Today is the day of the Christmas Parade! The one where Santa Claus shows up!
No, not the parade you are thinking of—I mean the one in the town I grew up in: Owensboro, Kentucky. There has been a parade there on the weekend before Thanksgiving for decades, and as a kid I really enjoyed going to it (I still do, when I can, although now it is a two-hour drive). I can particularly remember going as a young teen, and finding that there was a bakery near where my family was watching the parade. I bought a bag of donut holes, and I watched and munched and was a very happy guy!
I am sure that the parade, with Santa riding at the end, got its start as an economic thing—a way to prompt folks to go shopping for Christmas presents.
If you are shopping for Christmas presents for a young person, allow me to direct your attention to the “Younger Readers” material from our Faith & Science Resource Center. You might find some possibilities there.
The Resource Center originally started as Br. Guy Consolmagno’s idea. He and Bob Trembley got it started. However, I have been its editor for quite a while now.
There are hundreds of different Faith & Science entries contained within the pages of the Resource Center. Some entries consist of an entire article, audio recording, or video. Other entries just have a sample, with information directing you to the publisher of the material in question.
As I was adding materials to these Faith & Science pages, I began to realize that there was very little material there for younger people—for students in, say, grades 4-8. Considering that various research seems to indicate that people can begin having faith-and-science questions at a pretty early age, and indeed that young people who lose their faith often do so by early high school, and often cite “science” as part of the reason why, it seemed logical to add some material for younger readers—books, especially—to the Resource Center.
It turns out that there is not a lot of material available to be added. I have looked through a lot of books in the juvenile collections of libraries (and so has my wife, who has helped me in this). Few books for younger readers talk about science and faith.
But there are some. Roughly a dozen books are featured as entries in the Younger Readers section of the Faith & Science Resource Center.
These are all books about science that also mention the faith of the scientists the books treat. This is not to say that the books spend a lot of time on faith—they are books about science, not books about religion. But faith appears in them. If you have a young person with an interest in science and you would like to encourage that interest while also helping that young person to understand that, contrary to the narrative that is incessantly repeated everywhere, faith and science often go together (especially in great scientists), you may find these books to be just what you are looking for.
Usually, the books are not fully available on the Resource Center itself. The entry for a given book will tell you about the book, and include an excerpt you can look at (such as through Google Books, or via some page images). The excerpt should be enough to give you an idea of whether you are interested in the book. You will have to purchase the books from their publisher or through a retailer.
Again, science books for younger readers that discuss faith are rare. The ones in the Resource center are not all recently published. You may have to find good second-hand copies.
I hope some readers of Sacred Space Astronomy find these materials useful as they try to be Santa Claus this year!
P.S. If you want to buy V.O. stuff for people, you can do that, too, and we will be happy for you to do so—click here for that!—but that does not include books for young people.