Maya Ajmera, author
Maya Ajmera is the creator and spokesperson for Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World and co-author of the global education guide, Raising Children to Become Caring Contributors to the World. Maya is the founder and executive director of SHAKTI for Children. In the January 1999 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Maya was named among "A new guard of non-profit leaders...that will shape the charity world in the next century."
Read more about Maya.
Cynthia Pon, author
Cynthia Pon is the director of Global Fun for Children Books. She is the co-author of Children of the U.S.A. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Read more about Cynthia.
Magda Nakassis, author
Magda Nakassis worked for Global Fund for Children Books, helping to develop the popular Global Babies, among other books. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Read more about Magda.
- NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
- ILA Notable Books for a Global Society
- Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, Outstanding mention
- CLSA Rodda Book Award for Children
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
This impeccably designed introduction to spiritual practices around the world provides a superb way to show children that there are many means of expressing religious faith. The authors concentrate on what people of disparate faiths have in common by focusing on the mutual "elements of faith" that most religions share, such as praying, reading holy books, participating in cleansing rituals, visiting holy places and helping others. The exceptionally thoughtful design uses just a few sentences of text set in large type against backgrounds of deep, saturated color. Each spread shows multiple photographs of children from many different cultures engaging in their own religious activities, with simple captions identifying the activity and the particular country and/or faith. Noteworthy care was taken in the choice of engaging, nonstereotypical and inclusive photographs, and the quality of the photography and reproduction is stellar. The concluding pages include an amplified text describing the elements of faith in more detail, a world map showing all the countries noted in the photo captions and a glossary of religious terms. This introduction to world religions deserves a wide audience.
School Library Journal
Faith explores through full-color photographs the many ways in which the world celebrates and practices religious belief, highlighting the common threads—praying and meditating, chants and songs, holy books, cleansing, holy places, holidays and festivals, important events, dress, food and drink, and helping others. Spare text accompanies the pictures of children and identifies the specific religion and practices. Concluding notes for adults to share with youngsters provide more information on each one. The excellent photographs are clear and colorful and invite careful observation. A world map showing the various homes of the children depicted is included. As stated in the book, "Faith highlights the common threads that bring people together in reverence and joy."
Using crisp color photographs and short sentences, the authors describe what comprises faith. As the book informs readers, "In our world, there are many faiths," and the celebration of faith occurs through prayer, singing the reading of holy books, cleansing rituals, and performing good deeds. Explanations appear primarily in the captions of photos of children from around the world at worship. Set against the pure colors of the double-page spreads, these photos often show the children in traditional attire as they perform religious rites and obligations. For the most part, this photo-essay does a good job of depicting children across the spectrum of individual religions. For instance, there are Jewish boys with side curls and a father and son dressed casually as they light a Hanukkah menorah. Supporting the text is strong back matter that explains the elements of faith in more detail and a glossary that defines religious words.
Broad statements about how people celebrate their faiths ("We chant and sing" or "We listen to or learn from others") are paired with striking photos of children across the globe. While the text underscores the universal elements, the charismatic images depict a diversity of cultures, customs, and social interactions, illustrating the similarities and differences among religions and encouraging respect and tolerance of others.
A Patchwork of Books
I think coming up with a children's book that appropriately explains and expresses the meaning of faith to people all around the world is probably an incredibly difficult task. I found in Faith, by Maya Ajmera, Magda Nakassis, and Cynthia Pon, the best example (I've seen anyways) of a truly well done work on this topic, for the younger age set.
Through brilliant photographs of faith practices of dozens of cultures in many different countries around the world, the reader is able to see that no matter what the belief system or the book being followed, children and their families all pray, chant or sing, read holy books, cleanse, visit holy places, observe holidays, etc. And most of all, they hope. Whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, or any other religion, faith bases itself on hope.
Included in the back of the book is a map featuring each country that had a part in the book, as well as further explanation into the basic elements of faith around the world. A "Words to Know" section is also included.
This resource would great for so many different types of teaching. Starting with the youngest of children, they are able to look at the real photographs of different children around the world, with their different types of clothing, foods, skin colors, etc. and see the beauty in being different. As children grow older, Faith can be incorporated into social studies units on different cultures, geography units, and a basic tool for beginning the explanation of different religions.
Part of the proceeds of the book will be donated to The Global Fund for Children to purrport innovative community-based organizations that serve the world's most vulnerable children and youth.
