The Crews Favorite Science and Evolution Books for Kids!

| 40 Comments

Good ‘ol Creationists. Whether they are farting, or rapping, or challenging respected scientists to a dual, you can always count on Creationist antics for a good laugh.

I get an especially fine kick out of ID Creationisms attempts at courting youngsters. ‘Wacky, zany’ Overwhelming Evidence is just another link farm for Denyse O’Leary, and William ‘Im a REBEL!’ Dembskis companion book to EXPELLED is just a chunky regurgitation of his disastrous presentation at the University of Oklahoma last fall.

But as funny as their clumsy attempts are, parents still have trouble making sure their kids are getting the best science education possible. PT regularly gets emails from concerned parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents who are looking for quality science books for their little ones. I wont be an aunt for another few weeks (twin nieces, WHOO!!), but I jumped up with my favorite suggestions the last time Reed asked for book recommendations. See, I was raised by a librarian and a science/math teacher (how I grew up to be such a nerd, we may never know), and one day my mom brought home the coolest science books ever: Dorling Kindersley’s ‘Eyewitness’ books.

They have a book on Evolution. They have a book on the origin of life (which includes discussion of viruses!). They have a book on prehistoric man. They have a book on ‘great scientists’ (which includes Darwin) as well as one on Darwin.

They have a book for basically any pro-science topic you can think of, and they are written in an unapologetically pro-science manner… So Creationists hate them.

Here is the best part (for me)—Even though most of them are targeted to 7-12 year olds, I still thought they rocked when I got a chance to read them in high school. Beautiful pictures, cram-packed with data and fun facts, they were like a ‘smart’ magazine. The Eyewitness books provide ample opportunities for children and parents to learn something new. Despite their age target, these arent baby books.

And here is a bonus for you pro-science parents out there—if my hometown second grade library stocks these books, there is a good chance you can find (or request them) at your local library!

But the Eyewitness books are by no means the only pro-science kids books out there! Here are a couple others that PT writers suggested:

And Im sure many parents would be happy to have mare reader suggestions in the comments!

40 Comments

Smart tweens would (and do–one of my best friend’s sons is my example) like Jay Hosler’s books, Clan Apis, The Sandwalk Adventures, and Optical Allusions. Terrific graphic novel-style books filled with strange drawings, offbeat dialog, and awesome gobs of evolutionary knowledge. True treasures…the only caveat being that they could have used a little better copy-editing (which is no doubt harder to do with pen and ink than with electronic media, but still, in works otherwise this wonderful, one expects a very high general level of quality, so any misspelling really stands out).

The DK books are COOL. Even an adult unfamilar with a topic will find them an excellent intro resource, and they sometimes have interesting details (particularly through the superb illustrations) that an adult familiar with a topic will find new and useful.

I didn’t think of it but I could certainly see the Darwin-bashers getting frumious over them, all the more so because the DK books radiate “smart”.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

DK’s Eyewitness books are amazing! I had just about the whole set in primary school, and borrowed the rest of them from our school library. Loved them!

When I was in elementary school, I got my hands on a similar book that was about Space: planets, stars, black holes, galaxies, the possibility of interstellar travel, etc. All of it was presented in a thoroughly grounded, and highly technical (for a six-year-old) fashion, but the illustrations were captivating enough that it didn’t matter. It didn’t lead to me becoming an astronomer (I ended up finding human societies and language much more interesting), but I did have a particularly memorable argument with a classmate who insisted that the sun had been and would be around “forever”. I think I may have traumatized him by shaking his notion of the Universe as fixed and immutable…

Jon D said:

DK’s Eyewitness books are amazing! I had just about the whole set in primary school, and borrowed the rest of them from our school library. Loved them!

I just bought the volume on Prehistoric Life earlier this week. I was not disappointed.

(i was hoping someone else would point this out; but i guess it’s me, so i apologize in advance)

that should be “duel” in the second sentence

I clicked on the “So Creationists hate them” link expecting the typical blurb by someone in on the scam demanding that the library give “equal time” to their own pseudoscience supplement. Instead I found a “live one.” - an embarrassingly clueless rube who hasn’t gotten the DI’s memo.

Excerpt:

“Roxanne Cleasby called for a formal review of a book, titled ‘Horses’ by Juliet Clutton-Brock, in hopes of having it pulled from the shelves at the Smith Elementary School library. The mother of an 8-year-old student, Cleasby filed a Request for Reconsideration of Educational Materials calling for the removal of a book in January.

According to the documents, Cleasby objected to two pages in the book describing the evolutionary origins of the horse — passages she said were presented as fact, not as theory. The book, from a popular children’s series, Eyewitness Books, makes no mention of the possibility of creation theory.

‘I just want my daughter to be able to question and have the freedom to make her own choices,’ Cleasby said.”

