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Best Books About Evolution & Charles Darwin
(list continued -- page 3 of 4)

Below is a continuation of our list of the very best children's books about evolution and Darwin. This is a confusing and potentially controversial topic. The books below can help!

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One Beetle Too Many
by Kathryn Lasky; illustrated by Matthew Trueman
One Beetle Too Many

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One Beetle Too Many

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What it's about
Subtitled 'The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin', this brief title is a well written and cheerfully illustrated look at Charles Darwin's years aboard the Beagle, where he was eagerly engaged in observing and collecting the plants and animals he encounter. Darwin is depicted as a young man who is curious, awkward, and somewhat hapless--actually "a description he might have given himself in his own modest journals." (SLJ).  We like Booklist's suggestion that this book will "situate the man as a natural adventurer in kids' minds before he becomes just another stuffy old scientist." :)

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 3-6        DRA Level:  n/a
Difficulty Level: age 4-8      Lexile Measure:  1050L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:4 stars (8 reviews)

Darwin and Evolution for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities
by Kristan Lawson
Darwin and Evolution for Kids

Inside Darwin and Evolution for Kids

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What it's about
A fairly comprehensive introduction to Darwin and evolution, plus numerous related activities including going on a botanical treasure hunt, tying nautical knots, or keeping naturalist field notes. Children's Literature called this title "an excellent resource" and SLJ said  "the writing is consistently clear and lively." Teachers will definitely appreciate all the great ideas.

Reading levels
Interest Level: Gr. 5-9         DRA Level: n/a
Difficulty Level: age 9-12     Lexile Measure: 1060L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating: 4 stars (11 reviews)

Charles Darwin (Giants of Science)
by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Charles Darwin and the Giants of Science

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What it's about
A well written, often witty account of the life of Charles Darwin, creator of the theory of evolution--a theory almost as controversial today as it was when he first presented it. Krull captures Darwin's insatiable curiosity about all living things. Readers learn about his five-year voyage on HMS Beagle and then the twenty year struggle he had to bring the controversial theory into the public eye. Krull's writing is conversational and fun, with interesting anecdotes that really personalize the great man. Add to that Boris' Kulikov’s whimsical ink drawings and this book has just the right amount of levity and interest to keep this age group turning the pages.

Reading levels
Interest Level:  Grade 5+        DRA Level:  n/a
Difficulty Level:  age 10+        Lexile Measure: 1110L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:5 stars (2 reviews)

The Voyage of the Beetle
by Anne Weaver; illustrated by George Lawrence
The Voyage of the Beetle

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What it's about
Subtitled "A journey around the world with Charles Darwin and the Search for the Solution to the Mystery of Mysteries", this title presents a very unique take on Charles Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle. The narrator is a beetle named Rosie who accompanies Darwin on his journey and humorously recounts how she provided him with hints and guidance as he made his discoveries. The reader is encouraged to decipher her clues right along with Darwin, thus encouraging active thinking. It's a silly premise, but beautifully illustrated and quite effective in getting students to step into the role of scientist themselves.

Reading levels
Interest Level: Grade 4+      DRA Level:  n/a
Difficulty Level: age 9-12     Lexile Measure: 1140L

Awards and Rating
Average Amazon Rating:4.5 stars (5 reviews)

Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial
by Ronald Kidd

Monkey Town

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What it's about
A retelling of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial" through the eyes of a 15-year-old girl whose father, in an attempt to bring commerce to their small town, first convinced Scopes to admit he taught evolution in the classroom. Full of interesting period details, the narrative brings all the key characters to life and the issues as well. Readers will relate to the young main character and the struggles she struggles to reconcile her religion, community beliefs, and science. In a starred review, SLJ called the book a "a somber yet witty narrative" and a "fast-paced novel blending history with a coming-of-age story." We thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and your students will too!

Reading levels
Interest Level: Grade 6+        DRA Level: n/a 
Difficulty Level: young adult    Lexile Measure:  740L

Awards and Rating
ALA Best Books for Young Adults List
ALA Notable Children's Book List
NCSS Notable Social Studies Book 2007
Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars (5 reviews)

Want more kids books about evolution?

This page is part of a three page list on the best kids books about evolution. If you'd like to see more children's books about evolution and Charles Darwin, just click the link below.
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