Big Ideas for Curious Minds is an eye-opening introduction to philosophy for young readers.
Many people face big questions about personal identity, right versus wrong, and what it means to be a good person for the first time in middle school. That age brings a thirst for understanding and a desire to make up one’s own mind. Instead of echoing typical dismissive responses to such questions, this book distills deep thinking in a way that will help such middle grade readers build their capacities to reason.
Exploring the ideas of twenty-five thinkers including Socrates, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the Buddha, the book makes great ideas accessible without watering them down, showing confidence in its audience’s ability to wrestle with real questions. Each chapter stands alone, but their ideas logically progress from understanding oneself to understanding the world to relating well to others.
Here, the theoretical is mixed with the everyday, as when the book explains wise and unwise responses in terms of the challenge of a friend not being nice. Such clarity makes applying the book’s conclusions a natural next step. There are spaces for responses and self-reflection throughout, with activities like listing things you’d like to learn more about, comparing examples of nagging versus teaching, and thinking of creative solutions for broken objects.
This compassionate work also imparts the hows of being compassionate and empathetic to others, and the language is always clear. Refined, warm, and inviting illustrations of philosophers, objects, and scenes have a hint of the irreverence, showcasing playful facial expressions through impeccable sketches.
Within Big Ideas for Curious Minds, philosophy isn’t useless, boring, or just for grownups; it’s vibrant and full of wisdom for preteens and young teens, too.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.