AI: Picture Books for Godless Kids
The other day, I was pondering what gifts I could get my younger siblings as New Year’s presents. My parents are raising the kids (aged 4 and 6) as rational thinkers who look at nature with wonder and at religion with a skeptical eye. In spite of the wishes of our humanist parents, other adults in my siblings’ lives are teaching them about God and Jesus and all that jazz. It’s probably more than a little jarring for them.
My youngest, slightly gender-dysphoric sibling is very impressionable. It was in her head for months that “God makes her special.” The older one can probably understand that just because lots of people try to tell her about God doesn’t mean that he’s real. There isn’t enough convincing evidence to prove his existence, despite the contradictions of others. She seems to trust what her parents tell her, thankfully.
It saddens me to imagine how confused they must be. I wish there was some way I could give them support without being around them all the time. (As it is, I typically see them once a month-ish.)
It struck me that there might be books for godless kids that would be able to help validate them and help them realize it’s okay to be an atheist. There are several books about humanism, evolution, and morality; books to help children of same-sex couples realize that there’s nothing wrong with their parents, despite what they may hear from other adults. Hell, there are even books for young children with incarcerated parents. But, apparently there aren’t any picture books aimed at helping young kids deal with the social stigma of being godless.
Do you think it might have helped you when you were a tot to have a book like this available to you? Would it help your (possibly hypothetical) children? Should I write this book?
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I hope to see some responses here.
I am currently having a simillar problem. A friend of mine recenly converted to Catholicism and also converted her children (with big parties and lots of gifts). My son adores the family, and we have always been close, but recently the daughter has been trying to fill my son’s head with *the glory of god*.
I know one book for children of that age, unfortunately there is no English edition right now. It’s called Which is the way to God, please, asked the little piglet, the link has an English translation and the illustrations as PDFs. It created quite a controversy in Germany and people tried to get it banned, but fortunately, they failed.
Infodels.org has a list of book recommendations for atheist/skeptic parents and their kids.
I feel that a book like you mentioned would have made so many things easier for me as a child.
I was raised atheist, and I think it would have made a lot of things easier if there had been not only books, but multiple different media sources showing atheism as a positive choice. My dad, especially, was very good at explaining things in a logical way that I could understand clearly, but I never found a good way of coping with the fact that my friends and neighbors all believed something different than I did … the best I managed was a sort of “I know that Santa’s not real but I don’t want to spoil it for the other dumb kids who haven’t figured it out yet” sort of smugness about how much smarter my family was (which wasn’t a totally healthy thing). And it took me until I was an adult to develop the language skills required to defend myself from the attacks of the faithful (everything from ‘how could you not love Jesus?’ to ‘you and your family are all going to Hell and you’re everything that’s wrong in the world’).
Having atheist role models in books, TV, movies, music, live theatre … it would have helped to create that language. It would have taught how to interact with people who tell you that you’re wrong. So I think it’s a very good idea.
Coming from a huge deeply Catholic family, I myself sometimes feel crushed by the heavy expactation that I embrace their belief as the one truly worthy philosophy to follow. I can only imagine what my future kids would have to go through, since I intend to raise them in a godless environment and there’s only so much distance I can put between me and my family. So that would most definitely be an interesting book for me.
Would any of these be helpful? They aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, but a couple of them might be close-ish…
I’m glad to see such positive reception to this idea! Thanks to those of you who provided links–the German story is really cute!
I may actually outline a book to this affect. Yet another project 😀
As the author of 3 books for atheists and freethinker ages 5-10, I have to say that there is content out there. Just wanted to point that out. 😉