I went out to get the paper this morning and found a beautiful new picture book from my friend Laura. THE GOLDEN RULE, by Ilene Cooper, is one of those books that is very simple in terms of the story line, but absolutely breathtaking in terms of the depth of its message.
A little boy is taking a walk with his grandfather, when he sees the Golden Rule, "DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU" on a billboard. The boy asks his grandfather about the billboard, and the grandfather tells his grandson that it means that you should not do anything to anyone else that you would not want done to you.
The grandfather then explains to his grandson that all cultures have a version of this very important rule. He shares versions from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and the Shawnee tribes. The boy and his grandfather discuss the concept a little more, and the grandfather tells the boy that he could begin to apply the Golden Rule by using his imagination, "Imagine what it would feel like if you were a new child at school…" The last page of the book leaves kids with a very powerful visual image of this message.
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. Oil paintings, I think. The closeups of the faces are so, so beautiful. And each page that explains a different culture is done in that culture's artistic style. Absolutely perfect.
This will be the first book I share with kids next fall. We'll use it to talk about how we treat each other and why. I know it will be one of those unforgettable, soul changing, heart growing books that we will return to again and again…