57 years ago Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” on the front steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His message of equality and love resonated with many in the goal to achieve civil rights. And while eradicating racism was also at the cornerstone of his message, there continues to be examples of prejudice today, not only in United States but in many parts of the globe.
As we continue to teach our children about love and equality and how this ties into our Catholic faith, children’s literature is a great way to share this message. The book Everyone Belongs was written through the inspiration of the statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This story is a message about the realities of racism and how our faith and our history call us to come together to share the message of love and unity rather than division and hatred.
The story talks about a boy named Ray whose family fled their native country for safety and create a new home in Sam and Carter’s neighborhood. When Ray and his family receive a message of “Go Home” painted on their home, the community comes together to affirm that violence and hatred are not the answer. Everyone Belongs is a wonderful story for ages 5-12 years old that can share ways to promote the messages of love, acceptance, forgiveness and togetherness. There are also great worksheets that the publisher, Loyola Press, has made available on their website to go along with the story. Ranging from kindergarten through fifth-grade levels, these free downloadable worksheets include prayers, reflections, and lessons.
Everyone Belongs is a great book to read on Martin Luther King Day or any day when teaching our children to live as God’s diverse family.
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Copyright 2020 Andrea Bear