Jul 222013

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.

She says, “I’m starting a new series: “Parenting and Faith.” I am interpreting this very broadly, to include those who might not be religious but have a guiding philosophy. Could focus on a particular event or practice, or be a more general post about how your faith or beliefs influence your parenting. Could be what in your background you’d like to pass on – or not! Looking forward to reading them!”
Since my parenting is unconventional in the faith department, I am also looking forward to these posts. I’m sharing the books we use for World Religion study since we “home school” faith.
parenting and faith

Parenting and Faith

April 2013:- Where There Is Love – Christi @ Learning to Be the Light

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.

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

world religions for kids, parenting and faith

I am an Amazon Affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.



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!

You can also follow her on Twitter: PragmaticMom, JadeLuckClubCoffeeShopBloggers; Facebook: PragmaticMom, JadeLuckClub, CoffeeShopBloggers; and LinkedIn: Mia Wenjen

  11 Responses to “World Religions for Kids One Book at a Time: Post from Pragmatic Mom {Parenting and Faith}”

  1. I am amazed at how you take spirituality so lightly…unfortunately there are alot of false religions out there…Christianity is the only true religion that is based on experience…my experience and my walk with faith in Jesus…

  2. This is a great guest post. We are non-religious, but I believe that religions reflect our cultural heritage, and it’s important for my daughter to learn about them. At 6, she is a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology, but we also read books for all Jewish and Christian holiday, plus a collection of books on other faiths. I agree with Mia – Demi’s books are awesome and we also like The Bible Stories illustrated by Tommy De Paola.

  3. Cool series! Can’t wait to read more!

  4. Thanks so much for letting me guest post Leanna! We are trying to learn more about world religions so I love your series!

  5. Hi Brenda,
    I think that the spirit of religion is tolerance and acceptance and if you study the different major world religions you will find that they all speak to that. I’m not sure what a false religion is … but it’s probably the dogma that caused many, many wars.

    To say that there is only one true religion and that everyone must follow that is not really what the holy books of all religions teach.

  6. … at least that is what we are learning as we study world religions! 🙂

  7. Thanks for these titles – I’ll be pinning this post to come back to when we start studying world religions in our homeschool!

  8. […] books they will be showcasing for MCBBD. Angels by Alexis York Lumbard  and illustrated by Demi The Fantastic Tales of Krishna by Demi Jump Into a Book has a past post on Children of the Tipi: Life in the Buffalo […]

  9. […] The Fantastic Tales of Krishna by Demi […]

  10. Great post!!! I’m going to check our local library for some of these books this week. I’ve been trying to figure out how to introduce our daughter to religion (my husband and I both grew up casually christian but are not religious now). It’s such an important concept to understand because it plays such a huge role in daily life and conflict around the world. But, I had no idea where to start and which books would be good. Thanks so much for this round-up!

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