Religion: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Topic of the Month

Every month, our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility team puts together a list of resources on a certain topic. The topic for December is religion. Descriptions provided by the publisher or website.

Web Resources:

Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace  – This is a blog written by the Intuit Blog team, last updated in 2023, about the social responsibility of making sure everyone feels included and respected in the workplace.

6 Tips for Navigating Your Religious Needs at Work  – This article is from The Muse.

Religious Landscape Study – The Pew Research Center conducted these studies: ‘The RLS, conducted in 2007 and 2014, surveys more than 35,000 Americans from all 50 states about their religious affiliations, beliefs and practices, and social and political views.’

Animated Map Shows How Religion Spread Around the World (2:35) – This is a video on YouTube put together by Business Insider:  ‘Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever molded the huge geographic regions in their paths.’

All Major Religions Explained in 6 Minute: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism (6:14)

Juvenile Book Recommendations:

Who Believes What? Exploring the World’s Major Religions by Anna Wills

In today’s multicultural cities and interconnected world, understanding different belief systems can help kids appreciate the differences of people they see every day, or people who live on the other side of the globe. This book introduces readers to the five major world religions by population: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Each mini-section opens with a fully illustrated spread representing one religion. Designed in a search-and-find style, the illustrated spreads are busy, bright, and jam-packed with details that show people worshipping among symbolic places, rituals, and objects. A text spread follows, pulling out details from the illustrated page and providing further information about the history, festivals, places of worship, celebrations, religious leaders, and gods of each religion.

Front matter gives broader overall context about religion and each featured belief system, making this a comprehensive go-to resource for introducing religion and global cultures. – Owlkids

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Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means by Christy Mihaly

It’s a free country! But what does that mean? Find out the five liberties protected by the First Amendment. Vivid examples from history and everyday life demonstrate the meaning of freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights to assemble peacefully and to petition the government. – Albert Whitman & Co.

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Celebrating all Religions by Abby Colich

Our communities are stronger when we come together and take time to understand, support, and celebrate one another. In Celebrating All Religions, readers will learn the importance of acceptance and empathy as they relate to different religions and how to practice these in their daily lives. Social and emotional learning (SEL) concepts support growth mindset throughout, while “Grow with Goals” activities and “Mindfulness Exercises” at the end of the book further reinforce the content. Vibrant, full-color photos and carefully leveled text engage young readers as they learn more about empathy and inclusion. Also includes sidebars, a table of contents, glossary, index, and tips for educators and caregivers.

Celebrating All Religions is part of Jump!’s Celebrating Our Communities series. – Jump!

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The Kids Book of World Religions by Jennifer Glossop

By gaining a greater understanding of the cultures and beliefs of people around the world, children build respect and tolerance for the differences that make each of us unique. With objectivity and accessibility, this title in the Kids Book of series looks at the histories, scriptures, places of worship, religious leaders, gods and major festivals that are the foundations of many of the world’s religions. Features a glossary and an index. – GoodReads

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A Faith Like Mine: a Celebration of the World’s Religions . . . Seen Through the Eyes of Children by Laura Buller

A perfect book for children and parents to read together, A Faith Like Mine uses revealing photography and detailed personal accounts to give unique insight into the diversity of religious faith as experienced through the lives of children across the world.

– Information on widely practiced faiths, as well as less common spiritual beliefs
– Compares festivals, sacred books, places of worship and holy days
– Includes maps, religious calendars, profiles of spiritual leaders and more
– A celebration of the world’s religions through the eyes of children – GoodReads

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Understanding the Nonreligious by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel

Understanding the Nonreligious examines the diverse set of people who hold no religious beliefs. In addition to atheist or agnostic, they have a variety of ways to label themselves, as well as opinions on how to find fulfillment in life and what values to hold. Features include a glossary, references, websites, source notes, and an index. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Essential Library is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO. – ABDO

YA Book Recommendations

What if I’m an Atheist? A Teen’s Guide to Exploring a Life Without Religion by David Seidman

Can you have guidance without God? This thoughtful, one-of-a-kind guide offers answers to all of your questions about atheism and nonbelief.

