by: Maya Ajemera
Faith is a nonfiction book about different types of faiths around the world. The book identifies the many types of faiths around the world, the way they are celebrated, the holy books that are read, the holiday's, and holy places in the different faiths of the world. It also shows what the people of those faiths wear, eat, and care for others.
I loved this book because is reminded me of a World Religion class I took while living in London, England. I was able to study different religions and visit their temples, including a Mosque, Hindu Temple, a Wicca Meeting House, and many others. This first hand account opened my eyes to how others worshiped and helped to teach me to understand those of other Religions. It was also a great time for me to reflect on my own Faith. Living in London I was surrounded by so many different nationalities and faiths. I have to admit that I was terrified when I learned that our flat was right next to the Muslim street and everyone who lived there and or had a shop there were in fact Muslim. Some more strict than others. Part of me was scared because it was Jan. 2012 so there were many who did not like Americans and would not serve us on that street due to the events of 2011. I was also terrified though because of what I had heard about Muslims from those around me. A book like this could have given me my first glimpse into how others live and how they can be very similar in ways to myself. It could also have prevented me from getting such skewed views of certain religious beliefs.
I love how this book captures children in their faith and the many ways that people can celebrate and study their own religion. In the back of the book there is a world map highlighting the different places represented in the book as well as an outline for the elements of faith and different words to known while reading through the book. The book has photographs that are absolutely stunning. The photographs capture each faith and are complete with little captions to describe what is happening and the area of the world it was taken. I love how the pictures are of children and how they participate in their Faith. I believe this makes the book very easy to relate to for children. They can make connections and comparisons to the children in the book. I think it also does a good job of representing the different faith's equally. Each page shows several different places and religious beliefs. This is also done as a way for children to question what is going on in the pictures and maybe even give them an interest that they could further research.
Although I think the book is done beautifully and as I said earlier could have helped me to understand different religions, I also think I would have a hard time in using it in my classroom as a teaching tool. I can't exactly put into words why I would not want to share it and maybe it is because I have had several encounters with parents when just teaching about the various ways that people celebrate holiday's even though that was in the NC Kindergarten Curriculum. I believe it is a great book to show difference and help teach tolerance for those differences, however I am not sure I could use it in my classroom. Religion is a touchy subject for so many and it hurts me to say I would not teach with this book but I think it is a great book to have available in a library for students to check out if they are interested in it.
I did visit Maya Ajmera's website and I believe she has many excellent books that I would probably order to help teach diversity and tolerance of others.