Reading “The Story of Life, A First Book About Evolution”

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Evolution is a Science term that I was never really taught much about. Schools touch on this topic on Biology courses in a very subtle manner, if you ask me, or at least this was the case when I was a kid. As an adult, I have come to learn more about it and learned to appreciate it as a very important theory, the theory of Evolution. This has widened my views on Science, planet Earth, and life, in a way I did not expect. It is an amazing explanation to life of Earth that gives us insight on many important topics, one of them being the concept of race. The more I learned, the more I realized the advantages and importance of this topic. Is for this reason that I decided this is a topic I want to teach my son about, because on the realm of Science, this topic ranks high on importance. Now, since my son is still just 3 years old, I looked for a very simple, colorful and fun book to introduce the concept and I found this book “The story of life: A first book about evolution”, by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams.

This is a colorful book full of drawing like illustrations that make it feel as if a kid is telling a kid about Evolution. The book is short enough for bedtime story, which I like, and has very small paragraphs (about 2 sentences each) on every page. Every set of 2 pages has a legend mark in the lower left hand showing the time period, and almost every new item shown in the story is labeled with the name (volcano, lava, dinosaur, mammals). The story continues until present time where kids are made aware of the effect of humans on the planet. There is also a short glossary found at the end of the book that may help explain some of the terms used in the book. This is particularly good for older kids, to allow them to search the meaning of these terms on their own when reading the book.

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The book is recommended for kids 6-8 years old. I generally think is best to acquire books before the age we expect our kids to read them because I think is a good idea for them to be familiarized with the books. Having many books around my son has made it easy for him to pick them for entertainment often. He has come to enjoy books and looks at them as he does toys. Even when he was a baby, pointing at a book for us to read to him was a very normal event. Also, I see reading very simple books to kids when they are no longer babies as a underestimation of their abilities. Kids have an amazing potential that we do not know yet, so why only read them about the duck crossing the lake when they can already talk.  Just a thought.

Overall I liked this book and plan on reading to my kid often. He loved the illustrations and kept asking the names of everything he saw on each page. It kept him attentive and amazed and I’m sure it will be an enjoyable book for him to read for years to come.

Here is a TED Talk that inspired me, even before having a kid, to be mindful not to underestimate kids. Is a talk from Adora Svitak, “What adults can learn from kids.“Enjoy!

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