Books

It’s a Gift from God, Y’all

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 3, 2014

Want to know what the Bible says but don’t want to read the damn thing? Yeah, you’re not alone. But Good News! In his newly published book, God is Disappointed in You, author Mark Russell has managed to rewrite the Bible—in all its crazy glory—the way you and I and, frankly, anyone under age 80 would rather read it. While completely accurate, Russell uses layman’s terms, contemporary metaphors, well-appointed slang and plenty of profanity to liven things up. And the best part? It’s short. Like short-short. Like, the entire 2,000-page Bible is condensed into 192 pages. And that […] Read more – ‘It’s a Gift from God, Y’all’.
A Book American Kids Aren’t Reading — But Should

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 17, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed British philosopher and author Julian Baggini, who wrote a fantastic book for kids called Really, Really, Big Questions about God, Faith and Religion (2011, Kingfisher). While I found it at my public library, it’s not one you’re likely to run across in major book stores. While very well-received in Britain, the book has flown largely under the radar here in the U.S. And that’s too bad for us — because it’s a great starting point for kids ready to explore religious issues. Each section of the book seeks to answer […] Read more – ‘A Book American Kids Aren’t Reading — But Should’.
Only Five Religious Books Have Won the Caldecott — Most Before 1963

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 1, 2013

If you’ve ever perused the religion books within the children’s section of your local library, you’re probably aware that it can be a bit underwhelming. Whether you’re going for a book about the life of Buddha, the history of Confucianism, or the holiday of Easter, so many of the books are old and outdated, clearly written for religious children, or without much literary merit. It sticks out particularly because there are so many great secular children’s books — brilliant, award-winning books that will stick with our kids for the rest of our lives. Sometimes it’s […] Read more – ‘Only Five Religious Books Have Won the Caldecott — Most Before 1963’.
3 Must-Reads for Secular Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 14, 2013

The last month has produced an incredible little selection of articles relating to secular parenting, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them. The pieces are, in turn, educational, insightful, funny and heartwarming. And all of them are written by women — which seems significant because the secular community is, we are told, still dominated by menfolk. [To read the articles, just click on the titles below.] 1. Why My 7-Year-old is an Atheist (And Why I’m Okay With That) by Carolyn Castiglia Castiglia, a comedian, writes about her daughter’s “conversion” to atheism, despite […] Read more – ‘3 Must-Reads for Secular Parents’.
Discussing Death with Little Ones (Whose Deaths We Fear So Much)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 17, 2012

Not since 9/11 has a tragedy so deeply affected our nation as the massacre of 20 first-graders and six school administrators in Connecticut on Friday. It seems to me, words were not meant to communicate this level of horror. Our capacity for emotional pain is so much deeper than our capacity to verbalize what has happened. Sometimes silence and tears are our only option. But when it comes to children, we have a duty to discuss death and dying. It is an important part of parenting, and we mustn’t shy away from it. Yes, it’s […] Read more – ‘Discussing Death with Little Ones (Whose Deaths We Fear So Much)’.
A Shopping Guide for Nonreligious Parents (Part II)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 10, 2012

Are you looking to introduce religion to your child in a neutral and decidedly non-devotional way, but don’t know where to start? Do you lack the knowledge you think you should have? Do your eyes sort of glaze over when you hear the words “religious literacy?” Then this shopping guide is for you! In honor of the Judeo-Christian month of giving, I’ve amassed some of my favorite resources in hopes that you’ll encourage your child to learn a bit more about the religious world around them — and have some fun while they’re at it. […] Read more – ‘A Shopping Guide for Nonreligious Parents (Part II)’.
A Shopping Guide for Nonreligious Parents (Part I)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 29, 2012

In honor of the Judeo-Christian month of giving, I’m offering a few recommendations to add to your shopping lists. These are items I have bought myself, or will buy, or might buy, or probably won’t buy but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Seriously, if you want some assistance in “introducing” world religion and religious concepts to your kids, these are excellent tools. I’ll be publishing this in two parts: The first today, the second on Monday. Don’t look for this list to be repeated next year, by the way. In 2013, I’ll be recommending you buy […] Read more – ‘A Shopping Guide for Nonreligious Parents (Part I)’.
Brief Tribute to Obscure Children’s Book (P.S. #Giveaway)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 10, 2012

I’ve got a book recommendation for you. It’s not religious in nature, but it’s funny and quirky and carries a really great moral that certainly dovetails with some of my blogs about children and belief. The book is called “No! That’s Wrong!” and was written in 2008 by Japanese author Zhaohua Ji and illustrated by Cui Xu. It tells the tale of a bunny who finds a pair of underpants blowing in the wind. (See now, that’s what you call a solid premise.) Anyway, this particular bunny has never seen a pair of underpants before, […] Read more – ‘Brief Tribute to Obscure Children’s Book (P.S. #Giveaway)’.
Religious Picture Books Have Much to Offer — But Choose Wisely

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 19, 2012

Can we talk about religious picture books for a minute? I’m assuming most of you didn’t read your kid a religious bedtime story last night. And that it rarely occurs to you to wonder what new Islamic, Hindu or Christian children’s books came out this year. I’m also willing to bet you don’t spend a lot of time in the religious section at your public library. But it might be time to start. For the last month or so I’ve been obsessed with religion-books for kids — mostly because my own knowledge of religious stories […] Read more – ‘Religious Picture Books Have Much to Offer — But Choose Wisely’.
Has a Religious Person Ever Surprised You?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 12, 2012

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this blog so far, it’s that no two nonbelievers are exactly the same. Each of us brings to the table so many different experiences, philosophies and opinions. Trying to generalize us is simply not possible. Yet we nonreligious types have a tendency to generalize, too. I would love to do one of those free-association tests on atheists. I’d say “religious people,” and they’d say the first words that came to mind. What do you think the words would be? It seems more likely, doesn’t it, that atheist brains would produce […] Read more – ‘Has a Religious Person Ever Surprised You?’.

Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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