Saturday, February 8, 2014


Maya Ajmera
Magda Nakassis
Cynthia Pon
Published:  2009
I was worried as I read this book.  There is so much I don't know about my own faith, how I could I talk about the faith of others!?!  The pictures raise so many questions in me.  The Buddhist novice is so young!  Was he chosen?  Did he choose this for himself?  How does he really feel?  How do you prepare for prayer at the mosque?  Why is that boy washing his hands?  Is he washing his hands?  What does that mask in Guatemala symbolize?  Why do some Jewish boys wait until they are three to get their first haircuts?  ...  I have more, too.

I could see this being a conversation in my class that would be tied to the conversation on race (Let's Talk About Race), ethnicity, culture, our similarities, and our differences.  This would be a great opportunity to do research on a specific country and the beliefs of the people there.  The back of the book also includes much information.  This information is a start at answering my questions.  However, I wish there was more information.

I am interested in having my students research people that they would like to help.  They could use these photographs to find what interests them, what they want to learn more about, what they relate to, what they don't understand, and then use that to start researching.  I can definitely see my 3rd graders using this book as an introduction to a unit.  This book would be difficult for a child in 3rd grade to read alone, though.  This book would be difficult not because the words are difficult, but because there needs to be conversation with this book.  Explanation of the different faiths and countries would definitely be required.  Yes, a lot of information is in the back of the book, but I know that many of my 3rd graders would not turn back there for a reference.  A discussion of this book would require many more books and websites for the children to continue learning.

As I look at this book, most of my questions were about Buddhism.  I read Siddhartha in high school and loved it, but I didn't learn about the role of children in Buddhism.  Now, I want to learn more.  Another book that makes me ask questions and makes me keep reading.

Check this book out from the library!

1 comment:

Alissa McCormick said...

I agree with you that this book would be difficult for even my 2nd graders to read independently because conversation needs to go hand-in-hand with this text. However, I think if you read it aloud to your class first and had those important conversations, then they would love to explore the photographs and background information further. I will try it out this week with my students if you will!