If you were reading closely to my last post, you might have noticed something that seemed odd.
Namely, We’re All in the Same Boat by Zachary Shapiro. This is a religious story (Noah’s Ark) written by a religious person (a Jewish rabbi). Why would I, a non-religious person who blogs about books for non-religious families, bother with it?
The main reason I included it in that post was that it was fun to share the new vocabulary with my daughter. We actually had a great conversation about he word “hysterical” and how it can be positive or negative depending on context. Yeah, it might be a bit much for a four-year-old, but she seemed fascinated. There’s more than just the Bible story there, and that’s true for many Bible-stories-turned-picture-books.
Noah’s Bark, for example, is another cute adaptation of the flood story that combines humor (animals making the wrong sounds = hilarious to kids) with a pourquoi tale (how animals got their sounds). It’s fun, educational, and an opportunity to introduce a story that is part of our culture–arguably, a story of which they should be aware.
Win, win. :)
Of course, you might need to provide some context with both of these books if you are specifically trying to teach your child about religious literacy. They aren’t necessarily by-the-book stories. There is no mention of God, rainbows, or the reason for the flood. But, hey–it’s a starting place.
Wendy Thomas Russell’s blog Relax, It’s Just God has some great suggestions to help secular families choose religious picture books–including her own ideas about addressing some of the more “mature” parts of the story that the children’s books leave out.
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For more about religion & science, see my Secular Thursday page.