Books help children learn about faith-based action
Two new books with the goal of helping children connect with the idea of faith-based action have been developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Green Street Park” and “Drop by Drop” are new entries from the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and published by Loyola Press.
Jill Rauh, assistant director of education and outreach in the department and the mother of a 2-year-old son, wrote the books. They illustrate the two feet of Christian love in action: social justice and charitable works, she said.
“It’s an area where there are not a lot of children’s books to reflect our call to discipleship in the world and how do we put God’s love for the world into action,” Rauh said.
“Green Street Park,” written for children in kindergarten through second grade, tells the story of children playing in a park who encounter trash and overgrown brush. Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi’s love of creation, the children organize a plan to clear the debris and plant a community garden to beatify the park.
“Drop by Drop,” intended for second- through fourth-graders, focuses on the actions of students at a Catholic school who step up to raise money for water projects in Africa. They act after hearing from a Catholic Relief Services worker visiting their classroom who tells the story of a young girl in Burkina Faso. The girl, Sylvie, yearns to attend school, but cannot because she spends much of her day collecting water from a river miles away from home for her family. That changes when the village gets a well, inspiring the American students to act to help other communities
The books are accompanied by “Pray Me a Story” guides developed by Loyola Press. The books and guides are being promoted to schools and parish school of religion activities.
Rauh said the books can be used in tandem with Pope Francis’ planned encyclical on the environment coming this summer.
“It’s an opportunity for the students to have a real deep impact, a prayer experience, a faith experience rather than just hear a story,” she said.
The materials can be ordered here.
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