In an initiative intended to encourage critical thinking among students, the NZ Skeptics have donated copies of Vicki Hyde’s book, Oddzone, to schools around the country.

In total, the book was sent to 340 secondary schools, 120 intermediates and 140 composites after a “marathon” packaging effort in November.

Each copy bore a bookplate with the society’s name, an “encouraging critical thinking” tagline, the Skeptics website URL and a dedication to the late Bernard Howard. Within a few days of the books going out, we started to receive emails and letters of thanks from schools around the country, with many librarians expressing their confidence that the book would serve a useful purpose and gratitude for the gift. The following letter accompanied the books.

A gift for your school´s library

Every year the New Zealand Skeptics are contacted by school students throughout the country looking for information across a range of slightly out-of-the-ordinary topics – UFOs, moa hunts, pre-Maori settlement claims, the use of psychics to investigate murders and the like.

Unlike almost every other book covering such topics, Oddzone has a strong New Zealand focus and an emphasis on critical thinking and scientific evaluation.

It will provide interesting detailed information for your students, as well as a good grounding in the analytical approach seen as an indication of excellence across the curriculum.

If you decide, for whatever reason, that the book is not suitable for your school´s library, we would appreciate it greatly if it were passed on to your science staff or another school, or given to a student interested in such topics.

We hope that your students enjoy the book and find it thought provoking, and that you consider it a useful addition to your resources.

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