________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 19. . . .January 22, 2010

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Buddhism in Thailand. (Families and Their Faiths).

Frances Hawker & Sunantha Phusomsai. Photography by Bruce Campbell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5023-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5006-2 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Buddhism-Thailand-Customs and practices-Juvenile literature.
Thailand-Religious life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Christianity in Mexico. (Families and Their Faiths).

Frances Hawker & Noemi Paz. Photography by Bruce Campbell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5024-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5007-9 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Catholics-Mexico-Customs and practices-Juvenile literature.
Mexico-Religious life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Hinduism in Bali. (Families and Their Faiths).

Frances Hawker & Putu Resi. Photography by Bruce Campbell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5025-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5008-6 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Hinduism-Indonesia-Customs and practices-Juvenile literature.
Bali Island (Indonesia)-Religious life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Islam in Turkey. (Families and Their Faiths).

Frances Hawker & Leyla Alicavusoqlu. Photography by Bruce Campbell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5026-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5009-3 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Islam-Turkey-Customs and practices-Juvenile literature.
Turkey-Religious life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Judaism in Israel. (Families and Their Faiths).

Frances Hawker & Daniel Taub. Photography by Bruce Campbell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5027-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5010-9 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Judaism-Israel-Customs and practices-Juvenile literature.
Israel-Religious life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Sikhism in India. (Families and Their Faiths).

Frances Hawker & Mohini Kaur Bhatia. Photography by Bruce Campbell.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5028-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5011-6 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Sikhism-India-Customs and practices-Juvenile literature.
India-Religious life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   

excerpt:

During Ramadan everyone goes to the mosque after dinner. Each night of the month the Imam reads part of the Qur'an.

Women usually pray at home, but during Ramadan we go to the mosque. We pray in an upstairs balcony, separate from the men. Women must cover their whole body except the face, hands, and feet, when we are praying. (From
Islam in Turkey.)

 

The series "Families and Their Faiths" provides an excellent simplified overview of six of the world's major organized religions. Each book highlights "a family, a child, a celebration" in a different country. Having spent time living in each of the communities in the series, the author and photographer are able to present a very personal and intimate look at each of the children, focussing on the role religion plays in their everyday lives.

      Co-authorship credit is given in each book to a member of the local community. In most cases, it appears that the co-author is a parent of the child in the story. The stories are narrated by the child's grandparent. This narration, combined with the photographs showing everyday family life, provides a very accessible introduction for junior age students to six of the major religions of the world.

      Told from the child's perspective, each book presents the home and school life of a child and includes the child's participation in one major religious celebration. Each book also includes a table of contents, a simple glossary and index, and notes for teachers and parents. The result is a very readable and useful resource.

      A major strength of the series is the balanced and unbiased presentation that the author and photographer have achieved. The children are clearly happy with their faith and their life. The gender representation is fairly evenly split with three girls, two boys and one brother and sister combination. Gender differences in the religious practices are included in the narratives.

      Although each book stands on its own, readers of the entire series will be able to compare and contrast several common elements in the children's lives, including the role that faith plays in their lives. By referring to the notes at the back of the book, readers will also be able to compare the origins and main principles of the different religions in the series.

      Buddhism in Thailand focuses on eight-year-old Baan who lives with five of his siblings and his grandparents. The story focuses on Baan's decision to become a Buddhist monk during the rainy season. We follow Baan as he learns about Buddhism and prepares to take his vows. At the end of the rainy season, there is a leaving ceremony, and he returns to being an ordinary boy with his family, but he plans to return to learn more about his religion.

      Christianity in Mexico tells the story of Ariceli as she prepares for her first communion. Ariceli's village celebrates the Fiesta of Saint Anthony, which lasts for 13 days. There are fireworks and dancing, and, on the final day, Ariceli takes her first communion.

      In Hinduism in Bali, seven-year-old Yoni practices the art of Hindu dancing, culminating in her performance at the special ceremony at the open-air temple. The ceremony is to bless and purify the temple.

      Islam in Turkey is the only book in the series that focuses on two children, Metehan and Ay'e. Metehan, who is slightly older than his sister, Ay'e, chooses to fast for the first time for four days during Ramadan. In Turkey, Ramadan ends with a festival called Seker Bayrami, which means Sugar Festival. Children go door-to-door collecting candy.

      In Judaism in Israel, readers meet nine-year-old Asher who lives with his family in Jerusalem. Asher attends synagogue, spends time with family and friends during Shabbat, and celebrates Passover, a seven-day festival commemorating the freeing of the Jewish slaves from ancient Egypt.

      In Sikhism in India, readers encounter 10-year-old Pulkit and her family who live in the Punjab. Pulkit helps to celebrate Guru Nanak's birthday by making flower garlands, worshipping at the Gurdwara, and preparing and serving food at the Langar after worship. The festivities end with fireworks.

      Whether purchased separately or as a series, these books, with their large, clear black on white text and beautiful photographs filled with details of everyday life, will be an excellent addition to libraries looking for an entry level look at six of the world's major religions.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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