100 books like The Story of Religion

By Betsy Maestro, Giulio Maestro (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that The Story of Religion fans have personally recommended if you like The Story of Religion. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Religions Explained: A Beginner's Guide to World Faiths

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of It's Considerate to Be Literate about Religion: Poetry and Prose about Religion, Conflict, and Peace in Our World

From my list on religion and spirituality for younger readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for studying religion started decades ago, now culminating in a master's degree from Harvard in religion. My main interest is religious literacy, and my master's thesis is on religious literacy among healthcare providers, which is not surprising since I myself work in healthcare. I am particularly interested in interfaith approaches that unite people of diverse religious and nonreligious backgrounds in a common goal of doing some good in the world.

Steven's book list on religion and spirituality for younger readers

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

I like this book because it tries to be nonjudgmental and to explain why certain religions have the beliefs, practices, rites, rituals, and ceremonies that they do. It is, however, a little judgmental and Christian-centric in places. For example, it presents some ancient transcendent beliefs as "superstitious" but not other, modern ones, and it presents core beliefs of Christianity, such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a matter of fact, i.e., without qualifying text such as "Christians believe that…" but for similarly central Muslim beliefs, such as that Allah made revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, it uses the appropriately qualifying text, "Muslims … believe that…" All in all, not a bad intro to religions of the world.

By Anita Ganeri, Marcus Braybrooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Religions Explained as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An illustrated history of world religion ranges from the ancient beliefs of Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, and the Americas to the origins and practices of modern faiths, discussing the worship, festivals, and tenets of each religion.


Book cover of Religions Of The World: The Illustrated Guide To Origins, Beliefs, Traditions & Festivals

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of It's Considerate to Be Literate about Religion: Poetry and Prose about Religion, Conflict, and Peace in Our World

From my list on religion and spirituality for younger readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for studying religion started decades ago, now culminating in a master's degree from Harvard in religion. My main interest is religious literacy, and my master's thesis is on religious literacy among healthcare providers, which is not surprising since I myself work in healthcare. I am particularly interested in interfaith approaches that unite people of diverse religious and nonreligious backgrounds in a common goal of doing some good in the world.

Steven's book list on religion and spirituality for younger readers

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

What I like best about this book is that it is particularly well edited by one of the best scholars of religion today (Martin Marty), and that it is very unbiased, not favoring any one religion over others, simply stating what believers in each faith tradition generally believe and do. It is a little light on indigenous religions but gives a good overview of and introduction to the major faith traditions, covering the Abrahamic, Vedic, and other major traditions in adequate, appropriate detail. Highly recommended.

By Elizabeth Breuilly, Joanne O'Brien, Martin Palmer , Martin E. Marty (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Religions Of The World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Faith plays an important part in the lives of people around the world, and often the faith of one person or nation has an effect on other individuals or countries. The importance of religion is apparent in the daily routines of people around the world. Ideal for both student and as a family reference, Religions of the World, Revised Edition is an objective guide to understanding faith in the modern world. Religions of the World, Revised Edition examines thekey issues of faith as it exists today. Filled with full-color photographs and illustrations, it explores the beliefs, traditions, festivals, and practices…


Book cover of Who Believes What? Exploring the World’s Major Religions

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of It's Considerate to Be Literate about Religion: Poetry and Prose about Religion, Conflict, and Peace in Our World

From my list on religion and spirituality for younger readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for studying religion started decades ago, now culminating in a master's degree from Harvard in religion. My main interest is religious literacy, and my master's thesis is on religious literacy among healthcare providers, which is not surprising since I myself work in healthcare. I am particularly interested in interfaith approaches that unite people of diverse religious and nonreligious backgrounds in a common goal of doing some good in the world.

Steven's book list on religion and spirituality for younger readers

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

What I really like about this book is that the one-page introduction, "What is Religion?" mentions several important tenets of religious literacy as described by the American Academy of Religion, such as the fact that religions are internally diverse, and that religion is deeply embedded in most or all aspects of human culture and life. The latter of these underscores the importance for all to be religiously literate, even people who self-identify as nonreligious. The book covers only five major religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam), and doesn’t seem biased towards any one of them, giving the usual general description of each. The full-spread illustrations showing many different aspects of life within each religious tradition are engaging for kids (and adults!).

