One of my first tasks upon my return to church after several busy weeks of trainings and classes was to get the overdue library books out of my church office and return them to the public library – and pick up more of course. My role as a religious educator finds me telling stories in the worship services on Sunday – stories that frequently come from my extensive reading of children’s literature. Angelina Ballerina, Mike Mulligan, Piglet, and Frog and Toad are just some of the favorites from my own childhood that have appeared in a story in church at some point. Children’s books and stories also play important roles in the Religious Education classes and summer programs.
So I was very interested that one of the topics in the 2013 Minns Lecture series is “Unitarianism and Children’s Literature”. You can read the full text here. The Rev. Andrea Greenwood has done some very interesting historical research into how literature for children came to be separated from just “literature” in the first place, and, after an experience of being evicted from the Children’s section of the library because she is there alone as an adult (a safety concern for the kids, apparently), she warns about this isolation of the age groups:
But we should perhaps be more concerned about splitting people into categories than about openness. The evidence shows that divided groups become rigid; that instead of flowing easily from one stage to the next, and perhaps moving back again, learning from each other and integrating memories in new ways, we splinter.
Now there is an argument for multigenerational community!