‘Big Ideas for Curious Minds’ by The School of Life

If your kid is in the 8–12 age range and really starting to grapple with some of life’s most profound concepts and the issues we all have to deal with each day — fairness, big emotions, understanding how other people think, understanding themselves, how people view one another (whether accurate or not), and so on — then here’s a book created by The School of Life organization in London that should appeal to both of you.

Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy was written to be an introduction to philosophy that can also facilitate big conversations between parents and children:

Children are, in many ways, born philosophers. Without prompting, they ask some of the largest questions: about time, mortality, happiness and the meaning of it all.

Yet sadly, too often, this inborn curiosity is not developed and, as they grow up, the questions fall away.

Big Ideas for Curious Minds is designed to harness children’s spontaneous philosophical instinct and to develop it through introductions to some of the most vibrant and essential philosophical ideas from history. The book takes us to meet leading figures of philosophy from around the world and from all eras – and shows us how their ideas continue to matter.


The book is filled with prompts/exercises to get your kid’s wheels turning, along with vibrant illustrations that bring to life and modernize the ideas of 25 famous thinkers from the world over and throughout history, including:

  • Buddha
  • Confucius
  • Socrates
  • Aristotle
  • Seneca
  • Hypatia of Alexandria
  • Descartes
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Adam Smith
  • Mary Wollestonecraft
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Albert Camus
  • …and many more


It’s actually pretty impressive how each concept has been superbly crystallized into a bite-sized morsel of insight that kids can easily digest. I couldn’t explain half this stuff as well as they do in a mere page or two.

I recommend sitting down with your kid each night before bed to read and discuss one big idea in the book. You’ll have many wonderful conversations and probably learn a thing or two about one another that you didn’t think to ask before.

Get the book in these formats: