New Resources from the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University


The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University (IAPC) is proud to announce three new, important resources for engaging in thoughtful dialogue with children and teens. One is the revival of Thinking in Stories: Reviewing Philosophy in Children’s Literature as an active weblog (https://www.montclair.edu/iapc/thinking-in-stories/). Each post in the weblog summarizes a popular children’s story and reflects on how it raises philosophical questions intriguing to adults and children alike—questions that invite playfully serious, inter-generational dialogue. Thinking in Stories began in 1979 as a column written by the late American Philosopher Gareth B. Matthews for Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children. Matthews invented the now robust field of philosophy in children’s literature in the early 1970s and was invited by Matthew Lipman to produce the column as the sole contributing editor to the journal. Matthews wrote 58 reviews of children’s books and stories for Thinking in Stories between 1979 and 2006. On his retirement, the column was continued by Dr. Peter Shea, through 2014. With support from Montclair State’s College of Education and Human Services, the column has been recreated as a weblog, and with support from the College’s Department of Educational Foundations, reading levels have been indicated for the titles reviewed. Dr. Shea now serves as the contributing and commissioning editor of the weblog. Those interested in contributing a review should request a style guide by sending an email to Dr. Shea at shea0017@umn.edu.

The second resource is the curriculum series Wise Owl: Talking and Thinking about Children’s Literature(https://www.montclair.edu/iapc/wise-owl/) that Matthews developed with educators in Amherst public schools in the 1980s. The series is designed to use children’s literature to provide primary school students the opportunity to explore philosophical questions while developing critical and creative thinking skills. Each Wise Owl packet includes a Teacher’s Guide to the philosophical issues in a children’s book and to facilitating philosophical discussions with young people, along with reproducible Activity Cards with philosophical discussion questions based on the book. Similar guides to other children’s books can be found at Matthews’ Philosophy for Kids website (http://www.philosophyforkids.com/).

The third resource is a webpage about Gareth B. Matthews under the IAPC Fellows rubric, which includes links to the above pages, as well as a link to the first-ever complete curriculum vitae of his publications in the three sub-fields he helped to initiate: philosophy in children’s literature, philosophy of childhood, and philosophy for/with children. This is an invaluable resource for researchers.

New Resources from the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University

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