Sleuthing for Explanations, A Children’s STEM Books Series
Book One: Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery?
by Kimberly Blaker
Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery? is a kids’ STEM book that examines the development and claims of astrology, while providing kids the tools to make an informed decision regarding its validity or invalidity.
Blaker takes kids through a brief history of astrology and examines the claims made by astrologers and astrology proponents. She also addresses the arguments both for and against its validity and examines the scientific evidence, or rather, the lack thereof, for its validity.
Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery? is designed to help kids better understand the scientific method and develop critical thinking skills. The author poses thoughtful questions throughout the book and provides kids opportunities to test the validity of astrology and horoscopes. The book contains seven fun activities for kids as they sleuth for answers to determine for themselves whether astrology is valid or just a form of pseudoscience.
The book is designed to assist kids in coming to their own conclusion about the validity, or invalidity, of horoscopes, rather than flat out telling them ‘don’t believe in this.’
The reason Blaker wrote the book is that a vast population of not only kids, but adults, buy into various forms of pseudoscience, hoaxes, and extraordinary claims. Blaker points out there’s a big need for books that teach kids critical thinking skills.
According to Blaker, helping kids to develop good critical thinking skills is crucial to their ability think rationally as adults and their ability to problem-solve. Not only is critical thinking a highly desirable trait for employment, it plays a strong role in career advancement as well as the ability for people to make sound decisions in their personal lives.
The approximately 80-page book is Blaker’s first in her series of skeptic books for kids ages 9 to 13. Although it’s an informative and entertaining book even for teens and adults.
Kimberly Blaker’s forthcoming title, which falls in the category of STEM books for kids, is scheduled to debut in late March 2018.
“In an early 1990s episode of The Simpsons, Homer has an alien abduction experience that he interprets otherworldly, which Lisa debunks by turning to an issue of Jr. Skeptic magazine. That inspired me to found a real Jr. Skeptic magazine, still in print, dedicated to educating middle school and high school (and often adults) on science and critical thinking. But we need much more than this to make science and society sane and rational, and this delightful book by Kimberly Blaker is the perfect balance of education and entertainment on a particular topic (horoscopes and astrology) that generalizes to any such claim. How do we know what is true? Science is the best tool we have, and this wonderful book should be gifted to every parent, teacher, and student.” —Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and The Moral Arc. His latest book is Heavens on Earth.
“This is a delightful book that, while aimed at pre-teens, will provide an interesting and informative read for teenagers and adults as well. Although astrology is its focus, the promotion of critical thinking is its goal. That goal is brilliantly addressed both through the presentation of accurate information in a manner that makes it enjoyable to read and by challenging readers to gather relevant data of their own. All this is done without ever being preachy or condescending. Pseudoscience often appeals because it is fascinating and exciting, but this book demonstrates that critical thinking about pseudoscience can be just as fascinating and exciting, while having the additional advantage of dealing with what is real.” —Professor James Alcock, PhD., Department of Psychology, Glendon College, York University, author of Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling, and fellow and member of the Executive Council for the Committee for the Skeptical Inquirer
“A delightful, entertaining, and thorough account of astrology. Explains how astrology has been tested, how we know it doesn’t work, and why some people still believe it does. It even provides readers with simple exercises they can do to test astrology’s claims for themselves, and shows how to think critically about questionable claims.” —Harriet A. Hall, MD., retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon, author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon, and columnist (aka SkepDoc) for Skeptic magazine
“Is astrology all a con? This helpful book weighs up the evidence in a simple way, helping kids to assess the claims themselves and even to design their own experiments to find out. —Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and lecturer and the author of The Meme Machine and Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction. She’s done extensive research on the paranormal and is one of Britain’s best-known skeptics.