Have you ever wondered what religion and belief means for your life? Maybe you believe in nothing at all. Does that mean you’re an atheist? What does atheism even mean? Regardless of the religious background you grew up with, it’s natural to question what you believe…or what you don’t. Establishing your views about religion and spirituality is part of becoming an individual, but outside pressures can make it tough to know what is right for you.

What If I’m an Athiest? offers a thoughtful exploration of how atheism or the absence of religion can impact your life. From discussing the practical significance of holidays to offering conversation starters and tips, this guide is an invaluable resource about religion, spirituality, and the lack thereof.

This compassionate, nonjudgmental guide includes peer interviews featuring both religious and atheist teens and provides a safe space to find answers to the questions you may not want ask out loud, so you can decide what you believe—or don’t—for yourself. – Simon & Schuster

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Religion in Contemporary Society

Religion is on the decline in the United States, as the religiously unaffiliated segment climbs to more than 25 percent of the overall population. This is likely due to demographic shifts, but it may also be influenced by factors such as mass migration from rural to urban areas and the advancement of isolating technology. Additionally, many are discouraged by what they consider outdated stances and exclusiveness of many religions. Given these changes, what place does religion have in contemporary society? Can it adjust with the times? Diverse experts in the field tackle this timely topic for interested readers. – GoodReads

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Living with Religion and Faith by Robert Rodi

Looks at how the LGBTQ community is viewed by religions around the world and how some faiths have accepted them. – GoodReads

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Your Freedom, Your Power: a Kid’s Guide to the First Amendment by Allison Matulli

A nonpartisan, unbiased look at the First Amendment and how it informs our daily lives, this book clearly explains the fundamentals of American politics to middle grade readers.

The First Amendment grants kids and every other citizen five monster privileges: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press,
freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the government. If the First Amendment is everywhere in their lives, shouldn’t kids know more about it? Yes!

In Your Freedom, Your Power, middle grade readers get a focused look at their freedoms and rights through the lens of this all-powerful First Amendment. The book engages children in learning more about their country and their rights and responsibilities. Each section will answer key questions readers may have thought about like: Do I have the right to protest at school? Can I be punished at school for something I say on social media? Why can’t I wear whatever I want? Can I text whatever I want? While answering these questions and explaining fundamental legal concepts every kid should know, Your Freedom, Your Power shares the fascinating stories behind some of the most important legal cases and social movements that have affected kids’ lives and rights. – Hachette Book Group

Adult Book Recommendations

Waking Up: a Guide to Spirituality without Religion by Sam Harris

For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’s latest New York Times bestseller is a guide to meditation as a rational practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

From Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, Waking Up is for the twenty percent of Americans who follow no religion but who suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of such figures as Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives.

Waking Up is part memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it. – Simon & Schuster

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World Religions: the Great Faiths Explored and Explained by John Bowker

Baffled by Buddhism? Confused by Catholicism? Mystified by Mysticism? Discover everything you need to know about the world’s major religious faiths.

A compelling and insightful guide for uncovering and understanding a variety of the world’s major religions, this book is the perfect gift for thinkers, borrowers, religious studies and philosophy students.

Learn new and profound information about a variety of faiths. In this educational guide, you’ll find:

– A chapter devoted to each of the major world religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
– Lesser-known religions and belief systems are covered, offering a comprehensive overview of faith.
– Detailed illustrations and annotated works of art, and a timeline of religious history.

Discover the world’s major religions and other faiths from both the ancient and the modern world through this insightful guide. Explore over 450 classic works of religious and devotional art. With sacred texts, epic imagery, key beliefs and religious artifacts, this educational guide is perfect for libraries, classrooms and the bookshelves of those who simply love learning. – Dorling Kindersley

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The Religions Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

This definitive guide explores all the faiths from around the world.

Together with the five main religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, there is a diverse range of newer faiths to ensure a compelling and comprehensive read.

