Children and diversity

Telling stories that educate

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson | Presbyterians Today

“Brian the Brave” is just one of the many titles offered by Flyaway Books, a division of the Presbyterian Publishing Corp., that teaches children about God’s inclusive love. Courtesy of Flyaway Books

Creating a world where diversity is embraced begins with education, and many congregations are focusing their attention this fall on offering online book discussions specifically on how to dismantle racism. Christian educators are doing likewise, using Zoom as a storytelling opportunity to teach children about the inclusive love of God.

Flyaway Books, a children’s book division of the Presbyterian Publishing Corp. that was launched in 2018 to offer books that carry the themes of diversity and inclusion, is providing educators with books that help children understand today’s pressing social issues. Many of the books are multicultural in their artwork and characters.

In addition to stories such as “Brian the Brave,” about a sheep who tells the story of how white, black, striped, spotted and hat-wearing sheep can play together, Flyaway Books is releasing new titles. Among them is “For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World.” Inspired by real-life events, the story explores questions that a young boy has about the gun violence and racism he sees in his neighborhood. For more information, visit flyawaybooks.com.

Another timely children’s book is “Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of John Lewis.” The book gives readers a glimpse into the boyhood of the late Civil Rights leader John Lewis who, as a child, wanted to be a preacher. Not one to wait, a young John decides that the chickens he is put in charge of on the family farm would make a wonderful congregation and begins “preaching” to them. The book can be purchased from national booksellers or, better yet, from Black-owned bookstores such as Brave & Kind Bookshop at braveandkindbooks.com or Harriett’s Bookshop, a store named after Harriet Tubman that celebrates women’s voices. Go to harriettsbookshop.com.

Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today magazine.

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