By Wills, Nora Tomm (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Believes What? Exploring the World’s Major Religions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

In today’s multicultural cities and interconnected world, understanding different belief systems can help kids appreciate the differences of people they see every day, or people who live on the other side of the globe. This book introduces readers to the five major world religions by population: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

Each mini-section opens with a fully illustrated spread representing one religion. Designed in a search-and-find style, the illustrated spreads are busy, bright, and jam-packed with details that show people worshipping among symbolic places, rituals, and objects. A text spread follows, pulling out details from the illustrated page and…


Book cover of What Do You Believe? Big Questions About Religion

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of It's Considerate to Be Literate about Religion: Poetry and Prose about Religion, Conflict, and Peace in Our World

From my list on religion and spirituality for younger readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for studying religion started decades ago, now culminating in a master's degree from Harvard in religion. My main interest is religious literacy, and my master's thesis is on religious literacy among healthcare providers, which is not surprising since I myself work in healthcare. I am particularly interested in interfaith approaches that unite people of diverse religious and nonreligious backgrounds in a common goal of doing some good in the world.

Steven's book list on religion and spirituality for younger readers

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

This book packs a lot into <100 pages and does so very comfortably. Although there are other books better focused on the key issue of religious literacy, I particularly like that this book specifically includes several aspects of religious literacy, such as the fact that religions are all internally diverse, not monolithic, and that we all have a perspective, a situatedness, from which we see and interpret the world around us. In addition to familiarizing readers with common features of common religions like many books do, this one goes further and includes sections on philosophy of religion, on religion and violence in our world, and on religion and science, all of which encourage valuable thinking and reflection. The book does a relatively good job of meeting the stated goal of promoting understanding and respect of different people and different types of belief and nonbelief.

By DK Publishing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Do You Believe? Big Questions About Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

What was the first religion and where did it start? What is atheism? Why do some people wear turbans? Made for kids who ask the hard questions, this book gives answers to these and many more questions about religion.

What Do You Believe? is a perfect introduction to all the main faiths, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The book traces the history of different religions and faiths around the world and deconstructs complex topics into easy-to-consume sections.

From the oldest beliefs to new religious movements and modern spirituality, What Do You Believe? presents the facts in an unbiased…


Book cover of The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine

Margie Lukas Author Of The Broken Statue

From my list on heroines who inspire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up watching my mother suffer under a strict patriarchal religion. She never felt she had a choice in her life, and yet she always remained a dreamer, collecting newspaper articles about events in history that interested her. They piled up in a box and I’ve no idea what she thought to do with them. She would thumb through them between bouts of standing over a ringer washer or hanging wet clothing outside in freezing weather. There were 15 of us, you can imagine the laundry. I never saw her cry…despite working like a mule. I admire her and women like her for getting through. 

Margie's book list on heroines who inspire

Margie Lukas Why did Margie love this book?

The book chronicles Kidd’s evolution from a patriarchal religion into a spirituality that honors her as a woman. She’d built her reputation and made her livelihood as a Christian writer and speaker, and she risked everything: career, marriage, family, and friends in leaving that behind. I was making a similar journey when I found the book, leaving behind the organized religion I’d grown up with and significantly, married into. Fighting broke out when I quit attending services, and I received a lot of condemnation for seeking to free myself from a religion thousands of years old. How dare I! I was letting my immediate, and not so immediate, family and community down. I was headed for damnation. Kidd’s book uplifted and supported my decision. It’s honest, too, in addressing one’s internal conflicts about change. The book gave me the courage to face my fears, my guilts, and keep following my…

By Sue Monk Kidd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dance of the Dissident Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A masterpiece of women’s wisdom."—Christiane Northrup, M.D.

"The journey to capture her feminine soul and live authentically . . . makes a fascinating, well-researched and well-written story."—Publishers Weekly

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of its publication, a newly reissued edition of the bestselling author’s classic work of feminine spiritual discovery, with a new introduction by the author.

