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An Extraordinary New Philosophy Book for Teens!

We’re thrilled to announce the newest Western philosophy book by Dr. Sharon Kaye! The Squirrel Behind the Tree is just the latest in Dr. Kaye’s philosophy series, which makes complex philosophical concepts and ideas easily accessible to children.

The Squirrel Behind the Tree is a novel that tells a fictionalized version of John Dewey’s intellectual and philosophical development as a young man eager to figure out his future in the wider world. Dewey was the foremost American philosopher of the twentieth century, and he single-handedly revolutionized the American education system. The novel traces the path that might have led him to that achievement, bringing together the philosophers and thinkers who influenced him into a story of curiosity and discovery.

In his search for the truth about his life, Dewey winds up at a philosophers’ camp of sorts in the Adirondacks, where he meets such influential figures as William James, Josiah Royce, Felix Adler, Henry Bergh, Charles Saunders Peirce, and Victoria Woodhull and learns about the philosophical movement known as Pragmatism. Along the way, he is introduced to a variety of social justice issues that had arisen during that time period as important to the development of the country, including the rights of women, the poor, people of color, and even animals, but also, most notably for Dewey, of children.

All of this information is couched in a story that is both a good old-fashioned murder mystery and a budding romance tale, and readers will have no problem staying engaged in the topics that the novel explores. There is also an accompanying guidebook that presents original readings by John Dewey himself, as well as several of the characters from the book, along with discussion questions that will get teens thinking as they try to answer complex questions that have no right or wrong answers. That kind of complex, higher-order thinking is often missing from educational studies today, and it is precisely the kind of thinking that John Dewey would have advocated that students do.

This is not your average philosophy book, and it will not elicit the usual responses in readers who wish to know more about the tradition of philosophy, both around the world and in America in particular. This novel both teaches and entertains, and the guidebook will challenge kids to stretch their thinking in ways that few other books will do. Dr. Kaye is a master at her craft who has written books for children at every age and every level of development. Check out our Western philosophy webpage to view them all!

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