Joe Nickell, Children’s Author
In her blog, [a] homeschooling, freethinking mom dreaming of learning to live off the land, during short breaks from teaching times tables and cleaning up poop,” who tells us, “I’m trying to figure this whole secular parenting thing out while raising my kids in the heart of Jesus Land, and it’s not always pretty,” writes in a posting:
Teaching my kids to think skeptically as they are bombarded with information and various worldviews is of great importance to me. I’ve said it before, but as a homeschooling mom, my goal is to teach my children how to think and not what to think. Of course we learn math facts, grammar rules, and history, but more important than filling their heads with particular knowledge now, is teaching them to love learning and to continue schooling themselves for their entire lives. To this end, here are three great books for teaching kids to approach life skeptically!
1. Bonnie loved reading The Magic Detectives [Joe Nickell, Prometheus 1989]. The book features thirty short real-life mysteries, from Bigfoot to the Shroud of Turin to UFO sightings. After studying each case, the reader can think it over before flipping the page to read the solution to the mystery. Bonnie flew through it, then we adapted one of the suggested assignments in the back of the book. She wrote a small essay on the ethical difference between tricks used by phony "psychics" and stage magicians.
In the book, Nickell argues from the d’Arcis memorandum, the wrap around distortion problems, the discovery of paint particles, on how easy it is to make a negative (it is not, of course) and the use of carbon dating.
It makes you think about homeschooling. I doubt that even the most secular, freethinking school districts, far away from “Jesus Land,” would use a book like this even “for teaching kids to approach life skeptically.” Being skeptical is fine. Freethinking, fine. But, mom, check out the factual content of this book as it pertains to the shroud. That was 1989. One of the things I wanted my kids to learn was the value of fact checking. Much has happened since 1989.
The mom concludes:
Have you found any other good books for little skeptics? Especially for younger readers?
Mom, go to Amazon.com. Click on Children’s Books. In the search box enter the word Skeptic for 6 books, Atheist for 16 books, etc.