If you are a parent who loves science, skepticism, and critical thinking, then you’ve probably heard of the Annabelle and Aiden series by J. R. Becker. If you haven’t, then you have to check it out.
The series follows the titular characters as they ask the big questions: How did everything begin? How did we come to be the way we are? Why do we believe the things we do? and What happens when we die? The books are a wonderful way for parents to help children find the words to express these big questions and address them with honest, scientifically grounded, kid-friendly answers. If you have ever been at a loss when asked a question like this by your little one, these books are a huge help.
It also doesn’t hurt that the books are absolutely beautiful to look at and that the tone is warm, friendly, and inspiring to little kids. They really strike that perfect balance between wonder and skepticism that Carl Sagan emphasized in his work, and model it for young children.
When my son was five we discovered the series, and as soon as we got our first one we were hooked. They were in heavy rotation at bedtime. Now that he is ten he still keeps them near his bed and looks through them often. I suspect he will be reading them to his own kids someday.
Now the series is about to add another title: Oh My Gods. This book takes on another big question that kids will love to learn about: what are gods and how did we come to believe in them? The book does this in a way that is grounded in history and is impartial to any particular God or religion. Unlike other children’s books on world religions and mythology, this book is unique because it will not only explore what we believed, but why, and what that says about the core of who we are and how we think.