Local children’s author Vicki Garlock has a theory on teaching youths about interfaith literacy. “Kids don’t actually care about what other people believe,” she says. “They don’t care about dogma. A good way to educate kids is through traditions — holidays, rituals, food and stories.”
Garlock’s 2020 award-winning book, We All Have Sacred Spaces, puts her theory into practice. Intended for children ages 4-10, the work is the first in a planned series, taking readers around the globe to learn about the sacred spaces of the world’s major religions — examining churches, temples, synagogues and mosques.
Along with international travels that informed her book, Garlock conducted local research, visiting houses of worship throughout Asheville. “I tried looking at them through the eyes of children,” she explains. “So I’d ask myself, ‘What is really cool about this place? What are people doing with the objects in this space?’”
In addition to writing, Garlock is the founder of Faith Seeker Kids, an organization established in 2015 to provide resources to help families, teachers and faith-based educators share interfaith traditions. She is also the ordained minister of education and the nurture coordinator and curriculum specialist for Jubilee! Community Church.
“All of my work is largely about reducing fear,” she says, as well as opening minds.
Through We All Have Sacred Spaces, Garlock hopes youth and adult readers alike will find a deeper appreciation for all world religions.
So far, the response has been promising. “The feedback I’ve gotten on the book is that what is interesting and fascinating to children is also really interesting and fascinating to adults,” she says.
To learn more about We All Have Sacred Space, visit avl.mx/90l.