That was 4 years ago, and I don’t know how the story ended, but surely the DI would say that “the freedom to make her own choices” would be denied by removing the book.

I was in Chicago for the first time a couple of weeks ago, so I dropped by the Field Museum to see “Sue”, and they had a “Sue Store” as well. I picked up the Usborne World Atlas of Dinosaurs, which is pretty basic and maybe targeted more at kids, but was still a pretty fun read.

On the more grown-up side, it has a 15 page catalog of dinosaur species at the end, though only a very brief entry for each.

Scientific American used to have its annual Christmas selections by Philip Morrison in its December issue. Many of these were for kids. I don’t know if they intend to continue this.

A few other organizations also offer book recomendations. The New York Academy of Sciences offers reviews and recommendations for kids. As occasionally does the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In fact, most professional trade magazines have book reviews and some of these occasionaly recommend books for children in their December issues.

And don’t forget the local library. When my kids were young, we were able to obtain many good recommendations from the kids and teens librarian. These were regularly posted each month. Our local library was good about science recommendations as well as other books in general.

skyotter said:

(i was hoping someone else would point this out; but i guess it’s me, so i apologize in advance)

that should be “duel” in the second sentence

Its not a real ERV post without a typo. Theyre like the ‘Wheres Waldo’ books :P

I thought I had all of the ‘Eyewitness’ books - apparently I do not! Guess I am going to the bookstore tomorrow.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :-)

Also another publisher similar to DK is Usborne Books:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n[…]oks%2Cn%3A75

They tend to be more readable in a narrative way, compared to the encyclopedic approach of DK.

SA Smith Wrote:

I won’t be an aunt for another few weeks (twin nieces, WHOO!!), but I jumped up with my favorite suggestions the last time Reed asked for book recommendations.

:-)

And don’t you forget to be a great role model. When they are old enough, take them with you to your lab.

If you haven’t read Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks, please do so. The influence of extended family comes through loud and clear.

SA Smith said:

Even though most of them [DK books] are targeted to 7-12 year olds, I still thought they rocked when I got a chance to read them in high school.

That’s nothing. I thought they rocked when I got a chance to read them to my kids when I was in my forties.

Stacy S. said:

I thought I had all of the ‘Eyewitness’ books - apparently I do not! Guess I am going to the bookstore tomorrow.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :-)

Apparently, they’ve updated older volumes and added new ones, too.

I love the Eyewitness books, have since I was a kid. All the books are great, not just the science ones. I have several of them still, including the one of dinosaurs, evolution, and ancient Rome. Even as an adult if I see one I have to give it a look through.

DK Eyewitness books! Luv ‘em! I’m a librarian (corporate) and much closer to retirement than to Romper Room, but I buy them for myself: Evolution, Prehistoric Life, the one on primates. (I’m on my second primate book. Wore out the first one since I use it at the zoo when I talk to the public. One of the chimp photos is of our now ancient female.)

And they make great gifts, too!

Here’s another good evolution book.

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Family-Tr[…]p/0152017720

If I remember correctly, the author was invited to speak at an elementary school in Minnesota. When parents complained about this specific book, she was asked by the principal not to talk about evolution. She declined to speak.

In other words, the principal of an elementary school asked a guest speaker not to talk about a topic that are in the statewide academic standards!

please, it’s duel not “dual.” I see someone else pointed it out as well.

I recommend “Voyage of the Beetle” by anthropologist Anne Weaver. Read my review of it here: http://thedispersalofdarwin.blogspo[…]-beetle.html

I, too, have a collection of DK books. They are great to read & look at, even for us older folks. I also think the “Kids Discover” magazine is excellent.

But really, aren’t the actions we are witnessing on behalf of the religious right creationists the very thing that they publically abhor (but personally admire), the nazi regime which burned intellectual books (evolution books along with other science books). Deep down their demand to control would be unbridled given the chance. The whole intent of the Dishonesty Institute and these parents is to ban (if not burn) evolution and other science books they disagree with.

ERV said:

Its not a real ERV post without a typo. Theyre like the ‘Wheres Waldo’ books :P

I’m surprised that our regulars aren’t clamoring for your head for refusing to use apostrophes. We may have to start adding disclaimers to all you posts to appease the grammar and formatting fascists.

ERV said:

skyotter said:

(i was hoping someone else would point this out; but i guess it’s me, so i apologize in advance)

that should be “duel” in the second sentence

Its not a real ERV post without a typo. Theyre like the ‘Wheres Waldo’ books :P

Can we be sure it actually is a typo? Cdesign proponentsists aren’t exactly known for their perfect spelling and grammar, or their skill at proofreading.

The Wind in the Willows got me started, by instilling a love of nature.

