Rutgers University Press has recently published two new edited volumes about religion and children.
The first is Children and Childhood in American Religions, edited by Don Browning and Bonnie Miller-McLemore. This book contains several essays that discuss religious views and practices of children in a number of key religious traditions in the United States, including many Christian traditions. It is an excellent overview of the current views of children in US faith traditions and is a welcome addition to the study of children and religion. I recommend it for academics, students, pastors, and all those who work with children in the United States. By living in the US from 2008 until January 2010, I certainly learned the pervasive and often hidden roles of religion in society. This book will help readers understand just how religions and children in the USA intersect, inform, and influence one another. You can read my review of this book in Religious Education.
The second book is Children and Childhood in World Religions, edited by Don Browning and Marcia Bunge. Contained in this book are six edited chapters about children and childhood in six of the world’s major religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Unlike the former book, the chapters in this volume are edited collections of several primary texts that offer views of how children and childhood has been understood throughout the history of these traditions. The authors each provide and introduction to their chapters and brief words about the primary texts. I especially recommend the chapter on Christianity, which includes important texts from the New Testament, the early church, the middle ages, the Reformation, modernity, and the 20th century. My review of this book will appear in a forthcoming edition of Religious Education.