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. Growing Up Pagan, A Workbook for Wiccan Families fills a need that has been increased as more Pagans grow up and have children of their own. Available from Schiffer Publishing, this workbook is a great start for teaching your kids about Pagan spirituality.
Growing Up Pagan, A Workbook for Wiccan Families is unique in that it's not just a book for Pagan or Wiccan parents on how to raise their kids. Instead, it is -- as the title implies -- a workbook for kids and their parents to do together. Hill makes it clear from the beginning that there are many different traditions of witchcraft and Wicca, and that to do them all justice in one book would prove nearly impossible. Instead, she focuses on the very basics of Pagan teachings, and encourages parents to use these basics as a foundation for education, rather than as a substitute.
The book opens with a simple explanation of what Wicca is, and how it ties into the moon as a symbol of the Goddess, and the sun as a symbol of the masculine God. Kids are encouraged not only to read about these beings, but to draw the symbols themselves. The Wiccan Rede is presented as a good set of guidelines to live by, and then readers are immediately launched into a series of delightful myths and legends.
From an early creation story to Pandora's box to the tale of Cerridwen's cauldron, each of the tales is presented in a child-friendly voice. Best of all are the crossword puzzles, games and word searches that accompany each unit -- because learning can include fun activities!
There's a section on setting up one's own altar, the Wheel of the Year, and symbols found in modern Paganism, including the pentacle, triple spiral, and triskele. At the end is a series of questions with an achievement certificate that students can print their name on and frame, showing they've completed the workbook.
One of the things I really loved about this book was the tone. Hill doesn't talk down to children; she knows that they're smart and they wanted to be addressed as such. The fantasy-themed illustrations are the perfect complement to the text.
I should add, perhaps, that more important than my own enjoyment of this book was that of my nine-year-old daughter. She spotted the cover and hijacked Growing Up Pagan, A Workbook for Wiccan Families almost immediately, and by the time I got to reading it she had read all of the myths, and was studying the Wheel of the Year. She enjoyed the story of Pandora immensely, and despite the fact that she sees pentacles and spirals all over our house already, has taken to drawing triskeles on her homework papers. I think the fact that information she already had was presented in a new way was a real treat for her.
When I asked my daughter what she thought of it overall, she simply said that she loved it. And if you've got a kid you're raising in a Pagan or Wiccan tradition, chances are they'll love it too.