Frank J said:

an embarrassingly clueless rube

“Evolution is a fact? It can’t be. Teach the book burnings!”

skyotter said:

that should be “duel” in the second sentence

Yes, we certainly couldn’t think of creationism as a dual description of biology. :-P

On the same note, I also find ERV’s elision of apostrophes humoristic, considering their etymology. It suggests an ERV operator: ERV(‘) = ‘(‘) = ∅.

Dave Wisker said:

The Wind in the Willows got me started, by instilling a love of nature.

Somehow this triggered a sideways memory of Thornton Burgess. Dang, he hasn’t crossed my mind in years …

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

I reviewed Darwin and Evolution for Kids on PT here

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]n_for_k.html

Alas, as far as I know, my granddaughter hasn’t read it (yet?), but I think it’s well worthwhile for anyone of any age, and in fact I bought a copy for myself.

We publish a nice series of kids books on molecular and cellular biology, “Enjoy Your Cells”, “Have a Nice DNA”, “Germ Zappers” and “Gene Machines”. More info here:

http://www.cshlpress.com

PZ linked to this marvellous explanation of ID recently. Much better than anything you’ll get from the DI hacks.

Here’s an entry on Ham’s blog the other day on this very subject:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/a[…]osaur-books/

An AiG supporter recently bought a dinosaur book for his kids at Borders bookstore. She found an item in this book (which we have seen before) showing a picture (with a description) of what dinosaurs would have evolved into had they not become extinct! This “dinosaurid” would have been as intelligent as modern humans. As our supporter said, “I’ve heard some pretty ridiculous things, but ‘dinosaurid’ tops them.”

The lesson of this story: buy your dinosaur books from AiG where kids can learn the truth concerning the history of these creatures that God created on the sixth day of creation along side Adam and Eve. You can find AiG’s range of dinosaur resources on the AiG website

She found an item in this book (which we have seen before) showing a picture (with a description) of what dinosaurs would have evolved into had they not become extinct! This “dinosaurid” would have been as intelligent as modern humans.

just as long as it’s not a velociraptor… Eek!

Just an FYI.

You’ve probably heard of Tom Bethell’s book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science” wherein he bashes science, in particular evolution in favor of you know what.

Turns out this is but one of a series of books. I ran across the “… to Western Civilization” at Barnes & Noble & briefly skimmed through it. Interestingly, Darwin again is the cause of much evil as pointed out in this book.

The whole series apparently is authored by the right-wing fundies who see Darwin as the cause of all our problems.

Reed A. Cartwright said:

ERV said:

Its not a real ERV post without a typo. Theyre like the ‘Wheres Waldo’ books :P

I’m surprised that our regulars aren’t clamoring for your head for refusing to use apostrophes. We may have to start adding disclaimers to all you posts to appease the grammar and formatting fascists.

Oh, and I had just alerted the Punctuation SS to go and “re-educate” ERV. Well, I daresay she’ll survive. If she’s lucky. ;-)

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said: It suggests an ERV operator: ERV(‘) = ‘(‘) = ∅.

Que?

Nigel, the “joke” revolves around apostrophe function/etymology (“elision”) - apostrophe an apostrophe and you get nothing. (It’s no joke if it isn’t immediately apparent. Oh well.)

Which, it seems to me, is how ERV handles them.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Nigel, the “joke” revolves around apostrophe function/etymology (“elision”) - apostrophe an apostrophe and you get nothing. (It’s no joke if it isn’t immediately apparent. Oh well.)

Sort of like XOR(A,A) huh … yeah, Groucho Marx it’s not. “I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.” We’ll save the more lethal Marxisms for the time when an appropriate target presents himself.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

Yes… But uups, I blew it again, I meant “elide on apostrophe”.

Hi Abbie, Nigel D and everyone else,

I finally succumbed to temptation and “bashed” my “buddy” Bill Dembski’s latest published example of mendacious intellectual pornography at Amazon.com, noting that I, as a former paleobiologist, am qualified to review at least part of it without having read it beforehand:

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding[…]8&sr=8-1

Please vote accordingly and ask others to do so soon before the IDiots get their hands on it.

Thanks,

John

My vote for best science books ever still goes to the Time-Life Series: Science Library Nature Library The Universe Time-Frames (not a science series but a history series. Still - great read)

I think that when it comes to introduction to true Science, Time-Life Series are the best books ever indeed. Besides, they are timeless. DK Eyewitness are beautiful books but they are not about science but information. When we talk about science we are mainly talking about the scientific method. The method for getting the information is what set science apart from religion and other sources of knowledge. And the Time-Life books expound the method again and again, setting the connection between observation, measuring, reasoning and knowledge in a superb way, while going through the most interesting subjects, including Evolution.

Richard said:

My vote for best science books ever still goes to the Time-Life Series: Science Library Nature Library The Universe Time-Frames (not a science series but a history series. Still - great read)

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This page contains a single entry by SA Smith published on July 1, 2008 4:37 PM.

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