Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning About Charles Darwin: A Book List for Ages 4 and up

The Humblebee Hunter 
by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Jen Corace
As told from the viewpoint of Darwin's young daughter, Etty, this beautifully illustrated book gives an intriguing look at Darwin as a family man, and how his children entered into the quest for knowledge, too. My own daughters' desire to learn about Darwin was sparked by this book.

One Beetle Too Many: the Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Matthew Trueman
Great introduction to Charles Darwin, wonderfully written and outstanding, whimsical illustrations. A real treat for both eyes and mind! My girls loved this book.
The artist had this to say about the illustrative process of this book: "The illustrations in this book started out as drawings created with acrylic inks, watercolor, and graphite pencil. I moved up the food chain to add gouache and colored pencil. After sealing the pictures with acrylic medium, I did my thicker acrylic painting, then fooled around a little more with graphite and colored pencil. Finally, I added the collage elements, including paper, string, and weeds and wildflowers from my yard and nearby ditches and fields."

Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around-the-World Adventure
by Sandra Merkle; illustrated by Zina Saunders
Well-written with great illustrations, this book does a great job of showing how the animals he saw led Darwin to contemplate the common accepted "truths" of his day, without overwhelming the reader (or hearer, in our case) with science.

The Tree of Life
by Peter Sis
Here is a wonderful taste of this book. (Don't forget to click on the "more" button in the bottom right corner of the linked page. It will take you to other pages of the book.) We love Peter Sis books. So full of detail.

What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World
by Rosalyn Schanzer
A wonderfully illustrated graphic novel-type book, better suited for self-exploration by established readers (ages 8 and up) than reading aloud.

Who Was Charles Darwin?
by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Nancy Harrison
More greatness from Deborah Hopkinson. (She also wrote The Humblebee Hunter featured first in this post.) This book about Darwin's life and adventures is geared for slightly older readers, but also great for reading aloud to ages 7 and up.

The Riverbank
by Charles Darwin; illustrated by Fabian Negrin
Fabian Negrin's lush illustrative interpretation of Darwin's first paragraph from The Origin of Species. Beautiful pictures, but the words are difficult for youngsters to understand.

Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
by Heather Adamson; illustrated by Gordon Purcell and Al Milgrom
If your kids like comics/graphic novels, this provides a good introduction to Darwin.

Charles Darwin and the Beagle Adventure
by A.J. Wood and Clint Twist
A clever, scrapbook-type book with lots of pockets, pictures, pull-out maps, quotes, etc.; in other words, much fodder for explorative learning. This book kept us entertained a long time, and my girls continually pull it out and pore over it.

Are there any other great books about Darwin for this age group that we've missed?

1 comment:

  1. These books look fantastic! I am saving this post to come back to when we're ready for some new titles...thanks :)