Blogger Heather Acerro

Got Atheists?

The following scenario is based on actual events at an anonymous library. Please note: no children were harmed in the writing of this blog post.


Librarian: Hello,  Anonymous Public Library children’s desk, how can I help you?

Caller: Hi, we just moved here and we’re having trouble. I need some books that I can read to my six year old daughter.

Librarian: Okay, I’m happy to help, what kind of books are you looking for?

Caller: Well we’re atheists and the neighborhood kids have been throwing rocks at my daughter and telling her she is going to burn in hell because we don’t go to church. I need some books about atheist families or atheism that I can use as a jumping off point to talk more about our family values and beliefs. And really to give her an opportunity to see her own family represented in a book.


So, librarian out there in the web-o-sphere, what do you have for this parent? Unfortunately I already know that your answer is “not much”, but how can I be so sure? Simple: there isn’t much out there to choose from.

According to The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 16% of the U.S. population is not affiliated with a religion, though not all of those people identify as atheists (the percentage is broken down into atheists, agnostics, and “nothing in particular”). Atheists and agnostics live in your communities and unfortunately, as shown in a study by the University of Minnesota America’s view of atheists is rather poor.

So if you want to have materials in your collections for atheists, make sure that your world religion books include sections about atheism and pick up a few titles.

A few titles for kids on atheism:

  • What About Gods? by Chris Brockman
  • A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg
  • Just Pretend: A freethought book for children by Dan Barker
  • Who is Ben? by Charlotte Zolotow

A few books for parents:

  • Parenting Beyond Belief: On raising ethical, caring kids without religion by Dale McGowan
  • Raising Freethinkers: A practical guide to parenting beyond belief by Dale McGowan

Here is hoping for more materials for this demographic and soon.


  1. Mindy

    What Do You Believe? (published by DK) is one of my first choice recommendations. It talks about many religions and includes atheism/agnosticism in a non-judgmental way. Great discussion opener.

    The Really, Really Big Questions series is also a good choice for skeptical families to talk about philosophy, though these books will probably be a bit advanced for the six year old in the story. 🙂

    1. Heather

      Thanks Mindy 🙂

  2. Jennifer

    Maybe try some anti-bullying books, or titles that talk about being different. Can’t think of any titles at the moment, but maybe something by Trudy Ludwig or One by Kathryn Otoshi. Kyo Maclear is another one that springs to mind.

  3. Kelly Doolittle

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!

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