Often we think of fairy tales as written for little children as entertainment. But fairy tales are much more and invite young and old alike to reflect on serious philosophical themes. This book offers readers opportunities to engage in philosophical dialogue over a range of important concepts such as truth, goodness, beauty, fairness, and many more. The prompts for these reflections will be fairy tales. In addition to offering guidelines for building a philosophical community with children and young people, the reader will read familiar stories with fresh eyes and encounter new ideas with surprising connections to contemporary issues and concerns. Parents will enjoy sharing a tale with their child and journeying into the big questions that fascinate children. Teens will relish the chance to revisit a favorite fairy tale but as now addressing their own questions and concerns. Finally, adults who are intrigued by philosophy can explore the power of stories, fairy tales, to bring forward serious questions of justice, identity, and meaning making. The values of doing philosophy are many: developing our critical thinking ability, learning how to question and explore alternative ideas, building good arguments for our positions, listening to those who may see the world differently than we do and learning to engage them in meaningful dialogue. The value of using fairy tales is their accessibility to a wide audience, their innate appeal to our imagination, and their magical ability to make us ponder.
Wendy Turgeon's Philosophical Adventures with Fairy Tales is a marvelous resource for educators and family members for engaging children in philosophical inquiry. With clarity and creativity, Turgeon illuminates how 13 well-known fairy tales can inspire rich and thoughtful philosophy discussions, suggesting possible themes to explore and offering helpful questions and activities for each story.--Jana Mohr Lone, director, University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children In an age in which pessimism and divisiveness is the predominant model, optimism can once again find footing when youngsters and their educators experience the exhilaration of being open to wondrously new perspectives that emerge when engaging in genuine dialogue. By following this detailed guide through the philosophical adventures that lie mysteriously hidden in the safe space of fairy tales, we find ourselves, with Wendy, in the Neverland of thinking together toward a better world--a world many may have feared was lost forever.--Dr. Susan T. Gardner, professor of philosophy, Capilano University, North Vancouver, Canada; director, The Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children Neither philosophy nor children can be genuinely engaged by the incurious adult. What many will take to be this book's primary strength--its treasure trove of reading guides, discussion prompts, and philosophical activities sure to buttress and deepen intergenerational philosophical dialogue--I take to be secondary to the way Turgeon invites adults to re-enter the world of the fairy tale and to let ourselves be disturbed and perplexed by what we find there, as a way of rediscovering philosophical wonderment for ourselves.--Maughn Rollins Gregory, Professor of Educational Foundations and Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University This innovative and delightfully engaging book will captivate young and old alike. Wendy Turgeon has done the hard work of selecting the fairytales, providing the discussion questions and activities, and adding a list of resources for doing philosophy with young people. All in aid of preparing us to embark on intellectual adventures of philosophical wonderment. Have you ever been puzzled by what it means to exist as a dog or a human? Or wondered about the nature of art and its relation to beauty? Or pondered whether it is possible to know anything? If so, then then this book is for you, no matter your age. With it, Turgeon explores fairytales in original and enlivening ways. Whether you are encountering or revisiting these stories, you will discover that their enchanting whimsy and magic disclose significant philosophical concepts, including loyalty, promises, friendship, jealousy, and exile. Turgeon masterfully demonstrates that when used as prompts for philosophical inquiry, fairytales bring together fantasy and profundity, humor and seriousness, and uncertainty and wisdom. They invite children and adults to philosophize together about life's big and open-ended existential questions. This book will transform long car trips, classroom story circles, bedtime reading, and family dinner conversations into cherished interludes of lively inquiry, joyful laughter, and genuine reflection. Books such as Turgeon's remind us to be grateful that the search for meaning is never easy and that it never ends.--Megan J. Laverty, PhD, Associate Professor, Philosophy and Education Program, Department of Arts and Humanities, Teachers College, Columbia University