“Nah, I can’t make a difference!” Ever heard that? Ever said that? Because Amelia Smiled is a colorful, fanciful whirl around the world in the form of a children’s picture book. But the story is powerful because it rings true. As a journalist covering cross-cultural issues for more than 30 years, I can tell you—this truly is the good way the world can work.
ReadTheSpirit has recommended dozens of children’s books over the past five years, many of them from the talented crew at Candlewick Press who we like to single out for their commitment to this format in media and for their choice of books that celebrate diversity.
Anyone familiar with the power of children’s books knows that they’re not just for kids. They’re for parents and grandparents, too. And they shape the children who later become parents and grandparents. We just published an entire story about how a children’s book inspired one of the world’s greatest philosophers studying the connections between world religions: You can see one of Jacob Needleman’s favorite picture books in that story about his efforts to help save our planet today.
The entire text of Because Amelia Smiled wouldn’t fill a single page in a standard Word document. Yet that tale, which starts with the words “Because Amelia smiled, coming down the street …” carries us completely around the world and back home again. While Amelia is fiction, the chain of events are as true as countless real-life stories unfolding right now.
Do yourself a huge favor this week! Think of a child with whom you could enjoy this book. Order a copy and, then, simply … smile.
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.