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The Book of What If...?: Questions and Activities for Curious Minds Hardcover – April 19, 2016
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—This title is dedicated to exploring the "what ifs" of life and world history with the hope that readers will begin to think critically about their own role in history. The book is divided into four sections (history, people, stuff, and nature). Each chapter begins with a "what if" question header and a one- to two-page exploration of that topic, with various sidebars and activities throughout. The text is light and conversational. Occasionally, the authors take on more than they can handle with topics such as "What if the South had won the Civil War?" which is covered without the necessary exploration of what that would truly mean. This is mainly an issue for younger readers whose initial understanding may be limited. Some chapters include a "Technical Corner," which expands on a specific person or thing related to the "what if." The authors wisely include brief interview snippets with real middle and high school students that will give readers an example on which to model their own thinking. VERDICT A good purchase for collections geared toward middle and early high school readers and where critical thinking exercises are needed.—Minerva Alaniz, Texas Tech University Library
What if a book could inspire curiosity? Almost 100 questions, all beginning with “What if” and divided into history, people, nature, and “stuff” categories, encourage readers to consider the world around them. Each question is followed by a short explanation of the topic with related questions and areas to pursue. For instance, questions like “What if computers were conscious?” and its accompanying information on artificial intelligence show readers how a thought could lead to reality. Other questions—such as “What if dinosaurs didn’t go extinct?” “What if humans had elephant noses?” and “What if you had no possessions?”—guide children to see the impact of events and possibilities within the impossible or within their own lives. At the heart of each question is a call to creativity, knowledge, entrepreneurship, or activism. Most of the questions also include activities to help kids explore the topic in more depth, as well as biographical and technical profiles. Concluding “curious resources” extend the possibilities in this blend of philosophy, science, and the arts.— Angela Leeper (Booklist online March 13, 2016)
Murrie and McHugh—creators of the What If...? conference, which aims to inspire curiosity, critical thinking, and innovation by asking hypothetical, even ridiculous-seeming questions—present a book designed to do the same. Divided into sections titled History, People, Stuff, and Nature, the book features more than 80 questions, such as “What if Poland joined Germany in 1939?” “What if you could move objects with your brain?” and “What if humans had elephant noses?” Profiles of experts, relevant sidebars, and kids’ answers accompany explorations of each question, while occasional activities range from creating an idea notebook to crafting a map of the Earth that mixes up continents and borders. The serious treatment of sometimes silly ideas drives home the notion that there really is no such thing as a stupid question. Ages 8–12.
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I highly recommend this book to individuals seeking to give children a creative advantage in the future.
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What if We domesticated dinosaurs? What if Rome never fell?Read more