Name of Book: One City, Two Brothers
Author: Chris Smith
Publisher: Barefoot Books;
Audience: Ages 6-adult
Summary: Two brothers farm together. Years go by and the elder brother marries while the other does not. When hard times come, the elder brother thinks of his younger brother all alone. So under cover of night, he secretly delivers a bundle of wheat to his barn. That same night the younger brother thinks of his older brother and his family, and secretly delivers wheat to his barn. This happens several times until one night they meet half way between their barns. They hug and without speaking, each understood why they were there. Legend says that the spot where the brothers met became the site of the temple of Jerusalem.
Literary elements at work in the story: Using an anonymous narrator, the story reads as if being told which makes it a great choice for using with a group.
How do the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story: This legend is sacred to Jews and Arabs alike and this telling stays true to both cultures. The folk-style artwork adds an air of peace and hope which will resonate with children and adults alike.
Scripture: James 1: 22-25
Theology: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” The two brothers in the story know what James is taking about. They live their life according to the Word. They live with love and think more of the others than themselves. This is not always easy. However it is the only way to live if we have any hope of living as God would have us live. In the end, you may not build a sacred city, but you will build sacred souls.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What would you have said to the two brothers who came before Solomon? They both had good reasons for being given their fathers land.
- Have you ever had a dispute or argument with someone?
- How did you resolve it?
- James tells his listeners to do what the word says. What word is he talking about?
- How do you think God wants us to resolve our differences?
- If you don’t know what God wants, where would you go to find out?
- (If they say the Bible, randomly open the Bible and read a passage and ask them if that helped.) How do we know where in the Bible to find the Word James is talking about?
Review prepared by regular contributor Janet Lloyd.