Sunday, December 10, 2017

Feeling festive

Today, I'd like to talk to you about festivities. Whatever your culture, religion, or faith, we all have our own festivities (and at various times of the year), and I think those are to be shared and enjoyed, understood and respected, throughout each community. Evidently, as it's December, most will notice that I, personally, celebrate Christmas. But, aside from that, I adore learning about all the other festivities that occur around the world throughout the year, whether it's Eid Al-Adha, Eid Al-FitrEid, Imbloc, We Tripantu, Hanukah, Christmas, The Chinese New Year, or one of the other many festive celebrations our great world has been gifted with.

So what does that mean for YA writing? Simply put, I'd love to see more of these wonderful, unique, individual expressions of faith in our young adult books. The understanding and knowledge that books can give us is important. Why do others believe differently than you? What gives us all a human commonality despite our own, individual faith?

In my own home, we have conflicting beliefs, but they unite us, rather than divide us. I'm compelled to find out more about this faith that isn't my own. To respect it, see its own truth, see the world through different eyes. Does it make me change my own belief? No and yes. No, my belief didn't change. However, what did change is that I could a) empathize and understand the other faith, and b) I am giving myself room to explore. After all, who says change is bad? Perhaps something will strike a chord with me one day, and I'll find my faith evolving. Who knows?

So here is my challenge to myself, and please feel free to play along - whenever there is a big religious festivity from a faith I don't know about, I'm going to put a book in my hands that tells me about it. Educates me. Enlightens me. Brings me further knowledge of our humanity. And if I'm lucky, it's going to come in the form of a YA novel.

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