This photography book illustrates how different cultures around the world pray, read sacred books, eat, visit holy places, celebrate festivals, and mark lifecycle events. Some kids love to look at photos of other kids, and this book will hypnotize them. There’s very little text. The images celebrate diversity without bludgeoning anyone over the head with it. We see a Jewish girl making challah with her zayde, a young Buddhist novice meditating, Nigerian children praying together, a bar-mitzvah boy chanting the Torah, a Muslim family breaking the daily fast during Ramadan, a Guatemalan kid with missing front teeth grinning broadly in an Easter mask. Charming.
Journal of Children's Literature
In our world, there are many faiths. Through spectacular photographs, this simple nonfiction book shows how faith is celebrated in different cultures and religious traditions. Expressions such as praying, singing, reading, cleansing, and caring are portrayed. The book highlights that people from all faiths give to others and help those in need, but most of all they have hope. Concluding detailed notes and a glossary are included for curious readers who want to know more about the elements of faith.
Through photographs, this book tells the story of many faiths, allowing glimpses into each of them. The book celebrates the many faiths, tying them together through similarities but also revealing their differences too. Cultures and religions are highlighted here in a book that children will see themselves in and also learn about others too.
The photographs here are clear, vivid and capture moments of prayer and devotion with grace. Each photograph is accompanied by at least the name of the religion and the country the photo was taken in. Other photographs have a brief sentence that explain the image a bit further. This brevity makes the book read simply and easily. Larger text on each page carries the flow of the book, giving each set of pages a theme where we can see our commonalities and differences and celebrate both side by side.
Highly recommended, this is a book about religion that children will innately understand. It is ideal to start discussions or quietly examine on your own. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Religious traditions around the world are celebrated in this beautiful book by Maya Ajmera, Magda Nakassis and Cynthia Pon. The book is formatted to emphasize inclusiveness, with each double-page spread focusing on some aspect common to many religions. For example, "We read our holy books" is illustrated with photographs of a Kenyan boy studying the Qur'an, a young Buddhist in Mongolia reading the sutras, a British Christian girl reading the bible and holding a rosary and three Orthodox Jewish boys in Israel looking over their prayer books. The text is minimal, with each word and image chosen with care. The book builds to a powerful message: "We respect others, making friends and building peace." This book transcends boundaries of age and culture to become a meditation on spirit, sharing and respect.
What is faith? It means different things to different people. People also express their faith in various ways. The reader will see how people pray, sing, read holy books, praise, listen, and learn from others about the diverse faiths. The exceptional pictures in the book help the reader to understand how children from around the world have different ways of practicing their different faiths. The book also shows specific celebrations and special days in the numerous faiths. Food, drink, friends, and helping others are also very important in revealing faith in several countries. In addition, this book includes a world map to show the countries that are mentioned. Elements of faith and words to know are incorporated in the back of the book to help the reader understand more about the different faiths. This book could be used in the church or school setting to teach diversity in religion.
Similar in style and format to the "Celebrate" series from National Geographic, and using some of the same stock photography, this photo essay, developed by The Global Fund for Children, explores the many ways that faith is expressed around the world. Prayer, song, study, rituals, holy places, holidays, life cycle events, clothing, and food are all explained with simple, large-print statements such as: "We celebrate our faith in many ways," "We observe holidays in our homes or places of worship," "We care for those around us," "We respect others," and "Most of all, we hope." The captions included with the contemporary, full-color photographs of children around the world provide further information along with a four-page afterword, glossary of terms, and map indicating the places included in the book. The Rastafarian, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Daoist, Muslim, Hindu, Native American, and Mennonite faiths are included with examples from over 30 countries. Judaism is represented with photographs of a bar mitzvah celebrant, Yeshiva boys studying, a father and son lighting the menorah, an upsherinish ceremony, a girl braiding challah, a funeral in Israel, and the shaking of the lulav. However, the caption accompanying a boy blowing the shofar is inaccurate: "A father teaches his son to sound the shofar at solemn Jewish feasts." It is interesting to note that neither the Western Wall nor the Dome of the Rock is pictured on the page of holy places. Despite very minor weaknesses, this stunning presentation, celebrating the diversity of the world's religions, will be appreciated in Jewish libraries, especially those that own similar offerings like Sacred Places by Philemon Sturges.
Page count: 48