Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Mia of Pragmatic Mom.
I’m excited to join Leanna at All Done Monkey in a new series called Parenting and Faith where different bloggers explore religion as parents.
Parenting and Faith
July 2013 – Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
August 2013 – Lisa @ The Squishable Baby
September 2013 – Erica @ What Do We Do All Day
October 2013 – Amanda @ MarocMama
I grew up with a mishmash of religious education. My best friend in 2nd grade, Wendy, was Mormon, so I used to attend her Mormon after school class with her. My mother is Buddhist so we’d go to Buddhist services from time to time, usually for weddings and funerals of relatives. The neighborhood kids went to the Presbyterian Church down the street and I went to Sunday School there. I loved the graphic novels of the Old Testament and each Sunday School class, we’d get one installment which ended on a cliff hanger. In college, I attended Catholic Mass with my best friend whom I grew up with and happened to end up at the same college. I got invites in college to celebrate a Greek Orthodox Easter and Passover. Passover remains one of my favorite holidays — a fabulous dinner and a story!
My husband’s grew up in a family of Korean Baptists. A Korean church is both cultural and religious, uniting disparate and far-flung Koreans across the area. It’s also about food as much as it is about religion. He, however, rejected it for the church of golf as he grew older.
When it came time to introduce religion and spirituality to our kids, we did not have a common religion nor a united church attendance philosophy. I “shopped” for churches when we first moved to the suburbs, finally settling on an Unitarian church that seemed very accepting of all walks of life but by then, my children’s interest in church had waned. They’d heard from their friends that church was “boring” and it was a struggle to get anyone to go.
At the end of the day, I use children’s books to solve my parenting issues so I started researching and collecting books on World Religions. My approach is to keep a collection of books at the ready, and whip them out whenever someone has a question.
World Religions for Kids Book by Book
Easter was a big mystery to my kids and frankly, I’m not so conversant on the New Testament as I am on the Old. My kids wanted to know what is Easter and whether or not Jesus is the Son of God or really God in disguise.
I used this book to answer their question:
The Very First Easter by Paul L. Maier
The Gold Medallion Award-winning team of the renowned ancient historian and the gifted illustrator make the story of Jesus death and resurrection come alive for children aged 5 to 10. Difficult questions are asked, reasonable answers given. For family reading or religious education.
I was able to explain the significance of Easter to my kids when queried but just barely. I obviously need to bone up on this book which I own so I have no excuse for next year!
As to whether or not Jesus is the son of God or God in disguise, I’m really not sure. In other religions, god is often in disguise like in The Fantastic Adventures of Krisna by Demi
The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna tells the enchanting tale of the child Krishna, who is sent by the God Vishnu to aid humanity. Hidden amongst the poor cowherds, Krishna uses his miraculous powers to fight an evil demon king who has overthrown the peaceful kingdom of Mathura. The story of Krishna, dating to the 8th century BCE, and forming an integral part of Hinduism, is beautifully brought to life by award-winning author and illustrator, Demi.
We used this book to understand the Hindu religion which came up from reading the Percy Jackson-like action adventure book Ghost Leopard: A Kids’ Magic Fantasy Action Adventure (#1) by Lars Guignard.
I love this first book of what seems like a series that emulates The Kane Chronicles but places the action and mythology in India. Guignard went to boarding school in India so you also get a real flavor of life in India mixed with magic, Hindu gods and time travel adventure. It’s a heady mix! [chapter book, ages 7 and up]
My middle daughter, PickyKidPix, had the most questions (as she tends to do) about religion so we used Mary Pope Osborne (of the Magic Treehouse Series — she was a World Religion major!) to enlighten us. We read about one world religion a day for about a week. It was a fantastic overview.
One World, Many Religions : The Way We Worship by Mary Pope Osborne
I do think that Bible stories are important for understanding cultural references. We’ve used a few children’s Bible story books for bedtime reading and my kids like the stories, especially the old Testament. We used My First Read-Aloud Bible by Penny Boshoff when my kids were young.
Designed for children and parents to share, this Bible storybook combines simple retellings of more than fifty stories paired with basic learning skills for young children. Parents can help their children master concepts including opposites, number recognition, rhyming words, and context clues while sharing the basics of faith. Talking points, songs and activities, and parent notes make this the perfect book to turn to again and again.
There are many great Bible story books for kids and this one does the trick nicely.
And, this post reminds me to get the graphic novel version as well. Truly, graphic novels really get kids reading.
The Bible by Sheldon Mayer
In 1975, “DC Comics” published a comics adaptation of the Bible as part of a series of tabloid-sized comic books. This first book in the projected series adapted the earliest chapters of the book of Genesis, including the stories of “The Garden of Eden”, the Flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, for the first time, DC reprints this hard-to-find classic in a deluxe hardcover edition.
You knew I had to have a graphic novel version of the Bible, right?!
What is God? by Etan Boritzer, illustrated by Robbie Marantz
For the philosophical child who wonders what is God? and how different religions are the same or different, this advanced picture book gives a gentle and sensitive overview including the different holy books.
What World Religion books do you like for your kids? Please share! I could really use them! Thank you!
p.s. You can practically build your entire world religion book shelf with just Demi books.
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You can read more from Mia on her parenting blog: PragmaticMom, Education Matters; her Asian American Blog: JadeLuckClub, Celebrating Asian American Creativity!; her SEO Group Blog: CoffeeShopBloggers, The S.O.S. for SEO; and her Newton Blog (NEW URL!): I Love Newton, Sharing The Great Things About Living in Newton!