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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

New art makes Just Pretend more colorful, lively, engaging

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker’s book for children, Just Pretend: A Book for Young Freethinkers, has been given a deluxe makeover.

Originally published in 1988, the book had a second edition printed in 2002 in a smaller format. Both were printed in black and white. The new 2018 edition is printed in a glossy paperback format with dozens of colorful illustrations drawn by art student Kati Treu.

“We realized that we should utilize the artistic talents of Kati to make the book more attractive,” Barker said. “This edition is really driven by the art. In fact, we edited some of the copy to better fit the great artwork.”

Treu illustrated each page to bring the book to life.   

“I just started with some rough sketches, then showed them to Dan, and we got them sharpened more and then I did the final illustrations,” Treu said. “My favorite drawing is of ‘Imagination Anonymous,’ where I got to create my version of all those fictional characters.”

Just Pretend is a children’s book that teaches kids (and adults) how to think clearly, how to question authority when necessary, and how to separate fantasy from fact. It gets children to think about and explore myths like Santa Claus (spoiler alert!) compared with ideas like the existence of God. Just Pretend encourages children to apply the tests of reason to any idea, fairy tale, myth, or religion.

“Children are smart,” Barker said. “They can think for themselves.”

Order the book ($12 postage-paid) at

Artist Kati Treu and author Dan Barker show off the updated version of the children’s book, Just Pretend. (Photo by Chris Line)
Just Pretend