Picture Book: Mira and the Big Story
Author: Laura Alary
Illustrator: Sue Todd
Summary: Mira’s village is in a valley, one of two on either side of a river.
The two sets of villagers are enemies because of differing origin stories. One involves the King of Heaven and some enormous birds.
Across the river, their story is of the Queen of the Earth and giant turtles.
As each village celebrates aspects of their beginning, the other complains:
That is not how the story goes!
This is our valley.
It was a gift to us.
We belong here.
There is no room for the Others.
Although they’re enemies, curious Mira often watches the other villagers from a tree. Sometimes she sneaks across the river and is struck by the familiarity. While on the other side, Mira gets hurts.
Immediately, a boy greets her and helps her back to her side. He has been watching Mira and commends her for having the courage to cross over. Before crossing back home, he says he wishes they would meet again.
Confused, Mira visits Old Alfred, who is wise and kind and willing to hear her big question: “Are the stories wrong?”
Old Alfred explains that stories can make you bigger or smaller, depending on how much space they take up in your mind and heart. That determines whether there is room for new stories, new people, and new ideas.
Then he says, “There will never be peace in this valley until the people in both villages find a story big enough for all of them.” Old Alfred offers Mira such a story.
All matter began small, the size of a chestnut. With the light of pure energy, stars were made. Stars exploded and became the source of everything, including their valley, river, and two villages.
Now, they are all neighbors, with the same origin. Old Alfred explains that his story is big enough to allow for Mira’s curiosity and the boy’s open-hearted kindness.
Such a story allows Mira to look forward to sharing the big story with the boy and other children and grownups who might cross the river with her.
Hanna’s Comments: Recently I read this wonderful book to my adult Sunday school class. They loved the story and the woodcut illustrations. After reading, I simply asked them to find connections to our church’s 6 priorities:
Creating an Inclusive Community
Embracing Tough Questions
Each priority is grounded in scripture. More about that can be found [here]. Laura Alary is a Canadian writer whose other books I highly recommend. They can be found on her website [here] or at Amazon [here]. PBT was privileged to have Laura write a guest post in which she talked about the inspiration for her books. It’s a great read! Check it out [here].
Original Publisher & Date: Skinner House Books, 2013
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Check out the link above of my church’s priorities; …and so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-37)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children or adults when exploring the concept of truth, the value of diverse perspectives, or the importance of being neighborly.