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.
Children’s Book of Philosophy by Sarah Tomley
Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by The School of Life
Logic and puzzle books
Logic Games: Train Your Brain! by Alex Howe
Look! What Do You See? By Xu Bing
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
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