Conversations

Terence Lester – Zion Learns to See [Q/A]

We recently had the chance to ask Terence Lester a few questions about his brand new book (co-written with his daughter Zion Lester)

Zion Learns to See: Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness
Terence Lester and Zion Lester
Subi Bosa, Illustrator

Hardback: IVP Kids, 2024
Buy Now: [ BookShop ] [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]


Book Description:

Every person matters to God. And that means every person should matter to us.

Father-daughter duo, Terence Lester and Zion Lester, have written a new children’s book that helps kids learn that they just because they are young, doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference. Terence is a minister, author, community activist, speaker, and founder of Love Beyond Walls (learn more here: http://www.lovebeyondwalls.org). Zion has continued to serve with Love Beyond Walls and is a community leader, writer, and speaker.

In the book, Zion has no idea what she’s getting into when she decides to join her dad at his work on Saturday. But she quickly discovers that a day at the community center brings new and wonderful people into her life. Zion learns about people experiencing homelessness and she is moved to respond as she recognizes that all people matter to God.


 

Q&A with Terence Lester:

What motivated you to write this book?

For the past decade, our family has been working with adults to foster understanding and compassion toward the unhoused community. We noticed that misconceptions often led to fear, which adults could easily pass on to their children. This book aims to educate parents and value each person as worthy in the eyes of God. Co-authored by myself (Terence) and my daughter Zion, the book is based on our real-life relationship and experiences.

 

Briefly summarize the central thesis of your book. What is distinctive about this idea and/or your approach?

The core message of our book is that age is no barrier to service; children can learn to value people, whether they have a permanent address or not. Our unique approach lies in showing how a child’s compassion can create a ripple effect, inspiring others to serve as well.

 

What are the five main things you want readers to take away from your book?

  • Our children are always observing us—how we behave in our families, communities, and professions.
  • Age is not a barrier to compassion; children can learn empathy toward those in vulnerable situations.
  • Parents have the opportunity to be role models of service, both in religious and worldly contexts.
  • Opportunities exist to empower children with service ideas, regardless of their age.
  • Supporting children’s initiatives can have a cascading positive impact on other children and families.

 

Is there anything else you want to let us know about the book?

This book is based on actual events. Zion’s early exposure to serving vulnerable people inspired her to initiate a campaign among her second-grade peers, eventually involving her entire school.
 


 
Zion Learns to See is a heartwarming children’s book that tackles a sensitive topic with grace and compassion. Through the eyes of young Zion, readers embark on a journey of understanding and empathy as she accompanies her father to work and discovers the realities of people experiencing homelessness. This beautifully illustrated story not only educates children about the challenges faced by those without stable homes but also instills in them the importance of kindness, compassion, and the power of small acts of generosity. Zion Learns to See is a must-read for parents, teachers, and children. It encourages conversations about social issues and nurtures a sense of community and care for others.”
– Latasha Morrison, author of Be the Bridge and founder and CEO of Be the Bridge
 


 

Sample from the book:

 

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