BHA backs new fundraising drive to send Young Atheist’s Handbook to schools

10 December, 2012 today to help send copies of The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God to schools

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has announced today that it is helping to raise money to send a copy of Alom Shaha’s book, The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God, to every secondary school library in England and Wales. The YAH4Schools campaign, was conceived by science teacher and blogger Ian Horsewell, and is supported the BHA.

The BHA believes that young people should be free to explore the range of beliefs and values found in British society. Earlier this year Education Secretary Michael Gove caused controversy when he arranged to send a copy of the King James Bible to every school in England. The Young Atheist’s Handbook is the perfect book to sit alongside this publication and following the release of a report published today by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), which highlights the limitations on freedom of thought for the non-religious around the globe, it is a perfect time to ensure that young people across England and Wales are able to access fair and balanced information.

Just £10 can cover the cost of providing a copy of The Young Atheist’s Handbook to a secondary school. £50 will ensure that five schools will receive their own copy, £100 will fund copies of the book for ten schools, while a generous gift of £1,000 will ensure that 100 schools have their own Young Atheist’s Handbook.

The BHA is encouraging everyone to get behind this by donating to the JustGiving campaign at and by promoting the campaign online on Facebook by linking to the website, and via Twitter using the hashtag #YAH4Schools.

Commenting on the announcement, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘The British Humanist Association is pleased to support getting Alom’s book into all secondary schools. Not just a scientist and a humanist, Alom is a warm storyteller who, through a series of loose lessons, relates how he discovered that it is possible to live a compassionate, fulfilling, and meaningful life without God or religion. Blending memoir, philosophy, and science, the book is essential reading for all young people.’

Ian Horsewell, science teacher and blogger who is leading on this campaign, said, ‘Despite knowing Alom through his work as a science teacher and writer online, I was amazed by the evocative prose in his book and the challenges he faced moving from nominal believer to outspoken freethinker. It made me realise how fortunate many of us are to be able to take for granted our own freedom to believe, or not, in the faith of our parents. It seemed to me that the very students who needed to read Alom’s book would find it hard to buy for themselves, so instead I wondered if we could place a copy in every secondary school library.’

Richy Thompson, BHA Education Campaigner, said ‘The Young Atheist’s Handbook is an excellent guide to the bigger questions in life, told from the perspective of one non-believer’s own personal voyage. I suspect that a book of this nature is sorely lacking from many school libraries, and am sure many young people would be delighted to find such a book in an accessible place – whether to aid them on their own, similar journeys, or to simply educate them about what non-religious people believe and how they are able to live a fulfilling life without a god.’


For further comment, detail or information, contact Sara Passmore on 020 70793586 or by email at

About The YAH4Schools campaign
The YAH4Schools campaign was conceived by science teacher and blogger, Ian Horsewell, and is supported the British Humanist Association.

Visit the campaign’s website: to the campaign:

About Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God
Through a series of loose lessons Alom Shaha tells his own compelling story, drawing on the theories of some of history s greatest thinkers and interrogating the fallacies that have impeded humanity for centuries. Shaha recounts how his education and formative experiences led him to question how to live without being tied to what his parents, priests, or teachers told him to believe, and offers insights so that others may do the same.

This is a book for anyone who thinks about what they should believe and how they should live. In this powerful narrative, Shaha shows that it is possible to live a compassionate, fulfilling, and meaningful life without God.

About Alom Shaha
Alom Shaha was born in Bangladesh but grew up in London. A science teacher, writer, and filmmaker, he has spent most of his professional life sharing his passion for science and education with the public.

Alom has produced, directed, and appeared in a number of television programmes for broadcasters such as the BBC, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts (NESTA) and the Nuffield Foundation.

Alom has represented his community as an elected politician, and has volunteered at a range of charitable organisations. He teaches at a comprehensive school in London and writes for a number of print and online publications.

You can follow Alom on Twitter here: @alomshaha

About The British Humanist Association
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.