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Books for Young Critical Thinkers

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Books for Young Critical Thinkers

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What is critical thinking?

To begin, it is not synonymous with “thinking,” though these two are not unrelated. To think critically is to think in a certain kind of manner, one in which evaluation and values come into play. Critical thinking is not about finding the most efficient or creative means to an end, but putting into question the end itself.

Children have an innate sense of how to think critically; one may say that children are “born philosophers.” They tend to ask a simple question that is at once adorably innocent yet potentially destructive: “why?” Instead of providing children with seemingly satisfactory answers to this one-word inquiry, the following book recommendations encourage them to keep asking.

This list was inspired by a patron who was looking for books that would help their child learn critical thinking.


Philosophy books

Children’s Book of Philosophy by Sarah Tomley



Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age by Julie Bogart

Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by The School of Life

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Logic and puzzle books

Logic Games: Train Your Brain! by Alex Howe



Look! What Do You See? By Xu Bing



Picture books

Why? by Adam Rex


The Liebrary by Amanda Pearlstein


What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada


What to Do With A Box by Jane Yolen



They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel



Turtle in a Tree by Neesha Hudson



A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel



Imagine by Raul Colon



I Hear a Pickle by Rachel Isadora



Elephant in the Dark by Mina Javaherbin



Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel



Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel



What Can You Do With a Rock? by Pat Zietlow Miller



I Have an Idea! By Hervé Tullet



It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Green Shaw



What Do You See When You Look at a Tree? by Emma Carlisle



Middle-grade novels

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin



The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues by Ellen Raskin



The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin



Lost in Lexicon by Pendred Noyce

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Opinions and Opossums by Ann Braden

The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

All the Wrong Questions/A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket

~Abby Henkel, Library Assistant

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