Science in Elementary Books
The two children’s books that I had were Animals Charles Darwin Saw and Starry Messenger. I have decided to compare and contrast these two books.
Animals Charles Darwin Saw: had a table of contents, LOTS of color, paragraphs, parenthetical spelling, side boxed for animals Darwin discovered or encountered, mentions evolutionary theory at the very end, basically no mention of the bible, mentions that evolution is still debated today, and it has a glossary.
My basic questions about the Darwin book: Does it not mention the biblical side because parents don’t want their children learning about controversial issues? Does the open ending lead to hopes of independent thinking without telling them one way is definitely true or not?
Starry Messenger: has mostly pictures, short sentences (no paragraphs), no difficult words, no mention of anyone other than Galileo and The Church, no in depth story, no chapters, index, or glossary, readable in two minutes or less, all about stars, no mention of other theories.
Questions about the Galileo book: why are the theories other than stars left out? Why are the pages 90% pictures? Why isn't the bible mentioned? Why anyone else isn’t mentioned besides Galileo and The Church? Why is The Church mentioned as a whole and not described at all?
Thoughts about why these books were written the way they were: Both of the books leave out the controversial issues and leave the ending open. I believe it is written this way so that either the children can decide which view to believe, or so that the parents can fill in the controversial issues based on what they want their children to know. I can’t say which way it right or which way is wrong; it’s up to the reader.
Both books are filled with color and picture to capture the attention and add images to the information in the book. The pictures in the Galileo book were large and took up most of the page, while the pictures in the Darwin book were also large, but left room for more words.
The Darwin book was definitely more informative than the Galileo book. It had more difficult words and even a glossary for them. I believe this book was geared towards later elementary school. The Galileo book was definitely geared towards lower elementary school. The sentences were short and to the point, there were no back ground stories, and only the basics were mentioned.
If I were to write a children’s story, I would make sure that the important parts were hit, and make sure only the necessary background stories were included. Adding fluff would only confuse a child. If I did use words that needed explaining, a glossary would need to be included. I like how both of the books allowed for independent thinking and individual beliefs to be included. Both of the books included the main points, the Darwin one included more detail.