Two of the books I gave my 8-year-old daughter for Christmas were Douglas Wood‘s Old Turtle (illus. by Cheng Khee-Chee) and Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (illus. by Jon J Muth). I had heard much about these modern-day classics over the years and was looking forward to sharing them with her. I read the books once, before wrapping and putting them under our Christmas tree, but it wasn’t until we read them together, snuggled up in bed, that I realized how truly special they were. Their plea for unity, acceptance and understanding between people and nature got two thumbs up from my daughter.
In Old Turtle, when all creation starts arguing over who or what God is, Old Turtle, their wise and ancient leader, is the only one who accepts and incorporates the beliefs of all the creatures: “‘God is indeed deep,’ she says to the fish in the sea, ‘and much higher than high,’ she tells the mountains.” In Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (Muth’s image of the Truth falling from the sky and breaking in half being an especially poignant one), it’s up to a young, determined girl to help humans see that the truth they are fighting over is broken, and that there is not just one truth, but “truths all around us, and within us.”
The very important ideas these books convey add dimension to our website’s current focus on Respect for Religious Diversity, and the following quote from Old Turtle and the Broken Truth perfectly captures its essence:
Remember this, Little One… The Broken Truth, and life itself, will be mended only when one person meets another—someone from a different place or with a different face or different ways—and sees and hears herself. Only then will the people know that every person, every being, is important, and that the world was made for each of us.