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Maybe Yes, Maybe No Paperback – January 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 8 and up
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (January 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879756071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879756079
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Barker (1949-) is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-host of Freethought Radio. After 19 years as an evangelical minister, Dan "saw the light" and announced his atheism in 1984. His first public appearance as an atheist was on Oprah Winfrey's "AM Chicago." Since that time he has traveled extensively, lecturing and performing on college campuses, and participating in more than 110 public debates defending atheism. A former composer of Christian songs and musicals (for which he still receives royalties), Dan is now a jazz pianist and writer of freethought music, including the albums Beware of Dogma, Friendly, Neighborhood Atheist, and Adrift on a Star. Dan has 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and lives with his wife (and co-president) Annie Laurie Gaylor in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo at window by Tim Buchanan. Photo at piano by Brent Nicastro. Photos at microphone by Bruce Press.)

Customer Reviews

I just sat down and had my daughter read this book to me.
Christopher Kapper II
This book is written for young children, however it may spark conversation among older kids and adults.
Susan Quilty
The phrase helps them to think through alternative answers to questions...it makes them think.
P. Eldredge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 160 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO by Dan Barker. This is definitely a kid's only book, with annoying little characters drawn in "see it go, see it go up" style, with a dog and a few other cuddly critters as well. But, it's good stuff on how and why a skeptic thinks as he/she does that prods a kid to question in ways I never experienced growing up, at least not till I was, oh, maybe 32. (Of course I'm kidding.) Barker provides simple illustrations of what is proof, why it's unwise to believe everything you hear, how to listen carefully, ask questions, seek clear answers, display curiousity andlook for better explanations--all illustrated in an unfolding story about kids looking for ghosts. The reasoning processes that apply in the search for ghosts also are shown to apply to a skeptic look at claims for UFOs, ESP, telepathy, telekinesis, prophesy, out of body experience, dowsing, levitation, astrology, horoscopes and faith healing. The refrain throughout to the young reader is, "What do you think?" For a taste of the writing style, sample this: "Some religions teach that there is an invisible world with strange creatures like angels, demons, ghosts and dead people. Some religions teach that storms are caused by gods or devils. Or that gods or devils cause sickness, fires, earthquakes, floods, plant growth and animal growth. But skeptics try to explain these things without ignoring the rules of nature."

The rules of science are explained, including different ways to check things out, tools for these purposes, the importance of being able to repeat a test, as in, "If someone says they predicted the future, ask them to do it again. If someone says they healed a sickness with magic or a prayer, ask them to do it again.
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110 of 114 people found the following review helpful By jbalmuth@infidels.org on December 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book to my kids, ages 8 and 10, and they absolutely loved it. One took it to bed that night to re-read and the other took it to school the next day. I've never seen such a strong positive reaction to a book from them. Yes, it's simplistic, but it's a kid's book; it has to be. As a parent, what i liked the most about it is the gentle manner in which difficult questions are introduced. "maybe yes, maybe no, what do you think?" We had to pause many times for thoughtful discussion. Kudos to Mr. Barker for an excellent book encouraging children to question the world around them and to try to apply scientific methods to understand it.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By S. Kuhns on August 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book with my 10 year old daughter. We enjoyed several good discussions as a result of the book. We have since been incorporating "maybe yes, maybe no" into our discussions of many topics. As a parent, this book gave me a starting point in talking with her about healthy skepticism. I'm sure "maybe yes, maybe no" will come up often during this future school year as she attends 5th grade in a parochial school. I also tried reading the book with my 8 year old son and it seemed he is not quite ready to grasp it. I think I will save it for next summer's read with him. I would recommend the book for any parents who are interested in helping kids learn how to think. We live in a very religiously conservative area, and this book already has been and likely will continue to be very helpful with my attempts to balance my humanism with the hyper-religious culture here.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Julie on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
My 7 year old daughter loves this book, and she's really not into reading that much. I was hoping she would be interested and was very pleasantly surprised. The first half is in a comic strip format with explanations leading through the story. It is an excellent representation of what critical thinking process should be used by children when presented with extraordinary claims. (The example given is whether there is a ghost in someone's house. They ask the right questions and stick through the process to determine what had actually caused the noises, etc. ) The end of the book deals specifically with why you should be skeptical of religion. This section is clearly anti-religion.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gravatee on March 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My young children began life with fierce curiosity. That fire still burns hot and their eagerness for knowledge and hard facts makes explaining skepticism easier. This book is remarkable how it grabbed my kids without it being mired in detail about a complex subject. Our family are Secular Humanists raising the kids on our own without the support of community or church so books like this one are a tremendous help. All around us kids are learning about "god" and "heaven" and teaching my kids seemingly against the grain goes easier when they can pick up this book to read again and again. It has sparked many a conversation that helps them see respect for others is vital but the most important thing is to hold on to what you believe and stand firm with it. I'd recommend getting this book for kids who are able to grasp the idea of needing hard facts and proof before blindly believing anything. It is simple in it's terms and illustrations. It is a helpful tool for parents to help their young beginner skeptics find their way along with you.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By P. Eldredge on September 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
My kids and I set down immediately and I read the book to them (5 and 10). They love the easily remembered phrase "Maybe Yes, Maybe No" and use it (on me) when I challenge them with questions about the world. The phrase helps them to think through alternative answers to questions...it makes them think. Kids will challenge their own, and others, assumptions about the way things work. A great book for kids!
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