I feel strongly that it’s important for my kids to understand other religions. What, if any, religion my kids follow is up to them, but empathy and understanding are emphasized in our house. It’s hard to have empathy or understanding if you don’t know anything about others, so our first step is learning.

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What Do You Believe? This is the book that I ended up actually using with my kids. They were really young when we first started learning about different religions (I think 4 and 5 or 6), so we needed short text and lots of pictures. This book fit the bill nicely. My only complaint is it doesn’t cover religions like Wicca or Asatru, but it does cover a nice variety of many others. It doesn’t go in-depth but is enough to gain some understanding and decide if you want to explore further.

Religious Stories

In The Beginning – we supplemented What Do You Believe? with stories. This book is a collection of a variety of different creation stories, which was really interesting to explore with my kids. There are a total of 25 different stories from all over the world. At the end of each story, they have a bit more information about the culture and religion they come from. My kids would have preferred more pictures, but there is one for each story.

The Lady of Ten Thousand Names is the other book of stories we used to supplement What Do You Believe? with. This book has just eight stories, but my kids loved them all, and there are a lot more pictures than In The Beginning has. Each of the stories is from a different culture, too, which we appreciated.

Religion Books for Older Kids

If you have older or more interested students, check out the following two books, which I also got and enjoy, but haven’t used with my kids (yet).

The Religions Book is quite big and rather in-depth. At least, as in-depth as one book on many religions can be. It approaches and organizes religions in a historical context, starting with basic questions ancient people explored, like, “Why do we die?”, as well as many ancient beliefs and practices, and then progresses through the emergence of each major religion. I imagine my kids will explore this book when they’re older.

World Religions also seems to organize things in roughly chronological order, though native religions (which is a much bigger topic than any one book can hope to cover, and are both much older than the ancient religions mentioned, and at the same time still practiced, and often adopted by those outside the original culture) is at the end of the book. There are more pictures in this book than in The Religions Book, but The Religions Book has more infographics. Our copy of World Religions is older than The Religions Book, but I like having multiple views to explore and think about, so am glad I have both.