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New children’s book explores effects of racism

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Loyola Press have published a new book for children ages 5-12, to help 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,” the children’s book “Everyone Belongs” allows young readers to reflect on the impact of racism in society. The book helps readers see racism through the lens of history and faith, and teaches them how to engage in respect, understanding, and friendship.

In this fully illustrated book, Ray Ikanga is 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.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, and chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, who oversaw the production of the book, said “I’s about recognizing the image of God in all people, valuing differences, righting wrongs, and forgiveness. ”

“I 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.”

“Everyone Belongs” may 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.

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