My lovely friend (and award-winning teacher) Kylie Sturgess has kindly written some teaching notes for The Young Atheist’s Handbook, which you can download at the end of this post.
In Kylie’s own words:
As both a teacher and a writer, I’m often asked by friends and readers to recommend books that will help them learn more about atheism. People seem to be particularly keen on books that talk directly about the challenges that people growing up in religious communities face – especially if they are stories which question the traditions and way of life that the author has been brought up in.
Of course, authors like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, Dan Barker, Nica Lalli and Christopher Hitchens immediately spring to mind – all wonderful recommendations and well-worth reading. Yet there’s still a fairly untapped minority out there, that (for several reasons) we should encourage. They are people like Alom Shaha: a UK science teacher, raised in the Bangladeshi Islamic tradition. By taking the important, crucial first step of speaking out and writing a book – The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons For Living a Good Life Without God – he has not only been incredibly courageous and forthcoming about his fascinating life, but has provided us with a valuable learning and teaching resource.
I’m very fortunate to have taught Religious Education and Philosophy in Australia to high-school students – and not just because I have had the opportunity to work with wonderful people of all ages and gained access to a number of resources that investigate and interrogate the nature of faith. My profession has also has given me some insight as to the challenges that young Muslim people face in the modern world and how their experiences can greatly vary.
It is for these reasons that there needs to be a book that can be used in classrooms and reading groups, in order to promote discussion about these issues, regardless of the reader’s faith (or lack of it). By creating reading notes for this book, I hope it will not only enhance the experience of learning about Alom’s story, but encourage more educators and reading groups to seek out and support similar voices that reflect the diverse experiences of atheists.