Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Two "Little" books

I'm finally able to access my account and post. The "upgrade" to Blogger was enough to give me the push I needed to want to move to a different platform. I'll need to finish getting ready for the school year first, which will take a couple more weeks. Hopefully I'll have something in place before the end of the year...I'll post more on this as it develops.

Speaking of the school year, I want to recommend two books the boys are enjoying. The first is A Little History of Science by William Bynum (Yale University Press). Bynum, a historian of medicine, poses many of the questions that scientists over the ages have pondered and how many of the scientific breakthroughs came about (although the 'scientist' moniker didn't exist until the 1830s). It's a fun, fast read. We have been doing three to four chapters a week (there is a total of forty) and they have gotten more interested in it as the book progresses. Science, technology, mathematics, and medicine receive a good sampling although there are some notable omissions. Regardless, it's a good starting point for any child interested in science. My guess for the age range most interested in this would be 7 to 11.

Joining this book as a fun read for the kids has been the updated A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich (Yale University Press). Originally written in 1935 by Gombrich, an art historian, the book has been updated to include beautiful illustrations and an extra chapter on events since the original release. Gombrich was unapologetic in his focus on Western history and his religious beliefs. He combines sweeping history with details that helps hook the young reader/listener. The perfect age range would be about the same for the text, although any age will enjoy the illustrations.

While neither book is a substitute for a formal curriculum in either subject, they do provide fun introductions to their topics. More on the "Little Series" published by Yale University Press can be found here.


Brian Joseph said...

Sorry to hear about your blogging issues.

These things can be so frustrating.

I loved books like this when I was young. These "Overview" works really sparked my curiosity about the world.

Dwight said...

I should have mentioned the "Little History of the World" makes great bedtime reading.

My youngest, just before he turned 7, told me one day "Egypt was taken over by the Persians and Alexander the Great."

I mentioned that the Romans later took over Egypt and Julius Caesar had been involved in their civil war. He replied "That must have been before he was stabbed in the back."

My wife laughed when she heard this and said "You must be so proud."