Christmas And Seasonal Gift Suggestions For The Young Critical Thinker

These are by no means exhaustive lists, but recently I popped in a Twitter suggestion that people check out my book Token Skeptic: Interviews, Essays and Observations to get a round-up of some of the more recent figures who are active in skepticism (and what is the Christmas season without pimping your own work, let’s face it – I have a podcast to run, after all…), and it got me thinking that I should blog a general round-up before Christmas madness gets underway and seeking books becomes all too hectic.

I also have merchandise like t-shirts and posters and what-not over on the Token Skeptic site, which will provide you with amusing little jokes on astrology like this:

…which look pretty spiffy when worn if I do say so myself (huge thanks to Catherine of Faster Pussycat Productions for the hard work of making it look beautiful):

I also recently Tweeted this link, that I suggest people pop in their suggestions to:

Ever shopped for a gift for a young girl? It  seems like the only options out there are super stereotypical little girl–all pink, princess-themed, and sparkly. There are great toys, books and movies out there–gifts that show powerful, healthy images of girls and women, but it can be really hard to find them.

That’s why we’re asking UltraViolet members to help us put together the first ever UltraViolet Holiday Gift Guide: A 21st Century Guide to Non-sexist Holiday Shopping.

Then, just this morning, I was presented with a question about finding support for a young person’s active imagination and how to bolster it and encourage them to reflect further.So – with out further ado!

For Children 

I’ve written on this topic over the years – so to make it easier, I’ll post a few links to more recent podcast episodes that feature current books and ideas, and then a basic list from a while back that you may like to check out.

Vodcast – Godless Parenting Chat: What Do You Do To Bring Up God-Free Children? (includes book list)

#96 – On Critical Thinking And Santa (Again) – Interview With Matt Lowry

#77 – On The Skeptic’s Dictionary For Kids – Interview With Robert Todd Carroll

#71 – On Great Books In Skepticism – Podblack’s Book Club With Embiggen Books (includes book list for all ages)

#35 – On Science At Home – An Interview With Deb Hodgkin

  • Maybe Yes, Maybe No: A Guide for Young Skeptics (ages 6 and up) – Dan Barker
  • Bill Nye’s books
  • Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s books – all ages
  • The Young Atheist’s Handbook – Alom Shaha
  • Ray Spangenburg and Kit Moser’s books
  • George’s Secret Key to the Universe – Dr Stephen and Lucy Hawking
  • Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton
  • The Tree of Life : The Wonders of Evolution by Ellen Jackson (4-8 yrs)
  • Nibbling on Einstein’s Brain: The Good, the Bad and the Bogus in Science (ages 9-12); Turn it Loose – The Scientist in Absolutely Everybody – Dianne Swanson (ages 7 to 12).
  • Dazzling Discoveries – John Gribbin (ages 10-12).
  • The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal – Lynne Kelly (ages 10-15).
  • Sasquatches from Outer Space : Exploring the Weirdest Mysteries Ever – Tim Yule and Keith Baxter -(ages 9-13).
  • Bringing UFOs Down to Earth – Philip J Klass –  (ages 9-12).
  • Wonder-Workers! How They Perform the Impossible (ages 9-14); The Real Life X-Files and its sequel – Joe Nickell (ages 10-12).

Older Readers (Aged 12 and up):

  • The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (ages 15 and up)
  • How Do You Know It’s True? : Discovering the Difference Between Science and Superstition – Hyman Ruchlis (ages 12-15).
  • Math Doesn’t Suck (she has others in the series too) by Danica McKellar – ages 10 – 18.
  • Games’ by Robin Klein – a novel – ages 10-15.
  • Contact by Carl Sagan – a novel – ages 15 – 18.
  • Zara’ by Mary Hooper – a novel – ages 10 – 15.
  • ‘Avenging Janie’ by Lynne Kelly – a novel – ages 14 – 17.
  • Philosophy Gym / The Outer Limits / Philosophy Files – all by Stephen Law
  • Abracadabra! : Secret Methods Magicians & Others Use to Deceive Their Audience by Nathaniel Schiffman – ages 10-13.
  • The Physics of the Buffyverse and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales of Pure Genius and Mad Science by Jennifer Ouellette – ages 14-18.
  • Straight Dope – The Books by Cecil Adams – ages 14-16.
  • How to Fossilise Your Hamster and Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze by Mick O’Hare – ages 14 – 17.
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – a novel – ages 14-17.
  • Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists – Ellen Daniell

If you’re looking (as an adult) for more suggestions for reading and ideas to promote rationalism, you should also check out Dan Barker’s Parenting Beyond Belief (there’s even a study guide!)

As For Adults?

I’ll expand on this later with more ideas, but here’s my podcast episodes that I’ve done that look at adult literature:

#136 – Atheist Books 101 With Embiggen Books

#71 – On Great Books In Skepticism – Podblack’s Book Club With Embiggen Books

There’s also DOZENS of authors I’ve interviewed over the years, so please do head over to the Token Skeptic List of Episodes and scroll through the names to see who you might like to check out. Many are mentioned in the Embiggen Books chats that I’ve had and listed in the show notes for those episodes (and if you’re in Melbourne – GO HERE FOR YOUR BOOKS!)

Here’s my classic go-to list, that you can find in visual form (also sold as merchandise):

Here’s an extended list of “basics” that both Warren Bonnet and I suggested in the  On Great Books In Skepticism – Podblack’s Book Club With Embiggen Books episode:


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