Review: Zion Learns to See: Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness by Terence & Zion Lester


Zion Learns to See book cover
Title: Zion Learns to See: Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness
Author:  Terence Lester, Zion Lester
Illustrator: Subi Bosa
Publisher: IVP Kids
Genre: Children's Fiction | Christian | OwnVoices
Age category: 4 - 8 years
Release Date: March 12, 2024
ISBN 13: 978-1514006696
Pages: 32
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every person matters to God. And that means every person should matter to us.
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. Join Zion as she learns about people experiencing homelessness, and see how she is moved to respond as she recognizes that all people matter to God.
Inspired by real-life events, this story written by Terence Lester and Zion Lester, and illustrated by Subi Bosa, will be enjoyed by children and the adults who read with them. Also included is a note from the author to encourage further conversation about the content.
Discover IVP Kids and share with children the things that matter to God! 




My Thoughts

Zion Learns to See: Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness touched my heart as I read it. It deals with a subject that either makes us uncomfortable or puts us on the defensive--homelessness.


At some point, we felt horror, compassion, and hopelessness upon seeing the plight of the homeless. Unfortunately, when it became so prevalent we couldn't miss it, we became blind after extended exposure or avoided the areas where they congregate until we "forgot" they exist.

With this book, Dr. Terence and his daughter, Zion, open our eyes afresh and remind us that we are not here on earth just for ourselves and our loved ones. We are reminded that "Every person matters to God, and that means every person should matter to us."

What I Liked

  • The authors' ability to condense a topic of such importance into 32 pages and do it justice.
  • The delicate dance between our civic responsibilities and our godly commitment.
  • Zion's immediate response to the eye-opening facts.
  • The reminder that we are all God's creations
  • That this book is not a theory, but a commitment to God and community that Dr. Terence and his family are living out in real time.

What I Disliked
  • Although I loved the bright colors, I was not fond of the artwork. That being said, I'm happy to say that it did not impede the thrust of the story.

Key Takeaway

  • Although as scripture says, "we will always have the poor with us," that is no reason to give up and not do our part. Each of us can do something because the homeless are not numbers on a pie chart. but real people with real needs just like we are.

My Recommendation

I highly recommend this book to anyone with children. This is a conversation starter for raising godly and civically responsible children. 

Discussions can cover

  • How things are
  • How they should be
  • How we can make a difference... yes, children too.

I am thankful that I received a complimentary copy of Zion Learns to See: Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness from IVP Kids via Netgalley. This review was written voluntarily.

Dr. Terence Lester is a minister, speaker, community activist, author, and founder of Love Beyond Walls, a not-for-profit organization focused on poverty awareness and community mobilization. He received his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Public Policy and Social Change from Union Institute and University.

His campaigns on behalf of the poor, including #LoveSinksIn (which provides handwashing stations for the poor), have been featured in USA Today, Black Enterprise, Essence, and Reader's Digest. They have been viewed by millions of people globally on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS News, NBC, Upworthy, and "The Bright Side" with Katie Couric. He was named by Coca-Cola as one of their History Shakers.

Terence has delivered countless sermons and speeches at conferences, churches, and schools around the country. He has served on several ministerial staffs and currently writes a weekly newsletter entitled, “From Streets to Scholarship,” which addresses the intersection of public policy, poverty, race, and faith.

His books include I See You, When We Stand, and All God’s Children. Terence has also received numerous awards for his community activism, including the Atlanta 500 (2020–2023), Brawny Giant Award (2020), American Express NextGen Award (2020) Empire Board of Realtists Distinguished Service Award (2017), SCLC Social Advocacy Award (2016), Atlanta Voice's 50 under 50 honor (2016), and the True to Atlanta Award presented by the Atlanta Hawks (2016).

He and his wife, Cecilia, and their family live in Atlanta.

Author links

Zion Lester became interested in her dad's work on a Saturday morning when she was seven years old. Since then, she has grown to become a writer, speaker, and community leader. She has also continued to regularly serve with Love Beyond Walls and encourages others her age and younger to volunteer too.

Subi Bosa is an illustrator of picture books, comics, and graphic novels. Growing up in South Africa, Subi drew all the time and in every room of his house--sometimes even on the walls! Today he lives in Cape Town, South Africa, where he produces a podcast for creatives and continues his passion for illustration.

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