Words and extensive illustrations describe the beliefs, practices and customs of the followers of five major world religions.
People use religion, Wills writes in this German import, to find answers to “life’s big questions.” While “Rituals and community provide everyday life with structure and give people support through difficult times,” belief is personal, and the freedom to choose whether to believe and what to believe is paramount. From the perspective of an effort to understand one another, the text delves into Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. For each religion, a summary describes the major tenets of faith, the sources of the faith’s teachings, and some major lifestyle practices and rules. Next, a full double-page spread of colorful illustrations offers scenes from daily life for followers of that faith, including rituals such as weddings, worship, and funerals. Finally, isolated images from the art are described in sentences or short paragraphs. The spreads identify regional specifics, such as the Ganges River, the Temple Mount, and the Great Mosque of Djenné, and represent practices across different cultures. The elaborate illustrations are reminiscent of seek-and-find books and provide much content for young eyes to pore over. Eventually, curiosity about what the people are doing will lead slightly older readers to explore the busy pages of explanations, where difficult subjects such as conflict over holy sites in Jerusalem are handled with care. The focus on the actual practices of the faithful makes this volume a valuable key to understanding our world.
A rich and inviting celebration of the human search for meaning. (Nonfiction. 8-11)