One World, Many Religions by Mary Pope Osborne

Subtitled: The Ways We Worship

Published: 1996

Genre: children’s religion nonfiction

Length: 86 pages

Interest: Mr. Curiosity will be going to a new homeschool co-op this year. The co-op has a very strong Christian viewpoint, which isn’t something shared by our family. Therefore, I wanted him to know something about all the major religions, instead of just Christianity. Our local library system had this book, and the author writes The Magic Treehouse series, so I thought it would be appropriate.

Summary: The book discusses the seven largest worldwide religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. For each of the religions, it provides a short description of how the religion was founded, the underlying belief system, some of the major holidays, and how a believer worships within that religion. There’s also a map of the location of the religions, and a timeline of major events for each religion.

Final thoughts: A nice introduction to the major religions of the world for late elementary/early middle school aged kids. You get enough of the background of the religion to be interested and able to compare the seven discussed, but not so much that you are overwhelmed. It seems to be a very fair treatment of all the religions.

I’m using it as a spine and having Mr. Curiosity compare the religions in terms of who was the founder, when it began, whether it is monotheistic or polytheistic, how many believers, what happens when you die, and what the underlying belief is. We’re also supplementing the book with some online sites. If you want to see a map of where the religions can be found, check out this map (notice the little stars for Judaism). Here‘s a site with some additional history of the religions. My favorite, though, is a video that animates the ebb and flow of belief systems over time in the world.

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