I love getting science books for my religious niece and nephew for Xmas. I do it every year and love their annual look of frustration when they see I spent money on something they never plan to read. I'm ever hopeful though as they are approaching that rebellious age where kids question everything.
I think the best book is probably Richard Dawkins Magic of Reality but I'm sure the author's name alone will turn off a longtime religious person. One of my other favorites is a Short History of Almost Everything by Bill Bryson. It is very approachable as he is not a scientist but the book is not as rigorous as Dawkins. Both books are written for a pre-teen reading level for maximum readability.
The last time Dawkins said he was writing a "children's book" he wrote "The Magic of Reality" which was mostly a science book and introduction to empiricism, but clocked in at almost 300 pages and was definitely more geared for teenagers than young kids. It was the kind of book an intelligent young person might find in a library and decide to read, but not as dumbed-down as you'd think from hearing him talk about a "children's book."
Seeing the listing for this new one, a 304 page hardcover in the 'rationalist philosophy' section at amazon, I suspect that again, he's writing what he would have enjoyed reading himself when he was 15 years old, rather than creating a true children's book for kids who wait at home for their parents to pick library books for them.
Richard Dawkins' *Magic of Reality * has a lot of simple, concise talking points.
*Maybe Yes, Maybe No * (LINK)
by Dan Barker
In today's media-flooded world, there is no way to control all of the information, claims, and enticements that reach young people. The best thing to do is arm them with the sword of critical thinking.
Maybe Yes, Maybe No is a charming introduction to self-confidence and self-reliance. The book's ten-year-old heroine, Andrea, is always asking questions because she knows "you should prove the truth of a strange story before you believe it."
"Check it out. Repeat the experiment. Try to prove it wrong. It has to make sense." writes Barker, as he assures young readers that they are fully capable of figuring out what to believe, and of knowing when there just isn't enough information to decide. "You can do it your own way. If you are a good skeptic you will know how to think for yourself."
Another book is "Me & Dog " by Gene Weingarten.
And Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story : Books 1, 2, 3
Here Comes Science CD + DVD
The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins
Bang! How We Came to Be by Michael Rubino.
Greek Myths – by Marcia Williams
Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs – by Marcia Williams
God and His Creations – by Marcia Williams
"I Wonder" by Annaka Harris
"From Stardust to You: An Illustrated Guide to The Big Bang" by Luciano Reni
"Meet Bacteria!" by Rebecca Bielawski
See also Highlights for Children - this has materials for younger children.
Atheism books for children by Courtney Lynn
"It Is Ok To Be A Godless Me", "I'm An Atheist and That's Ok", "I'm a Freethinker", "Please Don't Bully Me" and "I'm a Little Thinker" etc.
Courtney Lynn has a couple more for grown ups as well.
15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Secular Families
Bedtime Bible Stories by Joey Lee Kirkman - for mature teens only
>too young to risk being heavily influenced by religious nonsense
They're never too young to be brainwashed. The younger, the better. Even the religious and the conservatives openly admit this.
But most of the damage can easily be offset by more information . Start sowing seeds of skepticism and critical thinking.
I don't think the Catholics are too bad, but stay away from the Evangelicals, they're poisonous.