Picture Book Review: The Principle of Truth by Randy Williams

The Principle of Truth written by Randy Williams, illustrated by Sandro Perovic

A background of bright green geranium leaves with red centers. My hand holds the bottom left corner of a reddish brown hardback book. The cover features a Black man in a blue shirt with his arm around a Black boy also wearing a blue shirt. Behind them are three people in dresses or jeans and a shirt. The title is written across the top “The Principle of Propriety”. In the corners are silver filigrees.
Image description: A background of bright green geranium leaves with red centers. My hand holds the bottom left corner of a reddish brown hardback book. The cover features a Black man in a blue shirt with his arm around a Black boy also wearing a blue shirt. Behind them are three people in dresses or jeans and a shirt. The title is written across the top “The Principle of Propriety”. In the corners are silver filigrees.

Book description: Journey with Melanin Origins as we share a short story about the principle of truth. A principle that states, “I will always seek to discern what is real, know what is correct, and act accordingly.”

Melanin Origins has been hard at work developing new series that focus on principles and people. The All in All Series covers Biblical figures such as Abraham and Elisha. The Principle of Truth is part of the Ma’at Series and delves into what it means to be truthful and why it’s important for trust and community.

Truth, and the others in the Ma’at series, are great books for preschool and kindergarten classrooms that work on social-emotional skills. They can be read preemptively or as issues arise within the classroom as a whole or between specific children. Truthfulness is a particularly salient issue in young children, as lying certainly happens, usually around small issues with low stakes (not to mention that children are very willing to forgive and move on). Discussing the consequences can really help children grapple with the ethics of being truthful and form good habits before the stakes are higher.

I especially appreciated that The Principle of Truth focused on the importance of truth within building and upholding community. Most books about lying that I have seen moralize about individual responsibility and how trust can damage interpersonal relationships, essentially the neoliberal version of truth. This is certainly an important piece of being truthful, but the damage lying can do to community is also incredibly important. Children can learn that we have a responsibility to a larger group of people than just our parents or one or two friends.

I know books with a capital “M” message can be a hard sell, but these books have a place in curriculums and classrooms as well as libraries. They target specific skills and ideas we want to be discussing with our young people, because being explicit about these fundamental aspects of character will ensure our children think about moral and ethical issues as they grow. Unlike the All in All series, these are not overtly religious although these principles clearly align with religious ideals and would fit just as well in parochial schools and Sunday schools as in secular classrooms and homes.

Purchase the book here (not affiliate links). Please, in this uncertain time, if at all possible, purchase from an independent/local bookstore. They need our help right now.

Final note: If you do purchase this book, please post a review of it on Amazon. This will help other folks find the book and know that it’s worth purchasing. If you use any other book services like GoodReads or your local library’s online catalog be sure to post a review there too! And if your local library doesn’t have a copy, request that they purchase one.

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