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Book: Here You Are, By Mayke Beckmann Briggs

Here You Are, Mayke Beckmann Briggs

Here You Are, Mayke Beckmann Briggs

Book: Here You Are
By Mayke Beckmann Briggs
Reviewed by Brian Schell
Boathouse Books, 42 Pages, ISBN 9780977646913
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There are umpteen-gazillion books out there, both good and bad, concerning Buddhism for adult readers. There are very few good books for Children that involve Buddhist ideas. Books based upon the Jataka Tales are classics, but those stories are ancient and somewhat generic in nature. Modern-day Buddhist children books are starting to enter the market, albeit slowly. This is one of them.

It’s a durable hardcover children’s book with heavy pages and bright colors throughout. The text is short and extremely simple, and even beginning readers will be able to move through the book quickly. The drawings are simple but bright, and mostly involve ‚ÄúYou,‚Äù the central character in the story. Unlike stories about 3rd-person characters, ‚ÄúYou‚Äù are the center of attention here. Fortunately, since the pronoun ‚ÄúYou‚Äù works whether reading the book yourself or having the book read to you, it’s a neat idea.

The subject here is about the main character, who asks the questions, ‚ÄúWho made everything?‚Äù, ‚ÄúWhy am I here?‚Äù and several other ‚Äùbig‚Äù questions. The book does not supply answers to any of the big questions, that’s up to the adult in the child’s life to explain. There are no references to God or any other specific religion. The book could literally be used to introduce any child to the big questions, and the adult must supply whatever answers they feel are appropriate.

I’m assuming that Daily Buddhism readers are going to want to use the book to explain the Buddhist perspective on the questions posed here. The book is fine for that, and there is one section of the book:

Here you are, wondering,

how everything appears out of nowhere like the waves rise up from the sea,

and how everything vanishes into nothing,

like the waves, on a calm summer’s day.

This could lead into a decidedly Buddhist-tinted discussion.

The one and only problem I see with the book are the pictures of ‚ÄúYou‚Äù (see the cover image). The pictures are all of a little boy, or perhaps a girl with very short hair. I’m not sure whether this was an artistic decision or an oversight. I imagine it would be confusing to try to make the pictures of ‚ÄúYou‚Äù to apply to everyone. Still, unless you are buying the book is for a little caucasian boy, be prepared.

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