From the key concepts of ancient beliefs to the ground-breaking ideas at the heart of modern faiths, religious history is chronicled in a universal timeline. This provides a global perspective on the origins and events contributing to the growth and spread of spirituality, and the position of religion in society today. Influential religious leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, Saint Paul, and Al-Ghazali, are introduced in depth and detail, alongside important quotations. Modern alternative beliefs are investigated in the wider context of their political, social, and cultural climates.

Part of DK’s award-winning Big Ideas series that has sold in excess of seven million copies, The Religions Book explains the trickiest of subjects in the most easily accessible format, using inspiring infographics and illuminating images alongside simple and straightforward text.

Compelling and accessible, this is the perfect guide for students of religious study, or anyone interested in the ideas of ancient and present-day faiths and religious philosophies. – Dorling Kindersley

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Concise History of World Religions: an Illustrated Time Line

The Concise History of World Religions continues the Concise History series with an authoritative and comprehensive take on major religions and lesser-known faiths of all times and nations. No other text combines the illustrations expertise of National Geographic with the historical focus on faiths—large and small—across the world. Up-to-date scholarship offers a unique global perspective on the history of faith in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania, and Africa and the Middle East. This is religion presented as history, in the objective manner in which the National Geographic Society excels. Lavish illustrations illuminate the faithful, their houses of worship, and the articles and artifacts of faith. From the great cathedrals to the colorful robes of Buddhist monks to horrors of the Spanish inquisition to the astonishingly intricate paintings of the Hindu gods, the illustrations tell as much of the story as the text.

There is nothing else quite like National Geographic’s special Concise History series: the time line format combines geography, chronology, and subject area in one complete, but easy-to-understand grid. The 80 timelines with their more than 3,500 entries, plus short articles and feature spreads make it the perfect quick-dip reference; 110 sidebars amplify the illustrated time lines and highlight monuments of faith, words of religious transcendence, and lives of piety and sacrifice; 50 feature essays explore in detail the origins, development and influence of faith; 325 images document all aspects of the religious experience, from architecture and icons to exemplary individuals and acts of devotion; and quotes throughout chapters are drawn from prayers and sermons that embody the religious attitudes of each era. – GoodReads

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The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View by Tim Crane

Contemporary debate about religion seems to be going nowhere. Atheists persist with their arguments, many plausible and some unanswerable, but these make no impact on religious believers. Defenders of religion find atheists equally unwilling to cede ground. The Meaning of Belief offers a way out of this stalemate.

An atheist himself, Tim Crane writes that there is a fundamental flaw with most atheists’ basic approach: religion is not what they think it is. Atheists tend to treat religion as a kind of primitive cosmology, as the sort of explanation of the universe that science offers. They conclude that religious believers are irrational, superstitious, and bigoted. But this view of religion is almost entirely inaccurate. Crane offers an alternative account based on two ideas. The first is the idea of a religious impulse: the sense people have of something transcending the world of ordinary experience, even if it cannot be explicitly articulated. The second is the idea of identification: the fact that religion involves belonging to a specific social group and participating in practices that reinforce the bonds of belonging. Once these ideas are properly understood, the inadequacy of atheists’ conventional conception of religion emerges.

The Meaning of Belief does not assess the truth or falsehood of religion. Rather, it looks at the meaning of religious belief and offers a way of understanding it that both makes sense of current debate and also suggests what more intellectually responsible and practically effective attitudes atheists might take to the phenomenon of religion. – Harvard University Press

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Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray

When you explore older atheisms, you will find that some of your firmest convictions—secular or religious—are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for may be freedom from thought.

For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a shrill, narrow derision of religion in the name of an often vaguely understood “science.” John Gray’s stimulating and enjoyable new book, Seven Types of Atheism, describes the complex, dynamic world of older atheisms, a tradition that is, he writes, in many ways intertwined with and as rich as religion itself.

Along a spectrum that ranges from the convictions of “God-haters” like the Marquis de Sade to the mysticism of Arthur Schopenhauer, from Bertrand Russell’s search for truth in mathematics to secular political religions like Jacobinism and Nazism, Gray explores the various ways great minds have attempted to understand the questions of salvation, purpose, progress, and evil. The result is a book that sheds an extraordinary light on what it is to be human. – MacMillan Publishers

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