On a spiritual and global level, readers would be hard-pressed to find a better book on family values than Welcoming Spirit Home
. Author Sobonfu Some, whose name means "keeper of rituals," narrates this collection of stories and traditions from her native tribe--the Dagara of Burkino Faso, Africa. Children are considered the soul of each village, according to the Dagara people, and as a result the tribe has numerous rituals that celebrate the arrival and raising of young ones. Page by page, Some explains these many exotic and loving rituals--from helping grandparents and babies bond to activities that support a "child's sense of worth." Even a woman's conception is cause for enormous community pride. Elders bathe the mother-to-be, dress her up, and then "introduce her and the incoming soul to the community." Everyone kisses her belly and sings songs of welcoming and joy. The tribe's simplistic lifestyle and genuine happiness seem to stem from its strong connection to the earth as well as the honoring of all tribal people--even the unborn.
"This is a teacher who can help us put together so many things that our modern Western World has broken," according to jacket quote by Alice Walker. This is, in fact, Some's underlying mission--with the entire back section devoted to how readers can adapt these beautiful Dagara rituals into a Western lifestyle. --Gail Hudson