“Everyone Belongs,” a new children’s book published by the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Loyola Press, “is a book about recognizing the image of God in all people, valuing our differences, righting wrongs and forgiveness,” said the ad hoc committee’s chairman.
“It is my hope that ‘Everyone Belongs’ will help families, schools and parishes engage in conversation and reflection about the dignity of every person made in God’s image,” Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, said in a statement.
The book is for children ages 5 to 12 and is aimed at helping young readers engage in conversations about racism.
Inspired by the bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” it allows young readers to reflect on the impact of racism in our society. Bishop Fabre oversaw the production of the book.
Released Jan. 21, the book can be purchased online at LoyolaPress.com/EveryoneBelongs.
Additional education and prayer resources to accompany the bishops’ pastoral letter on racism may be found at usccb.org/racism.
Illustrated by Kristin Soora, “Everyone Belongs” tells the story of Ray Ikanga, a boy whose family flees violence in their home country to come to the United States as refugees. The family moves into a new neighborhood, but Ray’s excitement is interrupted when someone spray paints “Go home!” on their garage door.
Ray and his friend Sam recognize that something wrong has happened and they take the initiative to change the situation. Sam especially must find “a way to be brave,” confront the spray-painter and stand up for his best friend.
“The story of Ray and Sam and their community shows us how to celebrate gifts from other cultures and welcome people into our communities,” says educational material accompanying the book.