Monday, January 6, 2014

Is God Real or Pretend? by Jennifer Horsman (4 stars)

About Is God Real or Pretend?

Paperback: 66 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing; Large type edition edition (August 15, 2013) 

Is God Real or Pretend? is the story of young Franklin’s engaging and enlightening journey to answer this age old question. Franklin’s grandmother, Dr. Wendy Knowles, a professor of astronomy, first provides Franklin with the basic scientific means of determining what is real and what is not and how science distinguishes questions it can answer and those it cannot. Franklin’s mission of discovery continues as he meets a kindly professor of Greek mythology who offers a historical-cultural prospective on the question. Here Franklin meets the Greek Gods and their timeless myths.

Once armed with these new ideas, Franklin meets with representatives of the world’s five major religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. These knowledgeable teachers from each of the great religions charm and delight as they shine positive lights on their religion. Franklin asks probing questions, while learning to appreciate and admire the diversity and beauty of these religious beliefs and traditions. Ultimately, Franklin’s dynamic school report on the immensity and magnificence of the universe becomes the backdrop for thinking critically about religion and questions about God.

This book is designed for anyone and everyone, young and old, religious or not, who wants to know more about these five great religions. It’s the most unforgettable and exciting journey, one every thoughtful child (and the curious adults in their life) will enjoy.


Young Franklin has just discovered some eye-opening news about Santa Claus, and it causes him to ask questions about God and if He is real. He goes first to his mom, then his dad and grandmother. His questions lead him on a journey of discovery that includes talking to people who are familiar with the five major religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. 

The reader gets to experience Franklin's questions as well as the various representatives' answers. Not only does Franklin stay open-minded throughout the process, but he comes up with some beyond-his-years ruminations.

I highly recommend this story for parents and children to read together, especially when kids start asking about other religions. Granted, it's an entry-level view of each of these faiths, but it's a great starting point to what could be an amazing conversation with your child.

I have three girls (13, 11, & 8), and I read it out loud to them. It not only created some enthusiastic conversation, but I was also surprised by what my kids did and didn't know about some of the topics. We ended up googling, something young Franklin also does in the book, a few things to get more information. 

What a nice compliment for this book that it 1) created family time and 2) had us seeking further information. Kudos to the author.

Rating: 4 stars

Author - JHorsman (photo taken by Ken Mooty)About Jennifer Horsman 

Jennifer Horsman is the author of many thought-provoking books for both young readers and adults. In addition to a B.A. from UC Irvine in Social Ecology, she has spent a lifetime reading about religion, philosophy, history, and science. You can find her and her books at

Buy on Amazon.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Is God Real or Pretend? blog tour page.


Anonymous said...

I love a book that can encourage conversations between kids and parents about important topics.

Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.