Faith: Five Religions and What They Share by Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel
With everyday declarations of about how different we are (bipartisan struggles, ongoing wars, shifting borders, even playground scuffles), sometimes we need reminders of how alike we are to connect us back together. As founders of the Milestones Project which champions mutual respect, understanding, and acceptance among children throughout the world, Richard and Michele Steckel take on five of the world’s 22 major religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism – and highlight their similarities. “Perhaps if we recognized that all faiths are more alike than they are different, we could replace intolerance with respect. Perhaps if we learned more about each other’s religions, we would have fewer reasons for misunderstandings, conflicts or even wars.”
After a basic overview of the five religions, the Steckels highlight the many overlaps, starting with the most important guiding principle similarly shared by all, “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” Shouldn’t peace really be that easy?
More than just an informative book for younger readers, Faith is as much a ‘how-to’-primer for adults with urging reminders to teach our children well. Woven throughout the text are additional bubbles of suggested activities – to visit houses of worship not necessarily your own, to learn more, to think more deeply. The penultimate page offers parents and teachers five easy actions children (and their adults) can take to broaden their understanding – from cooking appropriate foods for a holy day fest not their own, to inviting another family of a different faith to share your faith celebration, to the simple act of praying for people of all faiths.
“This book is a beginning to a process of discovering more about the world’s religions and looking for commonalities among them.” Those commonalities are so clear throughout the wondrous faces of the children the Steckels have photographed all over the world. Our window of opportunity is now … regardless of separate labels, different names, varying details, our shared faith can unite us all.
Readers: Children, Middle Grade