"I was amazed to find that I had no idea how to unfold my spiritual life in a feminine way. I was surprised, and, in fact, a little terrified, when I found myself in the middle of a feminist spiritual reawakening."—Sue Monk…


Book cover of The Essential Sangharakshita: A Half-Century of Writings from the Founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

Maitreyabandhu Author Of Thicker than Blood (Friendship on the Buddhist Path)

From my list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maitreyabandhu started attending classes at the London Buddhist Centre (LBC) in 1986. He was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1990 and given the name Maitreyabandhu. Since then he has lived and worked at the LBC, teaching Buddhism and meditation, and leading retreats. He has written three books on Buddhism, Thicker than Blood: Friendship on the Buddhist Path, Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, and The Journey and the Guide: A Practical Guide in Enlightenment. Maitreyabandhu is also a prize-winning poet having written three poetry collections with Bloodaxe Books. Maitreyabandhu founded PoetryEast in 2010 where he interviews well-known artists and writers, including Antony Gormley, Wendy Cope, and Colm Tóibín. He is the co-founder, with Dr. Paramabandhu Groves, of Breathing Space, the LBC’s health and wellbeing project.

Maitreyabandhu's book list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy

Maitreyabandhu Why did Maitreyabandhu love this book?

Buddhism is still misunderstood in the modern world. It can seem all fuzzy ‘being-in-the-moment’ meditation or a rather cold, analytical non-self philosophy. Sangharakshita is the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and my own teacher (I knew him personally). This book collects together some of his essential teaching and thought, illuminating ancient Buddhism wisdom for a modern world.

By Emily Stout, Urgyen Sangharakshita,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Essential Sangharakshita as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Profoundly knowledgeable and articulate, and equally at home with science, philosophy, myth, art, and poetry, Urgyen Sangharakshita uses every inner avenue to communicate the timeless Dharma to the Western mind. Engaging both the intellect and the heart countless times in a single chapter, the author draws remarkably apt examples from sources as diverse as Orwell, Aeschylus, and Jane Austen. This distilled volume is a primer to the breadth and depth of Buddhist thought and practice.


Book cover of This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us

K.E. Andrews Author Of The Assassin of Grins and Secrets

From my list on morally gray woman in dark fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy books, especially ones that focus on women protagonists. Morally gray protagonists are the most interesting because they straddle the line between hero and villain, often making questionable choices to achieve a goal. I like to write characters who struggle with mental health issues because so often it can be overlooked in a fantasy story in favor of the bigger plot at hand. Women struggling with mental health, who are single mothers, those with disabilities, and those who have long been poorly represented in fiction are characters I like to read and write about.

K.E.'s book list on morally gray woman in dark fantasy

K.E. Andrews Why did K.E. love this book?

I normally don’t read personal essays, but from the moment I cracked open this book, I was sucked in by the lyrical words. Each chapter had something I could personally relate to and brought me to tears. Riley weaves so much emotion into every sentence, highlighting very personal struggles and generational pain in such a poignant way that you have to slow down to savor every word. This is by far my favorite nonfiction book.

By Cole Arthur Riley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked This Here Flesh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In her stunning debut, the creator of Black Liturgies weaves stories from three generations of her family alongside contemplative reflections to discover the “necessary rituals” that connect us with our belonging, dignity, and liberation.

“This is the kind of book that makes you different when you’re done.”—Ashley C. Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter

“Reaches deep beneath the surface of words unspoken, wounds unhealed, and secrets untempered to break them open in order for fresh light to break through.”—Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing and…


Book cover of Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Lynda Allen Author Of Grace Reflected

From my list on life-changing world-rocking books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think of myself as a listener and life in progress. As a poet and author, I’m always listening to the words that move through my heart. I’m also a spiritual seeker, always looking for the Divine in the world around me and almost always surprised by the ways it shows up when I’m paying attention. Yet, there’s another part of me that is a Jersey girl through and through, looking for humor or irreverence in the face of life’s challenges. All these aspects come together in an unusual harmony, creating an openness to being changed by the things that come into my life. Hence, a list of life-changing books.

Lynda's book list on life-changing world-rocking books

Lynda Allen Why did Lynda love this book?

It spoke to my heart. It opened up a world of spirit and intuition, of love and grace that I had never connected with before. Discovering this book was like discovering a new and deep friendship.

The book read like poetry. It provided inspiration in my life at a time when I was new to spiritual seeking. I was so inspired by its words and insight that I typed up pages of quotes I wanted to remember. It felt as if it spoke to a wisdom deep within me and called it to awaken.

I’ve gone on to love other books written by John O’Donohue, but Anam Cara will always be my favorite.    

