Cultural Crossroads is excited to officially announce the opening of the children’s section of the Human Spirit library collection. This announcement is accompanied with specific children’s programming, which will introduce area youngsters to the collection and to the treasures of the world’s wisdom and culture. The children’s section expands the idea behind the Human Spirit library collection – a permanent collection that combines faith philosophies and cultures in one location, designed to enhance understanding and mutual respect of the diverse faiths, traditions, and cultures within the Greater Kansas City community and provide a central repository of multicultural and interfaith materials for educators and the public at large.
The Human Spirit collection officially opened on August 17, 2014. Cultural Crossroads achieved the goal of creating this unique resource for the community as a result of several years of planning and fruitful cooperation with many partners and through the fundraising campaign, Books That Build Bridges. (For more details about the creation and opening of the collection, as well as a list of benefactors, click on the Human Spirit link on our website at http://www.culturalcrossroads-kc.org.)
The first event celebrating the opening of the children’s section of the Human Spirit collection occurred on February 2, 2018, as part of the first Greater Kansas City Interfaith Film Festival, sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council and partners. The week-long festival, with free movies from a variety of faith perspectives, occurred in celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week (February 1 through February 7 of each year). The film festival included a broad spectrum of faith philosophies and involved a close cooperative partnership among the Council, the Kansas City Public Library system, Cultural Crossroads and various faith communities. The movies ranged from documentaries to fictional tales, but all had a common theme and common teaching: One can search through many places, but the true pilgrimage to the Divine is to search within ourselves, into the human heart, where we will find peace and tenderness and love and will learn to accept all as equal and to help one another.
Cultural Crossroads took the lead during one night of the festival, conducting an interactive, immersive experience for children and families. Significantly for an event which combined interfaith ideas and promoted a new collection of children’s books, the February 2 event introduced children and their families to the award-winning animated film The Secret of Kells, and included a group activity by teaching an Irish dance and individual creativity through the distribution of activity bags with small Kells-themed coloring books and colored pencils and accessories – and a Celtic-themed magnet to use to display their handiwork at home on refrigerators across the city. Long before the event was over, several children formed small groups scattered around the theater, on the floor, using the pencils and coloring books to express their creativity.
If you are not familiar with the film The Secret of Kells, we recommend that you try to view it. (Click here for a link to the films’ trailer.) It combines beautiful illustrations (fittingly, considering its subject) with a story that honors both the monks who created the Book of Kells and ancient traditional Irish mysticism.
Books for the Human Spirit collection were chosen after consultation with experts in library science, faith, and multiculturalism. The books in the children’s section of the collection were also chosen in similar fashion, with a view toward books of both timeless quality and truthful depiction of a variety of religions and cultures, told in a manner that respects the reader and the subject matter.
Cultural Crossroads will offer a second children’s program to celebrate the opening of the children’s section of the Human Spirit collection in March, when children will be exposed to readings from the collection and have the opportunity to create personalized bookmarks for themselves and to give as gifts and will receive a take-home activity bag with craft items.
These events are consistent with the goals of Cultural Crossroads and the Human Spirit collection: embracing our diverse past, while celebrating our shared future.