This week’s children’s book recommendation post is Beautiful Moon A Child’s Prayer By Tonya Bolden and Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Click here to read our introduction post on the From the Shelf blog series we are doing or click the From the Shelf tab (in the categories section) to check out more of our recommendations.
Beautiful Moon is set in a large metropolitan city. A young child remembers he forgot to pray, climbing out of bed he looks over the city he calls home. The moon’s light shines down on the various residents as the child prays for the hardships that are illuminated by the moon’s glow.
There is a lot to love about this book. The main character is saying his thoughtful prayer to “the moon”, leaving the interpretation of who the prayer is aimed to open to multiple religious groups- or even to those who may be choosing to have a household without religion.
My favorite thing about this book is how its realistic illustrations open the eyes of our children to the world around them. Ian Maclaren’s quote “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” comes to mind with this book. People and content not typically seen in children’s books are front and center in Beautiful Moon.
A homeless woman trying to stay warm on the cold night, a well dressed business man who seems to be ignoring the world around him- focused on his daughter fighting overseas, neighbors with bare cabinets, the sick, and others. This book truly teaches the concept to not judge those around us, but instead reach out a helping hand- and perhaps a prayer. An important and valuable lesson that is never too early to teach.
Marshall usually iniates a conversation involving self relfection after reading this book. He always is left thinking about just how much he does have and how lucky he is to be blessed with not only luxuries but also necessities. The empathy that is taught in this story is demonstrated as Marshall is moved to help others less fortunate.
The pictures span the entire page and engulf your child in the story at hand. The sentences are short and to the point, letting the young reader focus on what is being said and opening the door to conversation between parent and child. It is easy to follow for toddlers- we first bought the book for Marshall when he was just newly three years old.
I would suggest using this book as a platform to talk about the possible needs in your own community and to start the conversation on the larger world we live in.
What are some of your favorite books that teach empathy?