This is the eighth post in my series STEM Toys for Kids that Parents Will Love. To check out the other posts, click on any of the images below.
Introducing Grandmother Fish: a child’s first book of evolution. This book started as a Kickstarter project and was fully funded by in 2014. In 2015 they completely sold out. Today, they’ve partnered with Macmillan, a Science and Education Publisher, to bring the book to a wider market. You can pre-order the book on Amazon now.
When I first heard about the book, I was both excited and nervous. I loved the idea of a children’s book that could explain evolution in a simple way. (Also, I secretly loved that it was called Grandmother Fish instead of Grandfather Fish). But I was worried that it may be scientifically inaccurate. There are many misconceptions about evolution, and when you try to simplify a complex topic for a child, problems can arise. (If you’re interested in learning about common misconceptions about evolution read this.)
But my fears were squashed when I was able to read the book.
The book tells the story of evolution by going through an evolutionary family tree starting with fish and ending with humans. It describes the common traits we share with our great ancestors (breathing, eating, speaking, cuddling, grabbing, and laughing). The illustrations are wonderful and it’s easy to read.
Science journalists at NPR and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) agree that the book is scientifically accurate and great for kids. Stephanie Keep, writing for NCSE, stated, “By the time I had finished reading the educational material at the end, I knew this was a book I wanted on my daughters’ bookshelf. In short: it’s heads and shoulders above any evolution book for children that I've ever seen.”
Keep interviewed the author, Jonathan Tweet, who said he was inspired to write the book because he’s always been a fan of evolution and wanted a way to teach the basics of evolution to his own daughter.
What I really love about the 32-page hardcover book is that Tweet includes more information about evolution in the back of the book. On a page titled “Our evolutionary family tree” he has all of the characters in the book (he even brings evolution back to archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes)!
On another page, Tweet describes the difference between artificial selection, natural selection, and descent with modification. With the additional information, this book will be educational for kids and parents alike.
If you needed a good reason to teach your kids that all humans have a common ancestor, Neil deGrasse Tyson has a pretty good one:
Evolution can be a confusing topic, especially when you’re trying to explain it to kids. This book makes it easy and you’re likely going to learn something yourself by reading it! I’d recommend this to any parent or teacher who is looking for an easy, scientifically accurate way to describe evolution to kids.
For one of his next projects, Tweet has said that he’d like to do a book on climate change for young children.
If you’d like to buy Grandmother Fish, click on the Amazon link.
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