Thoughtful Humanist Books for Young Children

A UK-based humanist charity has just published the first in a new series of books which seeks to help young children to develop moral compasses for our secular age. Though initially written for children in remote rural primary schools in Uganda, the universal themes explored in these books have wide international appeal.

Each book in the Thoughtful Tales for Growing Minds series is designed to be read aloud by teachers, parents, grandparents, and other guardians. The short stories provide cues for reflection and conversation with children about personal, social, and global themes.

The first book in the series, Humfry Hippo Moves Home, addresses the challenges of moving away to another place. The titular Humfry has to move when his waterhole dries up. Through Humfry’s experiences, children are prepared for the challenges of a potential home move in their own lives: missing old friends, feelings of loneliness, remembering, making new friends, settling in, and trying to enjoy a new home. In the story, Humfry remembers an ancient folk myth that his grandmother used to tell that explores themes of jealousy and forgiveness.

I hope that the Humfry book, illustrated by the outstandingly talented Helen Machin-Mayer, will delight young children. Humfry and the other books in the series should appeal to parents and teachers wishing to nurture thoughtful and caring children and who wish to create a good life for themselves and for those around them. Through storytelling, we aim to stimulate a love of the natural world and an appreciation of the challenges it faces.

The Thoughtful Tales for Growing Minds series is a spin off from a Human Studies project  that Uganda Humanist Schools Trust has been running with teachers from the Humanist Schools in Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the schools were forced to close for a long period. The project seeks to create a resource bank of school materials on humanism and important personal, social, and global issues, which are approached in an empathetic, humanist way.

The humanism section of the project includes an adaptation of the American Humanist Association Center for Education’s Ten Commitments of Living Humanist Values workbook. All proceeds from the sale of the Thoughtful Tales for Growing Minds series will be used to help humanist schools in poor rural communities in Uganda to provide liberal, inclusive education that encourages young people to be empathetic, caring, inquisitive, and global in outlook.

For more information about this book series, contact the author by email at stevehurd@uhst.org or visit the books website at https://humfry-hippo.webflow.io/. For more information about Uganda Humanist Schools Trust, go to https://ugandahumanistschoolstrust.org.