The biggest problem here is that there just really isn't a whole lot out there commercially available for kids in Wiccan and Pagan families. That makes it kind of tough sometimes to find books… however, once you do a little digging, you'll find there are a ton of books that support Pagan and Wiccan principles and values. Things like stewardship of the earth, respect for nature, reverence of the ancestors, tolerance for diversity, a hope towards peace -- all things that many Wiccan and Pagan parents would like to see instilled in their kids.
With that in mind, I've put together a list of books that I've found to be great reading for the under-eight set (older kids are a whole 'nother kettle of fish). This list is by no means all-inclusive, so if you have a particular book that you and your children would recommend to others, please feel free to send me information about the title, author, and why you like it.
Amber K; The Pagan Kids' Activity Book (1998, Horned Owl Publishing).
This is essentially a coloring and activity book that takes kids through the Pagan wheel of the year. While some of the drawings are kind of primitive, I think that adds to the charm. If you've got little ones and aren't quite sure how to teach them what you believe, this is a good jumping-off point. Focuses primarily on Wiccan concepts, but good for other Pagan trads too. Here's a hint: make copies of the pages for your kids to color, because otherwise this book won't last long!
Raine Hill; Growing Up Pagan: A Workbook for Wiccan Families.
For years, people in the Pagan community have often bemoaned the fact that there are very few books available as instructional tools for young children within Wiccan and Pagan families. At long last, author Raine Hill has created something that serves that very purpose, and she does it with style, fun, and a sense of magic that will appeal to kids of any age.
Ellen Jackson; series of four titles - The Summer Solstice, The Winter Solstice, The Spring Equinox, The Autumn Equinox (Millbrook Press).
These books are a lot of fun - full of stories and activity ideas to celebrate the changing seasons, each offers ideas on how the Wheel of the Year is observed globally. Younger readers may need to have this read to them, but the bright colors and fun illustrations make the entire series a great snuggle-up-and-read-before-bed option.
Jake Swamp; Giving Thanks - A Native American Good Morning Message (1997, Lee & Low Books).
This book tells the story of why Native American people are thankful for the autumn harvest. No friendly pilgrims, no historical whitewashing -- simply the message that the earth is something that we should be grateful to and for. Discusses how we can live in peace and harmony with nature. The sun and moon, and deceased ancestors are all honored as family together, and shown the respect they so richly deserve.
Todd Parr; The Peace Book (2004, Little/Brown Readers).
I love Todd Parr's books because of the bright colors in the artwork. The lines are simply drawn, but the images are fun to look at for kids of any age. In this book, Parr teaches without preaching, passing along the message that if we could all just get along, the world might be a nicer place to live.
Ellen Evert Hopman; Walking the World In Wonder (2000, Healing Arts Press).
Although it's geared towards kids who can read on their own, this book on herbalism is one that parents can use with their younger children as educational fun. Pictures and easy to follow descriptions convey what herbs are available at different times of the year, and what their purposes are. The sections are divided among the eight Sabbats, as well, so a child can learn what sorts of herbs might be picked at Beltane as opposed to later on when Mabon rolls around. Very cute book, easy to use.
Burleigh Muten; Lady of Ten Thousand Names - Goddess Stories from Many Cultures (2001, Barefoot Books).
Aimed at slightly older readers, but good for parents to read to their younger children as well. Muten shares stories about different goddesses from around the world in traditional folklore tales. The illustrations are lavish and beautiful. Especially good if you have young daughters.
Cait Johnson; Celebrating the Great Mother - Earth-Honoring Activities for Parents & Children (1995, Destiny Books).
This book is full of ideas for celebrating the bounty that earth gives us, with activities from around the globe. If you're more into the nature aspect of Paganism than celebrating with deity, this is a great way to incorporate hands-on activities into learning with your kids. There are simple variations on techniques such as divination and visualization, as well as craft projects such as dream pillows and talking sticks. Much fun for everyone.
Warren Hanson; The Next Place (1997, Waldman House Publishing).
This is actually a book about death, but it's written in a way that makes the idea of crossing over far less frightening for small children. Aimed at someone who may have lost -- or be about to lose a loved one -- this book talks about the next place that we go after we leave this world. It's not religious, but it is definitely inspiring and moving. And if you look really closely at the illustrations, you'll spot the pentacles.
Norman Bridwell; The Witch Next Door (1991, Scholastic).
From the guy who brought us Clifford, The Big Red Dog, this book is aimed at younger readers, and is a story about the fun that happens when a nice witch moves in next door. Despite a couple of odd things, like the fact that the witch sleeps upside down, bat-like, it's a cute story and encourages tolerance, as well as portraying the witch in a positive way.
Tomie dePaola; Strega Nona series.
The Strega Nona books are filled with legends and lore from dePaola's native Italy, and in each book Strega Nona ends up gently teaching people with her magic and wisdom -- usually after they've gone and gotten into a heap of trouble. Cute and silly illustrations, and lots of fun supporting characters like Big Anthony and Bambolona.
To see what titles our readers recommend, be sure to check out the next page!