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Book Reviews

  • "Humanism, What's That?" by Helen Bennett Featured book review: August 2006. Internet Infidels: Parent's Corner.


  • "If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do?" by Sandra McLeod Humphrey, for ages 4-8 (Off Site) Featured book review: May 2002. Atheist Aliance Web Center: Family Issues.


  • "This Star Shall Abide" from the "Children of the Star" trilogy by Sylvia Engdahl (Ages 13-18) (Off Site) Featured book review: June 2002. Atheist Aliance Web Center: Family Issues.


  • A Birthday Present for Daniel: A Child's Story of Loss by Juliet C. Rothman; illustrated by Louise Gish, Paperback

    DESCRIPTION "The loss of a sibling is painfully difficult. A little girl who has lost her brother shares with readers just how his death has changed the way her family interacts and the way she thinks about herself and others. We explore her feelings, and those of he r sister, mother, and father; all of which combine to illustrate that people find many different ways to come to terms with losing someone they love. The book is designed to generate discussion between children and adults as each page provides opportunities for communication and understanding, expression of feelings, and support from the adult

    As the story moves through the young girl's experiences, it arrives at a universal problem--how to celebrate a birthday for the child who has died. The suggestion presented has been recommended by bereavement counselors and support groups. Although written for the young child, A Birthday Present for Daniel reaches out to all who have experienced the loss of a loved one." 38 pages (illustrations throughout). Recommend for ages 8-12.


  • Girls Are Girls and Boys Are Boys: So What's the Difference? by Sol Gordon; illustrated by Vivien Cohen, Paperback

    DESCRIPTION "In this nonsexist sexuality-education book, Gordon explains human reproduction, the physical differences between boys and girls, and that thesse differences have noeffect on a person's choice of career or other interests." 48 pages (illustrations throughout, parent's notes). Recommended for ages 8-12.


  • Gullible's Travels (Audio Cassette) by Steve Allen, Audio Cassette

    DESCRIPTION "With humor and catchy songs, Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows present an engaging exchange between Mr. Wiseman and his two young pupils, Bob Gulliver and friend Sally. Gulliver, unfortunately, doesn't reason very well. In fact, he so often believes anything he hears or reads that his friends have nicknamed him 'Gullible'. In this fascinating adventure Gullible encounters and odd assortment of characters along the road to good reasoning-- all of whom illustrate what happens when reasoning goes bad. Critical thinking has never been so much fun!" 1 tape, 60 minutes. Recommended for ages 8-15.


  • If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do? by Sandra McLeod Humphrey; illustrated by Brian Strassburg, Paperback

    DESCRIPTION "The 25 situations presented and the thought-provoking questions at the end of each scenario help you talk to your child about social and moral issues in a natural and nonthreatening way. An entertaining way to learn about values." 115 pages (illustrations throughout). Recommended for ages 6-12.


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

    DESCRIPTION The scientific method for kids, examines ghosts, ESP, etc. Short gentle section on religion. "In this introduction to skeptical curiousity, young readers learn that they are capable of figuring out what to believe and of knowing when there isn't enough in formation to decide." 80 pages (illustrations throughout). Recommended for ages 9 and up

    REVIEW Maybe Yes, Maybe No: A Guide for Young Skeptics is probably best for children between the ages of 7 and 14. People over 14 years old who are superstitious and/or who need a lesson on clear thinking will also learn much from them. The book provide s children with some beginning tools for critical and clear thinking. It tells a story about an event which appears to have potential supernatural ramifications. But when the children look at the events more carefully, ask questions, and study the evidenc e, they find that the event has nothing to do with the supernatural. If your child is afraid of ghosts or monsters, then this book will be a great addition to your library. Even if they aren't, it will help them to more clearly see the world. (Reviewed by Al Case.)


  • They're Never Too Young for Books: A Guide to Children's Books for Ages 1 to 8 by Edythe M. McGovern and Helen D. Muller

    REVIEW "This book is a great resource! Written by a librarian and a professor of English and child development who has taught many classes about children's literature, it opens with an introduction about the many benefits of reading to children, then goes on to explain in detail how you can choose good books. The rest of the book is arranged by subject, with annotated lists of hundreds of fiction and non-fiction books, covering everything from books that help develop skills to books about various cultures to books about monsters.

    Freethinkers will especially appreciate books about life's problems (like illness and divorce) that offer practical, emotional perspectives instead of religious solutions." -- Molleen Matsumura


  • 20 Teachable Virtues: Practical Ways to Pass on Lessons of Virtue and Character to Your Children by Barbara C. Unell and Jerry L. Wyckoff

    REVIEW The 20 virtues put forth in this book, which include Empathy, Tolerance, Courage, Peacemaking, Resourcefulness, Patience, Cooperation, Honesty, and Self-discipline, are described as the basic tenets upon which a civil, moral, and just society operate.

    Each of the 20 virtues is discussed in a separate chapter that follows a simple format. The virtue is first defined (literally, Webster's Collegiate Dictionary definitions are provided), followed by 4 or 5 hypothetical quotes that illustrate the definitions. A "fictional" family is then introduced and we learn, along with this family, how to "live" the virtue, not only through our words but through our actions. These hypothetical scenarios, called "Teachable Moments," duplicate common scenes that could occur in any family on any given day. The situations presented are believable and the "teachable moments" are sensible and practical.

    The authors say they've written "20 Teachable Virtues" to provide a "practical, easy-to-use book that focuses on what to 'teach,' instead of what to 'moralize,' to one's children concerning lessons of virtue." Hear, hear! -- Trish Adkinson


  • Learning Bible Today: From Creation to the Conquest of Canaan [PDF] by Michael Prival

    DESCRIPTION This book is intended to present major Biblical stories in a readable and accurate manner, to discuss the stories from a scientific point of view, and to give parents and teachers the information they need to explain and discuss them with children. Aimed at grades six and up, this work is informational for adults as well and includes both stories and detailed discussion topics.

  • Toy Story Movie Review By Kevin Klapstein

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