine how they could possibly connect the variety of religious practices and make it engaging for children. How would a child be able to understand such a cultural system? Quite simply, the photos tell the story. The book focuses on a facet that is common to many religions. There is a two page spread dedicated to that facet with captivating photographs. Each photograph has a small caption that explains how it relates to the common aspect featured on the page. It also states where in the world the people are from.
One example shared was, “We celebrate with festivals.” One photo shows a Native American potlatch ceremony in the United States. Another shows children celebrating Buddha’s birthday in South Korea. There were kids of different faiths that celebrate Diwali with fireworks in India. There was also a full page photo of a child peeking out from under an Easter mask in Guatemala. There is no doubt that children will connect with these events. However, the events may not look like the events celebrated here in the United States. I am quite certain my own children would be intrigued by the child wearing a costume with the mask to celebrate Easter. I am sure they would be asking, “Where is the Easter Bunny?” I know children will ask, What is a potlatch ceremony? What does Diwali mean? There is no doubt in my mind that this book will engage children in conversation that would promote critical thinking. It will also help us accept and understand each other in our diverse world. Our children will have many questions, but in the end, I am certain that they will come away with a powerful message. We are all different, but we are also very much alike.
This book does an excellent job of introducing content about religion. The content includes prayer, chanting and singing, reading, listening and learning, cleansing, holy places, holidays and festivals, important events, dress, food and drink, caring for and helping others. It includes a wide variety of religions from around the world. It is respectful to all and it doesn’t promote any one religion over another. The back matter provides information about each facet that was illustrated in the book with a little more depth. There is also a glossary that helps define terms a little more clearly.
This book promotes awareness, acceptance, appreciation, and understanding about different religions.