Buddhism and Sikhism

7th December 2007 at 00:00

The complexities of religion are made simpler for children with these attractive books. Buddhism and Sikhism: Religion and Life Issues for WJEF. Michael Keene. Badger Publishing pound;5.50

This good value RE textbook is clear and attractively presented. It compares Buddhism and Sikhism, two religions that could be seen as divergent. Buddhism is perceived by some teachers as being difficult to access. However, pupils are helped to see links and differences through the sharply written text.

Michael Keen, the author, is an experienced writer of RE textbooks and a pupil who uses this book is in good hands.

Each section includes useful facts and information for exam purposes, as well as discussion points that explore "learning from religion". Key words are highlighted and defined in a glossary. There are also three classwork or homework questions that connect with the text and useful exam tips. Quotations are succinct and well chosen.

Pupils with special needs would find this a helpful textbook, as the sections are clearly divided and the language used is to the point and not florid.

The colour pictures are modern and fresh, with no poor drawings that spoil some RE books.

The paintings from the Sikh tradition are an authentic inclusion. It was pleasing to see a picture of a man in the communal kitchen.

However, as with many RE books, the images of Buddhism are predominantly of Tibetan or Burmese monks, as these provide the most exotic impression of the religion. Indeed, a young monk is shown on the cover. The teacher will have to emphasise to some pupils that there are Western Buddhists as well, and that not all Buddhists are monks and nuns.

This book would be a good buy for pupils studying religion and life issues for the WJEC religious studies specification B.

Anne Krisman

Buddhism (Introducing Religions). Sue Penney. Heinemann. pound;12.99

This book is an excellent reference for children learning about Buddhism. It is well laid out with interesting pictures, information boxes, maps and a timeline.

The book starts with a colourful time chart, which shows when all the main religions began. Children will find this interesting to see which religions are the oldest and newest and also be able to compare them with historical references.

On many pages there are information boxes, which explain new and interesting facts about Buddhism. I found many of these facts fascinating and made sure to read them all.

At the beginning of each section, there is a sentence explaining what that section will be about. This is helpful for children when using this book as a reference guide.

The pictures are colourful, imaginative and relevant, a few even being from Scotland and England. There is a helpful glossary at the back, plus suggested books to read and websites to use, encouraging further research.

This book would appeal to anyone interested in learning more about Buddhism, especially primary children.

Morag Houston

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