Dana’s Super-Gargantuan Guide to Atheist Books Suitable for Gift-Giving (Part III)

Oh, you didn’t think we were done, did you? There may have been a time when two great-big posts would be enough to cover all the books in the atheist literature. But this is the 21st century, and we’ve been a prolific bunch o’ heathens. Why, we even have parenting books, and books for teenagers, and what religion does to the kiddies. Even after all this, we’ll have barely scratched the surface, but at least we’ll have a nice little list we may even check twice.

Ready for more? Let’s go!

Image shows a cat sitting on a stack of books about cats. Caption says, "I suppose you think you understand me now."

 

Table of Contents:

Religion vs. Kids

Parenting

Kids and Teens

 

Religion vs. Kids

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment by Janet Heimlich

This is a thorough look at religious child abuse and mistreatment in America. None of the three major Abrahamic faiths are spared, as none of them spare children. Janet Heimlich has thoroughly investigated and documented the abuse going on within authoritarian religious cultures, and what she’s found will chill you. Her book explores how certain interpretations of holy texts can aid and abet harmful treatment. She covers physical abuse (including corporal punishment), emotional abuse (including religious spurning), sexual abuse (including how religious communities close ranks against abuse victims), and medical neglect (such as that caused by a belief in Christian Science). This is a thorough exploration of the ways that religion can create fertile ground for abuse, and forces us to acknowledge that it happens here in America, in churches that aren’t considered cults, to thousands of children every day.

The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children by Katherine Stewart

Katherine Stewart’s book is a terrifying exposé of a Christian group’s attempt to brainwash public school children. Talk about your basic wolves in sheep’s clothing: The Good News Club is very sly about who and what they really are. And it’s not just them: religion saturates our public school system, despite the shrieks of the godly that God’s been kicked out of the schoolhouse. Are you ready to be horrified at how sectarian religious groups are busy trying to convert the kids? Time for you to read this book.

The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce

Enter the bizarre world of the evangelical Christian mania for adopting children. Kathryn Joyce investigates those parents and churches who’ve been bitten by the adoption bug, and reveals how their good intentions have fueled child trafficking, exploitation of the poor and the desperate, and increased the coercive pressure on pregnant women to give their babies up for adoption rather than abort. Fraudulent orphans have been created by greedy agencies in order to trade kids for cash. Families are adopting more children than they can care for. They’re an extreme manifestation of the problems affecting the adoption industry.

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Parenting

 

Parenting Beyond Belief edited by Dale McGowan.

Within, you will find a plethora of essays on raising kids in secular households, covering such topics as holidays and celebrations, morality, values, death, questioning, community, and much more. It’s there to support parents who’ve decided to bring their kids up without religion, and does a great job of it. If you know freethinkers who need a parental assist, slide a copy under the tree for ’em.

Raising Freethinkers edited by Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura, Amanda Metskas and Jan Devor

This is the other book to give to freethinking parents. Got questions? It’s got answers. It’s also got activities and resources, practical tips, advice on best practices, and all sorts of things to make this parenting without religion gig a bit easier.

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Kids and Teens

Maybe Yes, Maybe No: A Guide for Young Skeptics by Dan Barker

This is a charming little book for budding skeptics. Our heroine, Andrea, has to solve a ghostly mystery by “asking questions, discovering facts, and thinking critically.” Andrea’s a skeptic, and uses her mad skeptic skillz to get to the bottom of things. This is a great book for teaching healthy skepticism, encouraging deep thought, and showing kids how to question.

The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God by Alom Shaha

Did you know that bacon can be a pivotal moment in the journey from religion to atheism? Have you ever seen it as the most controversial thing? It was for our protagonist. This is Alom Shaha’s story of breaking free of faith, wherein school lunches lead to the rejection of religion – okay, just a bit. Mostly autobiographical, it shows how a kid can question and lead a life without any gods.

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You may notice this list is rather shorter than the last. This is because I’m not a parent and don’t know much about what’s out there for atheist kids. Leave your favorite titles in the comments, and they could make the list next year!

Back to Part I
Back to Part II
Continue to Part IV

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Dana’s Super-Gargantuan Guide to Atheist Books Suitable for Gift-Giving (Part III)
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