Spreading love and acceptance: Why I wanted to write Hats of Faith

Published on: 20 May 2018 Author: Medeia Cohan

Medeia Cohen isn't a religious person herself, but surprised by the lack of books about different faiths, she decided to write one...

Hats of Faith

I did not intend to write a children's book.

I was trying to buy a book for my young son to introduce him to all the amazing head coverings we saw when we went for walks in our amazingly diverse neighbourhood in South London. But my search came up empty.

While there was a wide variety of books about religion, I couldn't find anything that was beautiful, secular and across multiple faiths. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that there was a huge gap in the market for books that told interfaith stories or featured facts about different beliefs.

I'm not a religious person, but I believe that one of the big ways we can combat the current climate of intolerance is to educate our young people - and to do this, we need to make more factual and accessible content readily available.

As a parent, I'd love to see more beautiful, interfaith products and publications that aren't evangelical to give children an early familiarity with the subject, helping to minimise fear and ignorance.

Hats of Faith

The more I spoke about the idea with other parents, the more I heard about children reacting badly or making embarrassing mistakes when they'd encounter someone in a head covering, like my neighbour's 2-year-old daughter who called a woman in a grey burqa a ghost.

I also heard stories from those who cover their heads about never seeing themselves in mainstream books and the impact that had on them and their confidence.

Ignoring the fact that I had no prior experience as a children's author and no personal experience covering my head or even being very religious, I set about writing this book. Before I knew it, I was in talks with my now publisher and friend Hajera Memon to bring it to life.

Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

Hats of Faith

Creating Hats of Faith was far from an easy challenge, and I quickly came to understand why no-one else had taken on the task of producing this delicate book.

Writing a simple book about very complex faith-based traditions is an unusual challenge, and finding consistent and accurate information that all of our religious expert consultants could unanimously agree on was near impossible. The book took over a year in research alone and I started thinking I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

We'd made a commitment to create a beautiful and factually accurate book that parents and educators – and, most of all, children - would embrace and learn from. In the end, I think we achieved what we set out to do and I'm very proud of the finished product, which is a stunning introduction to the shared custom of head covering.

Spreading acceptance across the globe

Hats of Faith

Since getting the book in our hands in September 2017 the response has been tremendous, with supportive messages coming in from around the world from parents, educators, publishers and, most importantly, children!

We've developed a brilliant free downloadable Interfaith Education Kit full of further information, tips for discussions and cool activities to support the book and make it easy for parents, educators and homeschoolers to incorporate it into their curricula.

The idea is to make the book readily accessible and easy to engage with - we want to expand the conversation to continue the learning.

We've also embarked on an epic educational workshop tour, delivering free interactive sessions for families at schools across the UK in partnerships with the incredible people at Penny Appeal and Children's Reading Company.

The interactive workshops are spectacular, bringing the book to life and helping young students learn in a really meaningful and personal way. The sessions use the book as a starting point to explore relevant topics such as acceptance, difference, diversity and bullying.

The book has just come out in Australia and New Zealand with Hardie Grant Egmont and should be out later this year in the US and Canada as well. We hope to continue spreading our message of love, peace and acceptance around the globe and are always open to partnerships and ways of working with like-minded folks!

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Our review

Hats of Faith

Author: Medeia Cohan Illustrator: Sarah Walsh

This instructive board book opens with the simple statement that many religious people wear head coverings to show their love of God. An optimistic and valuable book that celebrates diversity and fosters understanding. 

Read more about Hats of Faith


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