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Thursday, September 15, 2011

What is God?

What is God?
by Etan Boritzer
illustrted by Robbie Marantz

Published by Firefly books

Ages 6-12 yrs

I had earmarked this book about year ago from CROCUS 2010, at Saffron Tree, a Children's Book Reviews Repository that I steadfastly support and of course contribute reviews to.

I wanted to wait till Ana was ready to read it. And, from the explosion in her curiosity and thirst for understanding her world that happened over summer, she seemed ready to me. So, we read it recently.

What is God? is not an easy question to answer.

Philosophers and theologians through the ages have tried to answer this question.

Maybe we can only feel God
Like we can feel love
Or like we can feel happy or sad.

It is an amazing book. No matter what faith, belief, religion one is affiliated with, this book addresses the general curiosity children have about God.

Maybe God is an eternal mystery.
Eternal means forever and ever.
And a mystery is like a big puzzle,
with lots of pieces you have to fit together.

And whether one believes in God or not, at some point children do ask, "What is God?" And, so did Ana. Especially after the mythological tales we've read on and off be it Indian, Norse or Greek.

The book flows gently and purposefully from general to specifics, exploring what religion is and what some great teachers have passed along to us over the years, what the holy books of various religions can offer.

There are many ways to talk about God.
Does that mean that everything
That everybody ever says about God is right?
Does that mean that God is everything?

Questions like these in the book made Ana think. And before we read further, she tried to answer some of them herself.

If everything is God,
Then I am God,
You are God,
All of us are God!

This made her wonder even more about the concept. How can I be God? I am not God, am I? Are you God, mama? which led to What do you believe, mama?, which opened up a doorway for me to offer something from my cultural upbringing, something my parents taught me, something that states a similar idea in Sanskrit, Aham Brahmasmi, about the Cosmic Connection.

So if you really want to feel God,
You can close your eyes now,
And listen to your breath go slowly in and out,
And think how you are connected to everything,
Even if you are not touching everything.

The book is written in an easy style that did not overwhelm the resident 6 year old, that made me comfortable reading it with her and even quite grateful that such a profound topic was tackled with care and thoughtfulness, with universalist views towards peaceful co-existence without being dismissive about the major religions of the world. This a wonderful book to have in the home library so kids can reach for it anytime.

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At 7:40 AM, Blogger Dee said...

wow..good one. Krish has been asking his questions (after the mythological stories). One of his questions was - 'amma, how come there are always so many bad guys and only one good guy? ' :)
This book will be a good read..


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