Comparative Religion: Investigate the World Through Religious Tradition by Carla Mooney (2015)

comparativeAn introduction to the world’s 5 largest religions: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages:  128 (for ISBN 9781619303058)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction

Tone/Style: informational

Pace: fast

Topics: religion, religious conflict, coexistence, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam

Themes: moral codes, God/gods, the purpose of existence, the origins of the universe

Summary: Over 7 billion people live on the earth, and 84 percent of them describe themselves as being religious. What does that mean? Few topics incite such passion as religion. Why are humans invested in ideas that may never be proved? Why has religion played such an important role in history?

In Comparative Religion: Investigate the World through Religious Tradition, readers seek answers to these questions by comparing and contrasting the cultural, spiritual, and geographical underpinnings of five different religions. By developing a better understanding of the differences and similarities among religions of the world, readers gain a strong foothold in a dialogue that has continued for thousands of years.

Combining hands-on activities with theology, history, geography, world cultures, art, and architecture, Comparative Religions encourages deeper understanding of the world’s religions. Entertaining graphic art, fascinating sidebars, and links to primary sources illuminate the topic and bring it to life, while key questions reaffirm foundational concepts. (Source)

Who will like this book?: This works well as a quick, basic introduction to five world religions for readers unfamiliar with the subject matter. (Or, unfamiliar with the religions that aren’t their own.) Its messages of tolerance and coexistence will make it a winner with adults trying to instill these values.

Who won’t like this book?: It can be a little hokey, especially the comics. Some readers will find it easy to make fun of. Readers with a lot of interest in the subject may feel there is not enough information here.

Other comments: This reads like a textbook, which is strange because it reads too young for high school, but I can’t imagine anyone younger than high school taking a comparative religion class. It also, unfortunately, contains a lot of QR codes. What kid is going to scan a QR code to access additional educational content online?

Sequel(s):

Readalikes: DK Publishers offers Religion by Myrtle Langley and What Do You Believe? by Margaret Parrish. There’s also Comparative Religion for Dummies by William P. Lazarus, for those who can read at an adult level.

-Kylie Peters

Image: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24694241-comparative-religion

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