In "Creating Home," a Tapestry of Faith program
Engage the children in an activity that will make books with images of diverse families available to the wider congregation. Many families love reading together. There are a good many books available for children that show family diversity. Why not hold a small book fair and feature these titles?
You can do this in a few different ways. You can work with your local bookstore to set up a book fair. Order three copies each of ten to 15 titles for a variety of ages and reading levels. Display the books before and after a worship service. Promote the book fair with flyers and posters that the children can help you create and distribute. You could sell books for the amount you paid (don’t forget taxes!) or use the book fair as a fundraiser. Return any unsold copies to the bookstore.
Another way to construct the book fair might be to display library copies of the books you have chosen, and take pre-paid orders. Check with your local bookstore to make sure the titles you plan to sell are still in print and can be ordered. Have blank bookplates on hand. Suggest that individuals without a specific child for whom to buy might purchase copies for the congregation’s library. Around the holidays, you could invite people to purchase books to donate as holiday gifts for children in need.
If you decide to use this event as a fundraiser, you could use the proceeds to purchase multiethnic posters for the religious education meeting areas. The UUA Bookstore carries many books for children with diverse family images – a good place to start searching for titles. See “Leader Resources” for other suggestions.
The aim of this activity is to focus children’s attention on representations of diverse kinds of families. It is important for people to experience affirmation in their faith home. Whether the children take a tour of existing images or work with you to create a new display, they will have a chance to recognize family diversity in their faith home and affirm their own families’ places within it, as they engage with images of different kinds of families.
If your activity will be a tour of the congregational space, tell the group, in your own words:
We are going to take a walk together and search for families in our faith home. We will look for pictures of different kinds of families, including some pictures of real people we know. Look for pictures of families in photographs and paintings, on the walls, on bulletin boards, or maybe in a newsletter or brochure about events at our congregation.
If your congregation has a website, plan to stop at a computer with internet access so the children can see pictures of different families posted there.
As you walk, encourage children to call out the images they see. You may want to stop together to examine a few images more closely. Invite children to identify the members of different family configurations you see pictured. Remember, if you do not know the individuals whose images you see, there are no wrong guesses – two adult men could be a couple, brothers, cousins, or friends. Look for images of different family configurations (single parents with children, grandparents with grandchildren, same sex couples, parents with trans-ethnically adopted children, adults with elderly parents). And, look for families whose members do not look alike (different color skin, differently abled, far apart in age).
Whatever way you do this activity, aim to ensure that the children see themselves and their families mirrored in the images of families displayed in your congregation’s facilities and publications.
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Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.
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