The famous atheist's new book for kids is sure to spark student curiosity about our universe—and probably some controversy.
Scientist and noted atheist Richard Dawkins has teamed up with talented Coraline illustrator Dave McKean to create a book for children called The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.
The book is much needed, particularly for young kids who don't, thanks to the high stakes testing-driven emphasis on reading and math, get much science instruction in school at all. By not answering their questions, we're essentially creating a generation of kids who don't see the point of independently investigating the truth or asking "why?" about anything. Without thorough, scientifically sound answers, students natural curiosity about our universe simply withers.
According to the table of contents, Dawkins' 288-page text tackles some pretty common kid questions like “What are things made of?” and “What is a rainbow?” But the book may spark controversy with unequivocally non-religious answers to questions such as “Who were the first man and woman?” and “When did everything begin?” I assume part of what Dawkins hoped to do with this book was counteract the trend of some American school districts teaching intelligent design and evolution as two equally valid “theories.”
Will school librarians stock the book? I imagine there will be some school communities that balk at putting it on shelves out of fear of angry letters from parents who feel the book conflicts with their religious beliefs. But, kids do need to know the scientific facts, and if parents disagree, the book at least provides a chance to have a discussion with their children about what they believe and why they believe it.
It's also nice to see Dawkins take a break from ridiculing religious views to celebrate what's magical about the scientific picture of the world.