By John O'Donohue,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Anam Cara as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Anam Cara is a rare synthesis of philosophy, poetry, and spirituality. This work will have a powerful and life-transforming experience for those who read it." —Deepak Chopra

John O'Donohue, poet, philosopher, and scholar, guides you through the spiritual landscape of the Irish imagination. In Anam Cara, Gaelic for "soul friend," the ancient teachings, stories, and blessings of Celtic wisdom provide such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:

Light is generous The human heart is never completely born Love as ancient recognition The body is the angel of the soul Solitude is luminous Beauty…


Book cover of Celtic Myth in the 21st Century: The Gods and their Stories in a Global Perspective

Sharon Paice MacLeod Author Of Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld: Mythic Origins, Sovereignty and Liminality

From my list on authentic Celtic mythology, religion, and cosmology.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Celtic cultures, languages, and traditions comes from my family, where singing and storytelling were common. I worked as a singer and musician, and trained in Celtic Studies through Harvard University. That was an amazing experience, and research in Scotland and Ireland expanded my knowledge tremendously. I taught Celtic literature, mythology, and folklore at numerous colleges, and am Expert Contributor in Iron Age Pagan Celtic Religion for the Database of Religious History at the University of British Columbia, and invited Old Irish translator for the upcoming Global Medieval Sourcebook at Stanford University. I wake up every day excited to share the historical realities of these amazing cultures and beliefs!

Sharon's book list on authentic Celtic mythology, religion, and cosmology

Sharon Paice MacLeod Why did Sharon love this book?

This recent and very unique release from University of Wales Press presents a wide range of academic studies about different aspects of Celtic mythology, showcasing what kinds of perspectives and methodologies are being used these days at the cutting edge of the study of Celtic mythology.

It also provides readers and students with an introduction to some important topics, and well-grounded and insightful interpretations, as well as the work and approaches of a wide range of Celticists from a variety of countries.

Some of my favourite mentors and colleagues are in the book, as well as an essay by yours truly about the possible use of entheogens in early Ireland. This is a shorter version of a larger body of research I'm currently editing for publication, but it shows how a knowledge of Old Irish and the wide range of early Irish literature can provide a deep pathway into topics…

By Emily Lyle (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Celtic Myth in the 21st Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This wide-ranging book contains twelve chapters by scholars who explore aspects of the fascinating field of Celtic mythology - from myth and the medieval to comparative mythology, and the new cosmological approach. Examples of the innovative research represented here lead the reader into an exploration of the possible use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Celtic Ireland, to mental mapping in the interpretation of the Irish legend Tain Bo Cuailgne, and to the integration of established perspectives with broader findings now emerging at the Indo-European level and its potential to open up the whole field of mythology in a new way.


Book cover of Comedy Sex God

Elizabeth Kendig Author Of Chase You

From my list on spirituality that take the weird out of the woo.

Why am I passionate about this?

Despite a successful editorial career and thriving beauty business, in my 30s I remained plagued by a depression and crippling perfectionism. What began as a self-help bender and journalistic endeavor to explore every holistic experience I could get my hands on became a way of life—and saved my life. When my spiritual mentor Monica Lawson introduced me to the Other Side and how to work with them to find clarity and purpose, it clicked: we could teach others to do the same. Our mission is to take the weird out of the woo and make spirituality accessible for everyone. It’s your birthright to chase you. We’re simply here to show you the way.  

Elizabeth's book list on spirituality that take the weird out of the woo

Elizabeth Kendig Why did Elizabeth love this book?

In this comedic yet deeply personal account of his tumultuous spiritual journey, Holmes shares his path from dogmatic religious upbringing to painful agnostic skepticism as a young adult to ultimately discovering a powerful connection with himself and the unknown with levity and relatability. That my husband and brother both devoured this book—and compared notes on it—gives me hope that we have entered a cultural moment when open spiritual discourse and examination by and among men is not only underway but being met with a standing ovation.

By Pete Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Comedy Sex God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part autobiography, part philosophical inquiry, and part spiritual quest, Comedy Sex God is a hilarious, profound, and enlightening romp around the fertile mind of stand-up stand-out, podcast king, and HBO superstar Pete Holmes.

Pete Holmes is a sold-out-every-night stand-up comedian with two HBO specials and the host of the hugely successful podcast You Made It Weird, and he was the creator-star of the hit HBO show Crashing. But it wasn't always roses for Pete. Growing up, Pete was raised an evangelical Christian, but his religion taught him that being "bad"-smoking, drinking, having doubts or premarital sex-would get him sent to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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