The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Children’s Book App for Children of all Faiths and Cultures 11 January , 2012

A welcoming air of acceptance.
The latest tech gadget.
One playing in our hearts and minds, the other in our hands.

When these two intermingle, the possibilities are boundless. This is what spurred the

creation of And So You Were Born, an interactive children’s book app just released in the

iTunes App Store.

Creator Mona Parsa holds the vision of a unified world – a world in which no intolerance, no

discrimination, and no inequality remain. Believing that this vision will only arrive and remain by

sewing the seeds today (that is, in children), she took her motivations to an arena which

reaches children worldwide – technology – and will appeal to children everywhere no matter their

background – creating this multifaith, multicultural book app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod.

The text of And So You Were Born explains the love that surrounds the child,

and their purpose in taking that love and spreading it to all in return, from God, to family and

friends. Illustrations of landmarks throughout the world, from all faiths and various countries,

end the book in a beautiful, colorful display.

What can make the book app stand out even more from others? Personalization features

which haven’t even been seen yet in other children’s book apps. Parents can record themselves

on video reading 7 different writings from major faith traditions – and when the book reaches

the page that depicts the child giving devotions with his parents, those videos can be played.

Children take delight in seeing their parents in the book! Parents can also provide personal

details of the child, which shows up within the text throughout the pages. Another source of enjoyment

for children.

Parsa says that she created these personalization features in order for children to be

able to relate to the app as much as possible. She wants them to feel at one with the text and

illustrations, in order for them to feel close to the message. She hopes the book app will show

children that “they are born noble and that they can easily strive everyday to reach that

perfection, one way being to show love to one and all.”

Parsa explains the age progression of the child in the book, which shows the child

growing older and learning to show goodly character and to pay devotions on his own as the years go

by. She hopes children are encouraged to love all, to be a “brilliant star” in their world, thus

being a source of light and inspiration for others, which can then pass on from person to person,

and eventually throughout the world, thereby illuminating the earth and all its inhabitants.

The character-enriching quality of the app has been caught by a Hollywood director, who

has featured And So You Were Born in a film seen in theaters soon. The app will be shown

in the film as having its selected features used in kindergarten classes – classes focusing on

instilling respect and ethics in children to encourage betterment of the world through the use of

love in their personal and future professional lives.

                And So You Were Born can be found in the iTunes App Store at:

               And So Your Were Born

The Power of Unity: Religious Pluralism in the U.K. 6 July , 2011

Every year two thousand Jews in Britain head for a University in the middle of the country for Limmud. This is a cross community education experience with hundreds of different workshops on Jewish religion, life and culture which happens to take place over the Christmas holiday period. It feels wonderfully countercultural to be learning Judaism when the rest of the country is enjoying the rather secularised British Christmas. The University obligingly takes down the Christmas trees and the tinsel for us and a corner of England becomes Jerusalem for a week.

Generally though Britain is a multicultural society. The Government’s National Curriculum requires children to experience religious education throughout their school career. This begins, even in places where there are hardly any Jews, with children in most elementary schools lighting Hanukkah candles, learning about Diwali, the Hindu festival and Eid, the Muslim end of Ramadan, together with putting on the school Nativity Play telling the birth narrative of Jesus. It means that the majority of British children, even if religion plays very little part in their own family life, end up knowing a little about all of the larger religious groups in the country.