How: A Day in the Life of a Young Humanist

An inquisitive young Humanist asks “How should I live my life?” He finds his answer on a hike with his mother while using the Scientific Method.

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“Storytelling with a rational message—what could be better?!”
—Michael Shermer.

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I know I’m one lucky kid to be here because Mama told me about Evolution—how a tiny organism called Life developed on our planet billions of years ago when conditions were just right. Every living thing, over a long, long, long time, came from that.

Eventually Mama came—and then me!

Now what?

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Meet the Characters

boy

The Boy

Mama says to ask questions. That’s never a problem. My brain makes mountains of them.

mama

Mama

Mama likes answering my questions. This time, I want her to tell me what to do.

You get to decide how you’ll live,” she says. “It’s your life.”

Themes

Evolution

The gradual change in characteristics of a population of plants or animals over generations. This change accounts for the origin of species from ancestors unlike them.

Humanism

Philosophy which attaches prime importance to human matters, rather than divine or supernatural ones.

Scientific Method

A method of research involving observation and experimentation to test a hypothesis.

Author

Michelle Iturrate is a mom and a teacher living in Boulder, Colorado. She enjoys travel and the outdoors, but her two sons are her passion. A Humanist, she wrote How: A Day in the Life of a Young Humanist to share the message that because this is our one life, it is essential that we make the most of it while taking care of each other and our planet.

Why I wrote this book

As a Humanist, I am always troubled by the pious belief that non-believers have no basis for morality. The whisperings of our conscience prove that this is false. The knowledge that we get one chance to live life right is quite an incentive for us to behave. I was particularly moved one summer day reading “Imagine There’s No Heaven”: A Letter to the Six Billionth World Citizen by Salman Rushdie. The essay amplified my feelings.

I felt compelled to write a children’s book to use as a springboard, for myself and the growing number of parents like me, to present Humanism. This book was going to need beautiful images. I literally fell upon Steven’s work a few days later… a local artist with shared values was the perfect illustrator to portray my vision. The closest I will ever come to believing in fate!

Illustrator

Steven Rogers is a painter and illustrator who recently graduated from Colorado State University. He passionately created the artwork for the book because, as a big believer in self-reliance and putting his best self forward, he felt a strong connection with the story. Steven currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Praise


“This sweet and insightful story, beautifully illustrated and elegantly designed, conveys to children the important message that science and reason are the foundation of a humanist worldview, which includes respect for all living things and shows how morality can be grounded in rationality and even the scientific method. Storytelling with a rational message—what could be better?!”
—Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of The Moral Arc.


“How: A Day in the Life of a Young Humanist” captures the innate sense of wonder young minds possess and then teaches useful tools that lead to more productive wondering. The book also serves as a fantastic introduction to the humanist life stance, which is one that encourages everyone to think about and take responsibility for their actions. Young readers will gain familiarity with terms such as “hypothesis” while joining a beautifully illustrated adventure.
—Jesse Bond, Director of Humanists Doing Good.


“This beautifully illustrated children’s book about humanism just glows in pictures and words. It gets to the essential question of how can we be good without a god. The answer is to use our tools of critical thinking, scientific investigation and reason to come to logical conclusions. But, there is more here than just using your head. The boy takes his hypothesis of being bad is more fun and a lot easier than being good and contemplates doing reckless acts. While reason brings him to an awareness that doing bad has some awful consequences, he is aware that doing bad things also feels bad. His emotional reactions reinforce his logical ones and lead him to a new understanding of life. This story can provide humanist parents with much to discuss with their children.”
—Carol Wintermute, Co-Dean of The Humanist Institute, a graduate level program in Humanist Studies.

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