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on November 30, 2011
I got this book when my 6 year old daughter came home from school talking about Jesus and God. I'd never talked to her about religion (I'm Atheist) and wanted to be able to talk to her about religion without letting my own (admittedly negative) views of it color the discussion. I read it all the way through before sharing it with her and wasn't 100% sure if she'd be old/mature enough for it, but felt comfortable to present it to her. We didn't read the book straight through, she just flipped through it and asked what certain pictures were about and what some of the paragraphs said. We mostly read about Christianity (what her other mom and grandma believe) and Islam (what her best friend believes) to keep the focus narrow enough. I also pointed out some interesting parts of the other religions. I don't know if she'll want to read it again any time soon, but I know eventually she'll pull it out and ask questions.

I like the way differences and similarities between the religions are shown with charts and pictures and even a couple comics. There's a section on "Hair do's and don'ts" and "Why do you wear that?". I thought these were good to have since the first way many kids encounter another religion is through distinctive hairstyles or clothes.

I highly recommend this book, especially for kids who have suddenly "discovered" religion or who have general questions.
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on December 13, 2012
As an atheist that believes religious literacy is crucial, I wanted a book for our younger children that would give them a broad perspective of how different people worship (or don't) and the different roles faith play in this world. This book delivered that and way more. It was concise yet thorough, well laid out, and very readable and included not only religion but philosophy, spirituality, historical perspective, even a mention of science and evolution. Excellent book.
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on February 4, 2015
If you are a secular parent looking for a kid's book that provides an overview of the most common religions, this one is only 'partially' ok: selected parts and pictures can be used to show basic aspects of certain religious practices; however, it is very biased, as explained.

- The book almost exclusively presents positive aspects, practices and consequences of belief systems. The history of issues and dangers of religions are not included: the negative is only superficially mentioned and sugar coated in this book, from subtle justifications of detrimental religious practices to a brief "..why is everyone fighting". If you want a child to develop a balanced and factual understanding about religion, omitting important historical facts and failing to expose the negative side is surely not the way to do it.

- The book asserts god exists. There is a chapter (What is god?) dedicated to the 'fact' that "...God is unlimited - far greater than anything humans can truly understand or describe". The contents also often presents the assumptions from each religion as 'truths', and not as what they are, assumptions.

- It presents atheism and agnosticism as 'belief systems'. Requiring evidence to justify extraordinary claims is not a 'belief system', much less a religion.
In fact, most religious individuals are atheists when it comes down to someone else's religions - except their own. This is a poor way to teach kids about intellectual honesty and critical thinking.

In summary, although this book is an illustrated overview of various religions, it presents a biased and false rosy picture of the subject for kids and adults.
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on January 28, 2015
I think this does a good job of outlining the major religions and giving an overview of social and historical context. Based upon the description, I expected more content on different philosophers, but there was very little - just single quotes scattered throughout. I also have issues with the way certain opinions are presented as facts. Most of the book clearly states that the different beliefs are just that... BELIEFS of certain people. But some sections, such as the "What IS God" page, have lines like " God is unlimited - far greater than anything humans can truly understand or describe." Lines like this obviously indicate the author's assumption that there is, in fact, a God. This goes against several of the beliefs discussed in the book - such as Atheism, Agnosticism and even Buddhism. It's subtle, but it's definitely enough to influence young readers. I do still find it valuable, and I haven't found a better compilation of info for this age group, but there's room for improvement.
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on October 23, 2011
This is a terrific book for those that would like an overview of all the major religions that doesn't have an agenda or an overt bias. Very nicely presented, lots of pictures, and a great job of describing the key elements that make each religious viewpoint unique. Not for younger kids, but a very nice introduction to comparative religion for older kids and adults. Many people could benefit from this basic understanding of the differences and the commonalities of the world's great religions. Very highly recommended.
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on October 23, 2012
I loved this book. My son is 7 and was starting to have lots of questions about god and religion. I thought this was the perfect introduction into world religions and belief systems. We sat down and read the first few pages together so that he would understand how to read it and what to expect.
Warning: when we first gave it to him, he would just open to a random page, read a box and assume that it was fact (since it is in a book). So, I highly reccommend reading it together at first.
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on January 4, 2013
Coming from a mother who wants to teach her daughter tolerance, acceptance, and understanding of all religions, I love this. I find it very informative. It explains major traditions, taboos, and important people from all the major religions. It also talks about atheism and agnosticism. I like the objective point of view and my daughter can get a better understanding of how other people view religion.
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on April 23, 2014
I absolutely love this book. My parents have been taking my child to church for some years now and he is just now getting to the age of asking some questions. As an atheist I have my own opinions, but wanted to answer his queries without bias. This book is a gem!
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on May 19, 2011
"What Do You Believe?" fills a void for those of us who confuse belief and hunch. The book combines the wonderful qualities of a picture book with solid and clear definition, classification, and nonjudgmental explanation. I see this as a very fine reference book for families in doubt as well as a springboard for further study. While I purchased it specifically for my eight and ten year old granddaughters, I found it to equally appropriate for adults.
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on February 26, 2012
I feel like I should have given this 5 stars because I really liked it. However, I bought it for my 6 year old daughter and she was rather uninterested in it. She is starting softball and I found out they have to pray before they play. So, she needs to understand something about the faith of others. Perhaps her interest in this book will increase over the years and she will enjoy it.

There were many pros to this book. I particularly enjoyed the comparison pages. The chart of religions was fantastic along with the who's who pages. Again, if my daughter showed more interest, it would have been a 5 star rating.
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