I've decided to make this the first of what I hope will be a series of posts about children's books with spiritual themes. I am extremely picky when it comes to sharing spiritual books with kids. I always check for subtle as well as overt messages that the book may be sending. It's one thing to read an adult book with ideas that I don't think are healthy - I am old enough to process it. Kids, however, are more impressionable and can be greatly affected by what they are told or what they read.
When my older kids were young, I tended to avoid the subject. I was still of the mindset that organized religion was not healthy or useful for me or them. As you know, my views on that have changed. I now think spirituality is important. But you really have to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
Also, a lot of what I've seen in the blog world is directed at adults. While there are some pockets of people discussing youth (i.e. teenage) issues, the youngest ones are not often part of the online world. As a mom and teacher, I am very interested in what is out there for the youngest of us. And so begins my new series looking into children's spiritual books...
The first book I'm going to talk about is one that my 6yo son borrowed from the children's "library" at the Friends church we've been attending. It is called This Little Light of Mine
and is illustrated by E.B. Lewis. This is a wonderfully illustrated version of the African-American spiritual song of the same name. I love it for two reasons. First of all, the illustrations are amazing. The characters, all African-American, are so life-like and moving. I used the illustrations to help my son understand the words. Which brings up the second reason why I love this book and the song in general. I was able to talk to my son about the Light that each of us has inside and how we can let it shine wherever we go. We looked at the illustrations and I asked, "How is he letting his light shine in this picture?" The pictures show the main character helping an older woman who has dropped her bag of groceries, being friendly to people he passes in the street, and finally, helping a boy who looks lonely and sad to make new friends and be happy. The book shows kid-appropriate ways of shining your light out into the world. I told my son that this book shows why we go to church in the first place...to remember that we have a bit of Light inside of each of us and the way we should live is to share that light with the world.
Labels: Books, Quakerism