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book about the life of Buddha, the history of Confucianism, or the holiday of Easter, so many of the books are old and outdated, clearly written for religious children, or without much literary merit.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’.
Quick! What the Hell is Easter?
By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 28, 2013
- My favorite anecdote told by Teach Not Preach blogger Jim Morrison appears in one of his first blogs. As you may recall, Morrison is a World Religion teacher at a Minnesota high school, and has been for decades. This particular anecdote involves a junior named Angel — Angel! — who approached Morrison after class one day in 1997 to ask one, discreet question. “Is Jesus dead?” Morrison said the girl had waited until they were alone and appeared to be blushing when she asked the question. Morrison played it off warmly, but, inside, he was [...] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Easter?’.
Despite Controversy, World Religion Teacher Tells It Like It Is
By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 28, 2013
- I may have a new BFF — or, at the very least, a great new source for my book. Jim Morrison (no, not that one) has been teaching World Religion at a high school in Red Wing, Minn., for 17 years. He’s not a pious man himself (to say the least), so his classes are comparative, historical and incredibly eye-opening. His students love him. Christian fundamentalists in the community? Well, they don’t. But they do tolerate him. And that’s something, dammit. Jim recently began his own blog — Teach Not Preach — which I like [...] Read more – ‘Despite Controversy, World Religion Teacher Tells It Like It Is’.
15 Secular Songs to Share With Your Kids
By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 21, 2013
- Not long ago, I suggested that nonreligious parents share religious music with their kids. I put together a Christian playlist and, later, a Hanukkah playlist. I also recommended some Cat Stevens songs about Islam, including one I love called “Ramadan Moon.” Some readers voiced concern about the ways in which religious songs have been used to indoctrinate children. They argued that the potential downsides to sharing such music outweighed the benefits. But I still think that, as long as we do it right, these musical journeys can be excellent ways to develop religious literacy, learn tolerance for other cultures, and give nonreligious children a [...] Read more – ‘15 Secular Songs to Share With Your Kids’.
Inject Some Religious Literacy into Your Valentine’s Day
By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 14, 2013
- For the most part, I’m fine with being a nonbeliever. Like Bill Mahr says, “it requires so little of your time.” But every once in a while, I’m struck by how limiting my worldview can be. Take, for instance, the fact that I’ll never be a Whirling Dervish. That’s a real bummer. I’d love to be able to spin like that. And even worse? The chances are almost zero that I’ll ever be sainted. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wendy! Don’t be so negative! You are a fantastic person, and you help so many others [...] Read more – ‘Inject Some Religious Literacy into Your Valentine’s Day’.
Quick! What the Hell is Epiphany?
By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 7, 2013
- OK, y’all, I have to apologize. First, I’ve been traveling without my laptop for the last week and haven’t been able to update. Second, I’ve been really busy finishing up my book (!!) which has pushed the blog to the back burner lately. Case in point: My somewhat ill-thought-out previous blog post. Hopefully most of you got the gist of what I was trying to say, but if you didn’t, you can be sure you weren’t alone. That said, today is a new day, a new week and a new year! And there’s been a new [...] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Epiphany?’.
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)’.
75 Reasons to Share the Bible with Kids (Even if You Don’t Believe Any of It)
By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 19, 2012
- If we want our children to be religiously literate — and who among us doesn’t, honestly? — then it behooves us to talk about the Bible in respectful terms, even if we don’t think much of it is true. When parents call the Bible “a book of fairy tales” (direct quote from my survey for nonreligious parents), it makes the whole thing seem silly and unimportant. And not just unimportant in a religious way, but unimportant in a universal way. I grew up with parents who talked about William Shakespeare like he was THE MAN (with [...] Read more – ‘75 Reasons to Share the Bible with Kids (Even if You Don’t Believe Any of It)’.
Quick! What the Hell is Diwali?
By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 12, 2012
- Here’s the Diwali installment of Relax, It’s Just God’s beloved* Holiday Cheat Sheet, a series offering parents the quick and dirty run-down on major religious holidays, so that they might come across as intelligent beings to their kids. I’m sure you guys remember all this stuff from last year, but rest assured, Diwali is just as cool and fun as it has always been. Why? (C’mon, you don’t remember this?) Let me count the ways: 1. Fireworks 2. Bollywood music 3. Poker 4. Cool back story 5. Curry 6. Candles 7. Shopping * too strong? Holiday: Diwali Pronounced: Di-VAH-li [...] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Diwali?’.
Tip of the Day: Religious Barbie!
By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 18, 2012
- Okay, I’m not necessarily suggesting that Mattel come out with Buddhist Monk Barbie or Sikh Leader Ken, but religious Barbies would sure make religious literacy more fun for Barbie-obsessed little girls, wouldn’t it? Catholic Nun Barbie could keep her long, beautiful hair hidden beneath a habit. Mormon Elder Ken would come with his own bike and, whenever you pressed the button on his back, would say “May I talk to you about the Book of Mormon?” (To which Nun Barbie would decline politely before shutting the abbey door.) Point is, religious literacy isn’t nearly as [...] Read more – ‘Tip of the Day: Religious Barbie!’.