Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Religious Book Bombs...Or Maybe Just What We Needed...

I feel very sacrilegious saying I found some religious book bombs, but I really did....or maybe I didn't. We will verbally process this together.

1. Creation by Gennady Spirin. First of all I loved this book. It was a visual masterpieces and spiritually challenging for me, as an adult. But my kids could not relate. The words for this book came directly from the Bible,how can you go wrong! But, for 3 and 4-year-old didn't connect. I can see owning this as a coffee table book. Or using it as an opener for a group discussion, meditation, etc.

2. Jonah and the Two Great Fish by Mordicai Gerstein. Ok, so this version of the story involves two whales, and I think it must be based from Jewish literature/mythology. I have to admit I'm a bit ignorant in this area. My oldest did love the pictures and the language and words per page were right at his level. However, I was frustrated that he was learning a version different from the original Biblical account, as far as the versions of the Bible I read etc. Or am I wrong? Was it always two whales that took turns swallowing Jonah? I'm really wanting to know the Jewish tradition behind this story. I should take the time to do a little research.

3. Lastly, David and Goliath retold by Mary Auld. Ok, I have mixed feeling about this book. For my kids, there were too many words on a page, but I think for elementary kids it would be perfect. However, the pictures were great for me to modify the storyline and make it preschool appropriate. Everything was going great until I turned to the picture where David is holding the beheaded Goliath by his hair and there is blood dripping off his serrated neck. Nothing like a bit of gore and violence before bed. But, I was the one who checked out the book. I should know better since there isn't anything very G-rated about David and Goliath. Except, I remember singing the Sunday school song about five little stones and not realizing I was doing a jig to a murderous tale. Guess I wasn't being very discerning at the library this last visit.

BUT! I did have a very good conversation with my oldest about God because of this book. We discussed the Philistines and how they didn't like God. (Or believe in the God of Israel.) This was a new thought for my son. I've often wondered when he'd realize that not everyone likes, loves, or even believes in God. I was a bit worried about his first encounter with a friend at school who might let him know that his family's beliefs are not held by everyone. He wanted to know why the Philistines didn't like God. I told him that lots of people don't like God. He asked why. I said, "Well, they don't want to do what God wants them to do. They like making their own choices in life even if those choices are bad and even if those choices hurt other people." This conversation continued and got much more relevant when I talked about how I don't let my son do everything he wants because I want something better for him. Examples were being mean to his brother, hitting other kids, making huge messes in my kitchen etc. Basically a whole conversation about selflessness and thinking of others first.

So, actually, this book was exactly what we needed.

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