By Nancy L. Haines, illustrated by Anne E. G. Nydam. Pleasant Green Books, 2016. 24 pages. $12/paperback. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
This book is a resource for teaching children how Quakers conduct business. It was written with the support of Wellesley (Mass.) Meeting and financed with a grant from the same group. The book is well organized and could be used by a teacher with limited experience as a Quaker.
First, there is a story about some children conducting their own business meeting. The decision-making process is described in a straightforward and thorough manner. Terms like “clerk” and “agenda” are defined within the text so younger children or those with no experience with this process can easily understand. Following the story, there is a list of queries. Since that is a term that children may not be familiar with, this section is subtitled “Some Questions to Think About.” Then there is a “Glossary of Useful Quaker Definitions.” Here more difficult terms such as “discernment” are defined. These are defined in the sense that Quakers use them, not necessarily as we hear them used in everyday speech. “Seasoning,” for example, has nothing to do with salt and pepper. Finally there is a description of how junior meeting for business is conducted at Wellesley Meeting in Massachusetts.
I hope meetings will purchase this book and actually use it with their children. Perhaps they will also decide to hold junior business meetings, if they are not already doing so. Holding such a meeting would be a perfect culminating activity after reading and discussing the book.