How does one simplify the subject of evolution? One solution — read some children’s books on the subject. Well, at least that’s what I did. After quickly purveying Darwin’s original On the Origin of the Species, it was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t be finishing it anytime soon, so I did the next best thing. I checked out what we had in the juvenile section, and lo and behold, I could actually understand them! I also garnered some fascinating tidbits about this legendary scientist. For instance, did you know that Darwin . . .
- was a poor-to-mediocre student who would rather be out hunting than studying the classics? (Wouldn’t most kids?)
- dropped out of medical school as he couldn’t stand to watch surgery being performed on children without anesthetic? (That would do me in, too.)
- spent five years on a voyage around the world aboard the HMS Beagle? (Though plagued with terrible seasickness, he collected countless new specimens and fossils.)
- spent eight years just studying barnacles?
- was an ardent abolitionist?
- preferred the term “transmutation through natural selection” over “evolution”?
- suffered from stage fright so severe he couldn’t publicly defend his ideas?
If you’re interested in finding out more about Darwin, check out these titles:
Darwin and Evolution for Kids: His Life and Ideas by Kristan Lawson
Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution (a graphic novel!) by Heather Adamson
The Tree of Life: a Book Depicting the Life of Charles Darwin, Naturalist, Geologist and Thinker by Peter Sis