Are there any children’s books that are dear to you, either as a child or a parent, and especially ones that perhaps strike a chord with those from a science sensibility? Just curious really. And it doesn’t have to be a picture book, doesn’t even have to be a children’s book – just a book that, for whatever reason, worked for you.
So, I’m quite late to the party, but nevertheless I’ve listed some books below–some science, most not–that either I read as a kid, or I read with my kids now, or both.
My third grade teacher, Mrs. Bauman, read us both “Where the Red Fern Grows” and “Summer of the Monkeys” (both by Wilson Rawls) during the school year. I was rather impatient when it came to reading, so I checked them both out of the library and read them myself before she was more than a chapter or so in. And even so, I still cried at the ending of both books.
I also loved E.B. White, for “The Trumpet of the Swan” and “Charlotte’s Web”. Never much of a fan of “Stuart Little”, though.
I mentioned previously that, as a young kid, I read a lot of Berenstain Bears books. We still have some of those around for my own kids, and there are links in that post to ones that are science-related.
We had a lot of books in my house, but there came a point when I got bored with everything we had, so I spent one summer exploring our garage. I read all of my mom’s old Nancy Drew books, and went through a phase where I loved solve-it-yourself mysteries–“Encyclopedia Brown”, “Two-minute mysteries”, anything that encouraged me to solve it first. I can’t say I wouldn’t have become a scientist without these, but it certainly honed my rational thinking skills. And as noted in this article:
Most medical research is like criminal investigations: endless searches for clues that seem to add up to nothing.
Anyhoo. I have many of the books mentioned above for my own kids and we read some aloud, but they’re too young for some of them. One of their favorites is another one of my beloved books from childhood–“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. This one we still sometimes “read” while driving on long car trips, since we all have it memorized, and the kids can blow off some fidgeting by “roaring their terrible roars” and “gnashing their terrible teeth” while driving down the highway.
They’re also Eric Carle fans. When I was a kid, the only book I knew of his was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. My kids, however, learned many of their colors by reading “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” He has two books with gimmicks–“The Very Lonely Firefly” lights up, and “The Very Quiet Cricket”, well, ain’t so very quiet, but they’re fun to read.
I have a number of other books to recommend, both for kids and adults, but didn’t want to turn this just into a big list…I’ll try to compile the others as a list by topic and post it in the future.