Let There Be Light: Poems and Prayers for Repairing the World

Overview

Dear God,/Be good to me./The sea is so wide/And my boat is so small.

This prayer of a Breton fisherman is just one of the many simple yet profound pieces collected in this volume designed to give readers sustenance, hope, and strength. The poems and prayers represent a broad spectrum of faiths from around the world, among them Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and African, Inuit, and Native American traditions. Inspiring quotes from Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and ...

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Overview

Dear God,/Be good to me./The sea is so wide/And my boat is so small.

This prayer of a Breton fisherman is just one of the many simple yet profound pieces collected in this volume designed to give readers sustenance, hope, and strength. The poems and prayers represent a broad spectrum of faiths from around the world, among them Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and African, Inuit, and Native American traditions. Inspiring quotes from Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and anonymous sources are included as well. Paired with striking and evocative collage artwork, these timeless writings will promote unity as they provide comfort to young and old.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Jane Breskin Zalben brings together poems and prayers from many faiths in Let There Be Light. In her introduction, she writes of the importance of healing a world rife with greed, hatred and violence through "our loving kindness and compassion, and every act, no matter how big or small." Her beautiful collages grace each selection and pay tribute, though materials and style, to the culture that gave rise to the poem. Zalben's visual images—inspired by Persian miniatures, illuminated manuscripts, Islamic tiles and abstract expressionist art—open children's eyes to a wider world while the poems and prayers foster understanding and respect. 2002, Dial,
— Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-An introduction explains the inspiration for Zalben's title and selections-a 16th-century Jewish legend in which humans are created to find the shards and rebuild the vessels that had shattered from the weight of containing God's holy light. Their actions would "repair the world." The sacred verses are culled from sources representing a variety of cultures and time periods, including the Bible, Koran, Native American and African prayers, as well as holy men such as the Dalai Lama, Lao-Tzu, Buddha, and St. Francis of Assisi. Zalben's mixed-media illustrations incorporate rice paper from Japan, papyrus from the Nile, and paper made from the bark of African and Middle Eastern trees. The artist imitates a wide range of styles, from Persian miniatures to Matisse cutouts, furthering the sense of global inclusion. Most are quite well executed; a few are less successful. Clearly a response to September 11th (although the day is not actually mentioned), the book offers much to consider about peace and character in any environment in which spiritual conversations are encouraged.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Zalben (Pearl’s Passover, 2002, etc.) has selected 19 short, meaningful prayers and poems for this beautifully illustrated volume intended to offer hope and stability in the face of the world’s tragedies and instability. Some of the more familiar selections include the opening verses of Genesis, the famous prayer of St. Francis, and the Twenty-Third Psalm, while other pieces from around the world include prayers from Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and Taoist sources. Zalben has thoughtfully included representations from African, Eskimo, and Native American traditions as well. Her mixed-media collage illustrations unite all the disparate prayers and poems into a satisfying whole, although each illustration, like each prayer or poem, is quite different. In an author’s note, Zalben explains that she used art materials and inspiration from many cultures so that each illustration would reflect the particular prayer’s source. Some of the collages are in subdued hues, others shine in vibrant jewel tones, and some use bright primary shades and the contrast of dark and light to support the title and theme. Elegant design elements include metallic gold type for the title on the cover and the initial capital of each prayer and coordinated endpapers with the words for "peace" in many languages. Recommended for most public library collections. (Nonfiction. 5+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525469957
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 10.44 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Breskin Zalben is the author-illustrator of many books for readers of all ages, including most recently Don't Go!
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