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World Religons

by Joyce Fetteroll

Many months ago I stumbled across a very nice book of children's Bible stories. Yet I was hesitant to begin it with my daughter Kathryn because we are immersed in a Christian culture and I wanted stories from other religions to balance it out.

I asked around for similar books from other religions but came up empty handed.

Since there was nothing to guide me, I decided to be the guide and hopefully light the way for others and have for the past several months been compiling books, movies, audio tapes, computer software that are a fun way to learn about other religions.

  • The Broken Tusk : Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha by Uma Krishnaswami. An excellent beginning point for any kid. Ganesha is a fun-loving elephant-headed god.
  • Hanuman : Based on Valmiki's Ramayana by Jendersen Erik. Bold vibrant illustrations help pass on the core of one of the Hindu sacred books: The Ramayana. A tale of the terrible 10-headed Ravana who kidnaps the beautiful princess (who is an incarnation of a goddess), and is ultimately defeated by the strong, fearless, invincible prince (who is also the incarnation of a god) helped by Hanuman, captain of the monkey army (who is also, need I say it, the incarnation of a god ;-).
  • Rama and the Demon King : An Ancient Tale from India by Jessica Souhami. Another telling.
  • Savitri : A Tale of Ancient India by Aaron Shepard. Savitri dared to brave the fates that proclaimed her husband would die by the end of their first year of marriage. And when it came to pass, dared even further to challenge the God of Death to retrieve his soul. The God of Death is refreshingly not evil.
  • The Tiger and the Brahmin (video or book and audio) by Brian Gleeson, narrated by Ben Kingsley, music by Ravi Shankar. o Rama by Jamake Highwater. An adaptation of the Ramayana by one of the great writers for young adults.
  • The Mahabharata, The Ramayana, and Gods, Demons, and Others, and novels and stories about the fictional town of Malgudi by R. K. Narayan. His very engaging style makes even the seemingly daunting stories of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana reachable. His Malgudi characters are eccentric, funny and unforgettable, yet revealing insights into Indian society. Okay, his women come off a bit pre-Women's Lib, but they were written in the '60's!
  • H. R. F. Keating mysteries. I love mysteries. And if I can learn about another culture at the same time, all the better! Keating has been praised by Indians for the "fairness of his portrayals" of India. And lots of books on Indian cuisine. Yum! I'll be printing the lists from the webpages out and putting them in a notebook for the church library so those who aren't yet on the internet can join in the fun too :-)