We had a two-part program for June. In Part One, local librarian Mindy Rhiger discussed her ten favorite books for young children on the topics of religion, faith, belief, and death. She noted that the books were great for introducing children to these difficult topics without indoctrinating them. Some of the books explained, in simple terms, that people around the world have a variety of beliefs. Others are designed to help secular families talk about death and loss without involving religious teachings such as resurrection. This included The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by Judith Viorst, which offers children an open, honest look at death and Goodbye, Rune, by Marit Kaldhol, a book that offers a humanist perspective on the loss of a friend.
In Part Two, Rhiger discussed ten great books for young children on
scientific topics. Some, such as Riverbank (adapted from the final
paragraph of Darwin's On the Origin of Species) and Steve Jenkin’s Life
on Earth, provide an introduction to evolution for young people. Others,
such as Born to be Giants, point out what we do know - and what we can
know - about dinosaurs and other events from Earth's past. Rhiger also
expressed her fondness for books that encourage children to be
explorers, critical thinkers, and to ask questions. These included Turn
It Loose, by Diane Swanson and Marcus Pfister's Questions, Questions.