The Golden Rule

If you can find nothing in the national rhetoric that sounds even faintly like the christian “golden rule,” then this book offers some real inspiration and hope. In the face of this particularly bleak period in American history where the reigning philosophy appears to be “Do unto others before they get a chance to do unto you,” The Golden Rule by Jessica Marie Baumgartner is a quiet reminder of the instinctive decency of children in interpreting the best that their religions (or life philosophies) can offer.

The book examines various religious versions of (what I was taught to be) Jesus’s most fundamental philosophy of promoting empathy. It compares how Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and others define the law of reciprocity.  In addition, young children are introduced to a variety of religious symbols, and at the same time are encouraged to respect the beliefs of their contemporaries.

The illustration style (Laura Winship-Fanae) is hard to describe–watercolors, I believe, but they borrow from a number of artistic traditions (some are Picasso-esque, for example) with striking colors that had me stopping to watch like a sunset: This is especially true of the very last one, a silhouette of two hands forming a rough-hewn heart with fingers.

The Golden Rule appears to be aimed at pre-readers and early readers. It has just been released by Eleventh Hour Literary Press.

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