spiritual picture books, Conference of the Birds, Demi, Koran picture book, Quran picture book, Muslim parable picture book

Picture Book of the Day: The Conference of the Birds

Spiritual Picture Books for Kids

We don’t go to church so we are studying world religions using picture books.  Demi has several wonderful picture books on this topic so when I was offered a book that she illustrated, I jumped at the chance. And then, by coincidence, Alexis York Lumbard’s husband emailed me. It’s such a small world but we live in the same town! Kismet? Karma? Fate? Who knows!

How do you expose your children to world religions? Please share!

spiritual picture books, Conference of the Birds, Demi, Koran picture book, Quran picture book, Muslim parable picture book


The Conference of the Birds retold by Alexis York Lumbard, illustrated by Demi

Lumbard uses prose and verse to retell a story that is a parable drawn from the Quran in a gorgeously illustrated advanced picture books for ages 6 and up. Birds are a symbol of spiritual journeying and in this story, they are seeking a wise and loving king. Each bird in the group must overcome some kind of obstacle:  fear, attachment, laziness, hardship, and arrogance. The best part of the book is the surprise ending.


The Empty Pot by Demi

This is one of my all time favorite picture books. I have a post here with activity for a book club for kids or a Chinese New Year party.


One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship by Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne might be better known for her Magic Tree House early chapter book series but she was a World Religions major in college. We’ve been enjoying the short overviews of 7 major religions in this advanced picture book. It’s a wonderful overview covering Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.


Thank you to Joseph Lumbard for another great book recommendation.  The Wisdom of the Bird: A Tale of Solomon and Sheba by Sheldon Oberman. It combines several Near East legends into a single story of the hoopoe bird. Extremely well-done and a very nice accompaniment to Conference of the Birds.

He also says there is a show based on The Conference of the Birds: “The original inspiration is from the Quranic story of Solomon and the hoopoe, probably from other Near Eastern legends of the hoopoe as well. The idea of an allegory of the birds was then developed in Islamic Philosophy (Ibn Sina) and Sufism (Ahmad al-Ghazali), then Attar took Ahmad al-Ghazali’s 5-6 page allegory and fleshed it out.”

 Click on image of book to view at Amazon, or here at Barnes and Noble.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. What a great list. The only I know is Conference of the Birds. I love adding to my To Be Read list!
    Stacey recently posted…Reading as a RefugeMy Profile

  2. This is a wonderful list. I’m a huge fan of the Conference of the Birds and Alexis Lumbard has retold it brilliantly. For my family we not only read a lot about other religions but we partake in their festival days, travel a lot and learn about the religion before we go, and ask our friends from different religions to share with us about theirs.
    It’s so important to know about different religions when we live in such a diverse world. Thanks for sharing your look into the world spirituality.
    Valarie recently posted…From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the WorldMy Profile

  3. Ann

    I ready do love The Empty Pot and CAN’T wait to read this one!!! I’d like to add it to my bird book list.

    I have my daughter in religious education. She really likes it but we have mixed feeling about it because we don’t agree with everything.
    Ann recently posted…Tweet Hearts Giveaway and Math PrintableMy Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      I have two copies … I am posting on reaching 1 million page views in a month and I am giving away books and other things. I realized that you left me the most comments and you were getting a book package anyway. I’ll be sure to include one of the Conference of the Birds in yours. Maybe your daughter will like it!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…7 Fun, Easy and FREE Ideas to Get Kids ReadingMy Profile

  4. Brian

    First, thanks so much for all your postings, I’ve gotten so many good recommendations from your blog. I wanted to ask/request one small change on your postings, that I think would have an enormous affect on user-friendliness/usability for your site. PLEASE include a link of some sort to the actual Picture Book itself. Can this be done? Right now, everytime I see a post, I simply see the name of the book, plus a cover image. Which forces me to open up another browser window, go to Google, search the title, see where it’s sold, etc etc. It gets very old doing this over time. I mention this with all due respect. Thanks!

  5. I also love The Empty Pot. I’ll have to look for The Conference of the Birds!
    maryanne recently posted…Virtual Book Club for Kids: David McPhailMy Profile

  6. Did you know that Demi is coming out with a new book with religious themes? I really love her illustrations, and I think that The Conference of the Birds was one of my favorites!
    Bethany recently posted…Redwall by Brian Jacques FREE todayMy Profile

  7. Ann

    Wow, cool, thanks!!! We are exited for the package and copy of the Empty Pot!
    Ann recently posted…Animal Tracks in the SnowMy Profile

  8. Ann

    Right, conference of the birds, I was distracted, imagine that! Thanks so much!!!

    Last comment, I promise!
    Ann recently posted…Deer Friend,My Profile

  9. I really need to do a better job at this. We do have our own personal beliefs/faith but I feel like it’s important that I share with my children World Religions. I took a course in college and was fascinated by it all.
    Thx for the list.
    mari recently posted…15 Neighbor Gifts: No Baking or Crafting IdeasMy Profile

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