Usborne’s ‘Philosophy for Beginners’ by Rachel Firth, Minna Lacey, and Jordan Akpojaro

In the same vein as Big Ideas for Curious Minds, Usborne’s Philosophy for Beginners — which I believe can also be found under the newer name Understanding Philosophy since being re-released alongside the rest of the series — is a wonderful introduction to some big concepts that can help kids both understand themselves and make sense of the world around them.

From the book’s description:

Philosophy is a way of thinking about just about anything. It asks big questions, such as “how can I be good” or “what makes something beautiful” Using lively examples, humorous illustrations and simple thought experiments, this book opens up the world of philosophy to both children and adults and includes links to recommended websites with videos, games, and activities to find out more.


Using simple and clear language, Philosophy for Beginners helps kids (especially pre-teens) understand not only what philosophy is, but how to apply it in everyday life situations. Right off the bat, it introduces questions that can be difficult to answer even for adults:

  • “Is it right to help someone if I know that doing so will hurt someone else?”
  • “Why should we do what the government tells us? In fact, should we even have a government?”
  • “If scientists built a machine that behaved just like a human, would it have feelings, and should I treat it kindly?”
  • “If I could take a pill that would make me happy all the time, should I?”

So not only do we have an excellent set of conversation starters here, the book is also helping kids lay an inner foundation for the kind of person they see themselves growing into. I highly recommend reading this one alongside your kid(s) and having some deep discussions together.

Get the hardcover edition of Philosophy for Beginners for $18 on Amazon.