From the creators of the What If…? Conference comes a quirky book that encourages kids to explore and engage with the world around them by asking more than eighty wild, absurd, and thought provoking questions.
What if a book didn’t just tell you how to think or what to know, but rather encouraged you to think for yourself? What if there was a book that focused on asking questions instead of just answering them?
The Book of What If…? does just that! What if you lived on a floating city? What if politicians were kids? What if broccoli tasted like chocolate? What if you could explore outer space?
By asking these fun, open-ended questions, this book fosters greater critical thinking skills and gives kids a space to interact by breaking out a notebook to draw or write out their personal reactions, or engage in entertaining exercises with family and friends. Plus, sidebars deepen the investigation with peer-to-peer insights, historical and current profiles, real-life examples, and more, making for unlimited learning opportunities!
Divided into sections—history, people, stuff, and nature—along with four introductory texts to open up a dialogue about why it’s important to be inquisitive and to always ask questions, The Book of What If…? is sure to be a hit with kids, teachers, and parents alike. So ask a question and let the answers lead you on an exciting journey filled with endless opportunities to learn!
Matt Murrie works to live in a world where people prefer finding solutions to complaining about problems, where people seek answers through questions, and curiosity is treated like the natural resource it is. Endlessly curious in and fascinated by the spectacular diversity of people and places that make up the universe, he’s taught for over a decade across five countries and three continents. He’s a returned Peace Corps volunteer who has written six books with his father, Steve Murrie. Matt also taught English literature, writing, and entrepreneurship at Westminster College and blogged on the Huffington Post. Today, he’s a social entrepreneur and “edupreneur” working full-time as the Executive Director and Chief Curiosity Curator for What If…? 360.
Andrew R McHugh breaks down complexity into understandable and useable chunks. He is currently a Masters student at Carnegie Mellon University, studying human-computer interaction. Previously, he co-founded the What If…? Conference, What If…? 360’s predecessor. Andrew left in 2014 and has been designing and developing user experiences ever since. Actively curious about many things, he has a background in design, philosophy, technology and people, mathematics, and physics. During his undergraduate years, Andrew built a bikeshare program, led a movement for systematic sustainability change, and researched brain-computer interfaces, and digital divide/differentiation problems. In his free time, he tinkers on his next project and listens to music louder than necessary.
What if a book could inspire curiosity? Almost 100 questions, all beginning with “What if” and divided into history, people, nature, and “stuff” categories, encourage readers to consider the world around them. Each question is followed by a short explanation of the topic with related questions and areas to pursue. For instance, questions like “What if computers were conscious?” and its accompanying information on artificial intelligence show readers how a thought could lead to reality. Other questions—such as “What if dinosaurs didn’t go extinct?” “What if humans had elephant noses?” and “What if you had no possessions?”—guide children to see the impact of events and possibilities within the impossible or within their own lives. At the heart of each question is a call to creativity, knowledge, entrepreneurship, or activism. Most of the questions also include activities to help kids explore the topic in more depth, as well as biographical and technical profiles. Concluding “curious resources” extend the possibilities in this blend of philosophy, science, and the arts.— Angela Leeper
– Booklist online, March 13, 2016
Murrie and McHugh—creators of the What If...? conference, which aims to inspire curiosity, critical thinking, and innovation by asking hypothetical, even ridiculous-seeming questions—present a book designed to do the same. Divided into sections titled History, People, Stuff, and Nature, the book features more than 80 questions, such as “What if Poland joined Germany in 1939?” “What if you could move objects with your brain?” and “What if humans had elephant noses?” Profiles of experts, relevant sidebars, and kids’ answers accompany explorations of each question, while occasional activities range from creating an idea notebook to crafting a map of the Earth that mixes up continents and borders. The serious treatment of sometimes silly ideas drives home the notion that there really is no such thing as a stupid question. Ages 8–12.