I have been a big fan of Studio Ghibli movies since I first watched My Neighbor Totoro in college. Coming from Japan, some of the movies contain elements of Japan’s two largest religions, Buddhism and Shinto. When I checked out the most recent release, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, I was surprised to see an animated scene that looked very much like a type of painting I had studied in a class on Asian art. You can read about these images, called raigo, on the website for the Kyoto National Museum.
I have noticed lately that it is easier to find Buddhist stories for children than it used to be. April and May is when one of the major Buddhist holidays (known variously as Vesākha or Vesak or Wesak, or sometimes Buddha Day) is celebrated, so it seemed like a good time to share some of the newest titles in the library collection:
Fly Free by Roseanne Thong
When Mai feeds the caged birds at a Buddhist temple in Vietnam, her simple act of kindness starts a chain of thoughtful acts that ultimately comes back to her. Includes author’s note explaining the Buddhist concepts of karma and samsara, or the wheel of life.