A few months ago, a friend asked me for book recommendations for her son. She was looking for a way to explain various religions to her young son from a secular perspective. I have to admit, I love helping people find the right books, but I was less than enthusiastic about her request. Books about religion for kids that aren’t religious? I wasn’t expecting much. I did a search and sent a list of books, each one with a caveat. Most books that touch on religions have mixed reviews from professional audiences and let’s not even get into the customer reviews on Amazon and other booksellers’ sites. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad, and I was wondering if there even were any good to choose. But even after I sent the list, I kept up my search. There had to be something out there, right?
I’m glad I kept searching because it came in handy when I was invited to discuss books for secular families on Atheist Talk, a public access television program produced by Minnesota Atheists. We discussed books about religion and books about science that would have particular appeal to families raising children without religion. It was a bit last minute, so I wasn’t able to share everything I wanted to share because I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of the book that quickly. But I’m happy with the discussion. Here is a shot of me with my friend James Zimmerman, who invited me on the show:
I’d never been on TV before, and I must say that I was really nervous. It didn’t help that the crew informed me that there was no editing. Any mistake I made, big or small, would be included in the final version of the show. James was a great host, though. He kept the conversation rolling with questions about the books and stories of his own family’s reading. We got great feedback from the crew after we finished taping. My family cheered me on from the control room. My three year old actually managed to stay and watch for the whole taping, which was two thirty minute episodes.
I’ll post the link to the video when it’s available online. Those in the Twin Cities area can watch for me on their public access stations. Information about channels and showtimes is available here. Stay tuned here, though, because I’ll be blogging about the books we talked about on the show and the ones we didn’t have time to include.
I also feel compelled to mention that the television program and the organization behind it are not about denigrating religion. The Minnesota Atheists as an organization are committed to positive atheism:
“Minnesota Atheists is Minnesota’s oldest and largest atheist organization. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational organization that seeks to promote the positive contributions of atheism to society and to maintain separation of state and church.”
The atheist community in Minnesota is a diverse group of secular individuals and families. I’m happy that I was able to work with them, and I hope that they enjoy the books!