I’ve got entire lists filled with excellent books about atheism for adults, but the list for children is still rather thin on the ground. I’d like to remedy that ASAP. If you know of any good books for children and teens that explain atheism, help children become skeptical thinkers, and explain religion from a comparative or anthropological viewpoint, let me know about them! I’ll compile a handy list we can keep around for birthdays and holidays.
Thank you, my darlings!
18 thoughts on “Books on Atheism for Children?”
Fact or fiction?’
I don’t know if it applies, but there’s a rather terrifying children’s book called The Terrible Things that is, in essence, the storification of Niemoeller’s famous quotation-poem. It was one of my favourite books as a child, even though it made me cry. But I like the message of needing to speak out while there is still time, even if one is not immediately affected, because that time can run out. So I suppose it’s a social justice-y sort of book. But definitely fiction.
My goodness and it turns out there’s a video!!! (Can’t watch it, at work, but it’s there.)
And you can read the entire book here in pdf.
Sorry about that comment.
Also, I don’t remember having the explicit Holocaust comparison in the old copy I had as a child, but I will check when I get home.
I can’t believe we haven’t covered this at Grounded Parents but it seems so.
While not specifically for children I like Jen Hancock’s books on Humanism. And her book on bullying “The Bully Vaccine” is fascinating.
My son loved In The Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World. I really liked it too. Though it wasn’t explicitly atheistic, it presented 25 different creation stories, including, IIRC, Adam and Eve and Noah’s flood. My favorite was a story of a god or gods who tried to create humans and failed, creating monkeys. I think they failed 3 times before creating humans.
I also really liked Dawkins’ Magic of Reality and Dunning’s The Secret of the Gypsy Queen.
Define children; more to the point, what age group(s?)?
My suggestion is perhaps appropriate for the intellectually-inclined teenager (and older!), and probably is not what you are looking for, but I’d suggest Asimov’s Guide to the Bible. Yes, it’s long, but it is by Issac Asimov, so it also both quite readable and fairly trustworthy. And it will also certainly mortally wound any lingering “belief”. It is not about or explaining atheism per se, but a cool, rational, look at a horrible book.
“help children become skeptical thinkers”
The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved by Larry Kusche
For older kids who are good readers. Shows the benefit of going back to the original sources.
Many of the James Randi books on how scams work.
Here’s a great book to introduce the idea that God is not at all like what the grownups tell you –
I had 3 children under 5 when I became an atheist with the rest of the post-911 crowd. For a person deeply into both parenthood and books, the most unsettling thing about that was realizing that the Tolkein, Lewis etc. canon of my childhood was no longer a good fit and that I didn’t have any idea what to replace it with. Terry Pratchett saved my bacon!
Small Gods, Tiffany Aching, The Nation, The Nome/Bromeliad Trilogy. Not books about atheism per se, but books that support independent minds and humanist values without being preachy.
Also, the Bible itself. I know plenty of people who say that reading the Bible was instrumental in their path to atheism.
The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. I read a few pages in a bookstore when I was about 12 and BANG, I knew why Christianity was wrong. Before then it felt wrong, but that moment started my path out of the intense indoctrination I was drowning in. I read it fully later, it has simple clear writing, probably for 10-12 years old on up. The Baloney Detection Kit chapter is great for kids and should be taught from a young age. That leads me to:
YourLogicalFallacyis wall chart should be in every home. Not a book, but a great family teaching tool and reference. It would be great if they created a specific kids version, but that could be a project where the kids make their own version to hang on their wall.
Evolution Revolution by Robert Winston is a Dorling Kindersley book so is visually engaging for a wide age group of kids, and is written by a world renown scientist.
For the young kids, though, you gotta go with the Brick Bible version, with its nice LEGO rendering of all the great stories about murder, pillaging, incest, genocide, and other kinds of Old Testament fun.
Aw! I’d better come out with the clean version soon, cuz that one is definitely filled with more salty words than most parents would be comfortable with.
I’m getting a lot of resources for older kids and teens. It would be nice to have things for the under-12 set.
If you end up doing a Grounded Parents post, please oh please send me the link!
In general, in our house, we go for the fancy science books with awesome pictures, esp. anything with planets (usually explains how solar systems form) and dinosaurs (covers evolutionary stuff). But I can’t think of any explicitly atheistic books for the small-children crowd. I’m going to sift through the bookshelves when I get home, because now I’m actually curious if we have anythign that fits. Besides indirectly, that is.
Thanks for the link to the Terrible Things book; it is relevant and powerful.
And it reminds me that we need to work full-time at getting the message out: the terrible things are coming for the people with hijabs, the people with turbans, the young black men, and the children of undocumented immigrants RIGHT NOW.
Vote, people — it’s our best weapon!
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