The February 12 message at Durham Friends Meeting was “Can Sophie Change the World?” a children’s book by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and illustrated by Aura Lewis.
Ingrid Chalufour, clerk of our Peace and Social Concerns Committee read the book this morning. It is one of the books being distributed to school teachers in this area through our Social Justice Enrichment Project.
Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly summary of the book: “When Sophie asks Grandpop what he wants for his birthday, he gives her a tall order: for the week leading up to his birthday, he asks Sophie to change the world via kind deeds, or mitzvahs. Dubious about the impact she can make, she approaches the week with a new level of attentiveness and intentionality, and Lewis’s delicate mixed-media vignettes show Sophie modeling consideration and thoughtfulness in her day-to-day. Though Sophie continues to believe that “I didn’t change the world,” Grandpop begs to differ; as Wallace writes, Sophie has helped make it a “more giving, sharing, blooming, caring place,” and the pink-skinned, Jewish-cued family celebrates by crafting a flower-like record of her good deeds. Some readers may wish for a clearer explanation of mitzvah, including connection to the Jewish tradition, but the story effectively shows how every kind act creates its own momentum of good. Ages 3–5.”
The book was also reviewed in the Friends Journal issue of December 1, 2022.