I wrote this post for the blog of our spiritual group, and wanted to share it here too.
Since starting our family, or even before that – when we considered the idea of bringing children up in a spiritual tradition – we’ve been on the look out for books that inspire kids’ spirituality in different ways. There are those that are written for parents, like Starhawk’s Circle Round: Raising Children in the Goddess Traditions, and there are those written for the children themselves. The examples of these that we’ve read and enjoyed fall into several categories.
The overt reproduction of myths/magical stories
Moon Goddess Dance, written by Sally Seitz, illustrated by Joshua Allen.
This story takes most of the storyline of the Taliesin myth, especially using the transformations of Gwion and Ceridwyn through all the paired animals. It’s simple and sweet, with an emphasis on magic, but in my opinion it feels a bit shallow and is not very satisfying to read as an adult.
Books that teach about spirituality
On My Way to a Happy Life, written by Deepak Chopra and Kristina Tracy, illustrated by Rosemary Woods
Deepak Chopra must be known to most spiritual seekers, if only by name. This beautiful book is a firm favourite in our house, with its whimsical illustrations and flowing text. It steps through seven simple lessons for a happy life that stem from Buddhism but resonate strongly with Druid beliefs. The messages are easy enough to understand for children and also are a wonderful reminder to adults to slow down and take time to appreciate things as well.
Books that cultivate a reverence for the seasons/sacred spaces/land
Out and About, written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
Shirley Hughes writes classic kids’ books that focus on kids’ experiences of the world, and though some of her series are a little dated in terms of family dynamics and gender roles (Lucy and Tom, for example), this book of poems is timeless. The verse is rich and satisfying, exploring each season in turn, and the illustrations are beautifully detailed. We read this book a lot in our house, and we have definite favourite pages – the double spread for spring gets lots of attention, and the autumn poem (Fire is a dragon alive in the night…) is chanted with great gusto!
Blessings and lullabies
Kissed by the Moon, written and illustrated by Alison Lester
Alison Lester is an Australian author who draws on her experiences of a farming childhood for many of her books. While her picture books often focus on animals, this one is quite differently phrased – a series of what are very clearly blessings (May you, my baby…) expressing the wish that this child will grow up with a reverence for nature. The title comes from the final blessing – and may you, my baby, be kissed by the moon – giving the feel of a lullaby. This book is deeply satisfying to read, being both simple and heartfelt, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough.