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Maybe Yes, Maybe No [Paperback]

Dan Barker
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.00
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1990
In today's media-flooded world, there is no way to control all of the information, claims, and enticements that reach young people. The best thing to do is arm them with the sword of critical thinking.

Maybe Yes, Maybe No is a charming introduction to self-confidence and self-reliance. The book's ten-year-old heroine, Andrea, is always asking questions because she knows "you should prove the truth of a strange story before you believe it."

"Check it out. Repeat the experiment. Try to prove it wrong. It has to make sense." writes Barker, as he assures young readers that they are fully capable of figuring out what to believe, and of knowing when there just isn't enough information to decide. "You can do it your own way. If you are a good skeptic you will know how to think for yourself."

Frequently Bought Together

Maybe Yes, Maybe No + Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief + Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong
Price For All Three: CDN$ 42.56

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  • Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief CDN$ 15.12

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing a kid to critical thinking Aug. 4 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO by Dan Barker. This is definitely a kid's only book, with annoying little characters drawn in "see it go, see it go up" style, with a dog and a few other cuddly critters as well. But, it's good stuff on how and why a skeptic thinks as he/she does that prods a kid to question in ways I never experienced growing up, at least not till I was, oh, maybe 32. (Of course I'm kidding.) Barker provides simple illustrations of what is proof, why it's unwise to believe everything you hear, how to listen carefully, ask questions, seek clear answers, display curiousity andlook for better explanations--all illustrated in an unfolding story about kids looking for ghosts. The reasoning processes that apply in the search for ghosts also are shown to apply to a skeptic look at claims for UFOs, ESP, telepathy, telekinesis, prophesy, out of body experience, dowsing, levitation, astrology, horoscopes and faith healing. The refrain throughout to the young reader is, "What do you think?" For a taste of the writing style, sample this: "Some religions teach that there is an invisible world with strange creatures like angels, demons, ghosts and dead people. Some religions teach that storms are caused by gods or devils. Or that gods or devils cause sickness, fires, earthquakes, floods, plant growth and animal growth. But skeptics try to explain these things without ignoring the rules of nature."

The rules of science are explained, including different ways to check things out, tools for these purposes, the importance of being able to repeat a test, as in, "If someone says they predicted the future, ask them to do it again. If someone says they healed a sickness with magic or a prayer, ask them to do it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No "maybe"s buy this book!! Oct. 31 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is fantastic! My four year old loved it! We walk around questioning things all the time and it has created a fun thinking game for our whole family. A friend came over and picked it out to read to her children who are 7 and 10. We went to dinner that night and had conversations the whole night on what statements in the newspaper could apply to "maybe yes, maybe no" line of questioning. Then we talked about gossip the children had heard in their school and again went through the "maybe yes, maybe no" line of thinking. It is a great way for children and adults to learn and wake up their critical thinking.
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Format:Paperback
I read this book to my kids, ages 8 and 10, and they absolutely loved it. One took it to bed that night to re-read and the other took it to school the next day. I've never seen such a strong positive reaction to a book from them. Yes, it's simplistic, but it's a kid's book; it has to be. As a parent, what i liked the most about it is the gentle manner in which difficult questions are introduced. "maybe yes, maybe no, what do you think?" We had to pause many times for thoughtful discussion. Kudos to Mr. Barker for an excellent book encouraging children to question the world around them and to try to apply scientific methods to understand it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
155 of 158 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing a kid to critical thinking Aug. 4 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO by Dan Barker. This is definitely a kid's only book, with annoying little characters drawn in "see it go, see it go up" style, with a dog and a few other cuddly critters as well. But, it's good stuff on how and why a skeptic thinks as he/she does that prods a kid to question in ways I never experienced growing up, at least not till I was, oh, maybe 32. (Of course I'm kidding.) Barker provides simple illustrations of what is proof, why it's unwise to believe everything you hear, how to listen carefully, ask questions, seek clear answers, display curiousity andlook for better explanations--all illustrated in an unfolding story about kids looking for ghosts. The reasoning processes that apply in the search for ghosts also are shown to apply to a skeptic look at claims for UFOs, ESP, telepathy, telekinesis, prophesy, out of body experience, dowsing, levitation, astrology, horoscopes and faith healing. The refrain throughout to the young reader is, "What do you think?" For a taste of the writing style, sample this: "Some religions teach that there is an invisible world with strange creatures like angels, demons, ghosts and dead people. Some religions teach that storms are caused by gods or devils. Or that gods or devils cause sickness, fires, earthquakes, floods, plant growth and animal growth. But skeptics try to explain these things without ignoring the rules of nature."

The rules of science are explained, including different ways to check things out, tools for these purposes, the importance of being able to repeat a test, as in, "If someone says they predicted the future, ask them to do it again. If someone says they healed a sickness with magic or a prayer, ask them to do it again. If something is really true, you should be able to repeat it again and again."

The bottom line, prudent response for a skeptical kid and grown ups too, according to Barker's wise little book, seems to be this when confronted for a claim of one kind or another: "Maybe yes, maybe no." Check it out--and the book, too. It's quite good.
107 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent non-pushy kid's introduction to skepticism Dec 29 1998
By jbalmuth@infidels.org - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book to my kids, ages 8 and 10, and they absolutely loved it. One took it to bed that night to re-read and the other took it to school the next day. I've never seen such a strong positive reaction to a book from them. Yes, it's simplistic, but it's a kid's book; it has to be. As a parent, what i liked the most about it is the gentle manner in which difficult questions are introduced. "maybe yes, maybe no, what do you think?" We had to pause many times for thoughtful discussion. Kudos to Mr. Barker for an excellent book encouraging children to question the world around them and to try to apply scientific methods to understand it.
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read with kids at the right stages... Aug. 11 2007
By S. Kuhns - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book with my 10 year old daughter. We enjoyed several good discussions as a result of the book. We have since been incorporating "maybe yes, maybe no" into our discussions of many topics. As a parent, this book gave me a starting point in talking with her about healthy skepticism. I'm sure "maybe yes, maybe no" will come up often during this future school year as she attends 5th grade in a parochial school. I also tried reading the book with my 8 year old son and it seemed he is not quite ready to grasp it. I think I will save it for next summer's read with him. I would recommend the book for any parents who are interested in helping kids learn how to think. We live in a very religiously conservative area, and this book already has been and likely will continue to be very helpful with my attempts to balance my humanism with the hyper-religious culture here.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction for my gifted 5 and 6 year old kids March 27 2009
By Gravatee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My young children began life with fierce curiosity. That fire still burns hot and their eagerness for knowledge and hard facts makes explaining skepticism easier. This book is remarkable how it grabbed my kids without it being mired in detail about a complex subject. Our family are Secular Humanists raising the kids on our own without the support of community or church so books like this one are a tremendous help. All around us kids are learning about "god" and "heaven" and teaching my kids seemingly against the grain goes easier when they can pick up this book to read again and again. It has sparked many a conversation that helps them see respect for others is vital but the most important thing is to hold on to what you believe and stand firm with it. I'd recommend getting this book for kids who are able to grasp the idea of needing hard facts and proof before blindly believing anything. It is simple in it's terms and illustrations. It is a helpful tool for parents to help their young beginner skeptics find their way along with you.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Kids Love it! Sept. 27 2008
By P. Eldredge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My kids and I set down immediately and I read the book to them (5 and 10). They love the easily remembered phrase "Maybe Yes, Maybe No" and use it (on me) when I challenge them with questions about the world. The phrase helps them to think through alternative answers to questions...it makes them think. Kids will challenge their own, and others, assumptions about the way things work. A great book for kids!
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