DNA for Nonfiction Monday

I have a child who constantly wants me to teach him. "Tell me more about x,y, and z!" he begs. Only problem is, Mama might know a lot about ancient history, archaeology, and geography, but Mama's knowledge of the hard sciences is pretty darn patchy.

So what to do? Going back to college is not an option. Google is a possibility, but it does not quite foster the sofa-centric model of intellectual growth that I prefer. So I am very grateful to publishers of quality non-fiction for the young, like Lerner. A series I especially like is their "Science Concepts," which covers a variety of hard science topics-- such things as "matter," "photosynthesis," and "symbiosis." They are at about my level (grades 5-9), in that I can comprehend them as I go, and translate them to an 8-year-old's understanding (I hope).

Most recently we enjoyed reading DNA, by Alvin Silverstien, Virginia Silvestein, and Laura Silverstein Nunn (revised edition, 2009). We rushed quickly through the rather tricky second chapter, "What is DNA?"--it was a bit hard for us to understand. But we thoroughly enjoyed more anecdotal topics such "How Heredity Works," "When the Code Goes Wrong," and "The Genome Project." As well as the smoothly written body of the text, we appreciated interesting sidebars about such things as the first cat ever cloned (did you now that cloning dogs is harder than cloning cats?), sickle-cell anemia, the fact that chimps are closer to humans than to gorillas. These sorts of things are candy for my boy's mind, and their presentation in this book, meant for older, independent readers, is of the unpatronizing variety that makes him feel that his interest is respected.

So, the upshot of this post--go to the library and bring books home that are too hard for your kid. Read them with her or him, be honest about the parts you don't understand, and delight together when you learn new and fascinating things! (This sounds so good on paper that I feel I should do more of it. But, alas, all too often I am busily modeling independent reading behavior).

And your five year old, drawing idly on the living room floor, might surprise you with his drawing of genetic transfer at the molecular level during the mating process (mostly circles and lines, but still...) We are going to be saving that piece of paper forever.

And thanks, Lerner, for the review copy of DNA, which led us to seek out other titles in the series.


  1. The future is bright for a child who asks and a mother who takes the time to answer. I love this post.

  2. This looks like a very intersting book. Wow.

  3. 好秘书 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 中国皮肤网 癌症康复网 中国公文网 工作总结 个人工作总结 半年工作总结 年终工作总结 单位工作总结 教师工作总结 教学工作总结 学校工作总结 德育工作总结 财务工作总结 医务工作总结 安全工作总结 乡镇工作总结 党员工作总结 团委工作总结 公司工作总结 实习工作总结 班主任工作总结 党支部工作总结 办公室工作总结 学生会工作总结 工作报告 政府报告 述职报告 述职述廉 考察报告 自查报告 情况报告 调研报告 调查报告 申请报告 辞职报告 实习报告 验收报告 评估报告 工作汇报 思想汇报 汇报材料 情况通报 情况汇报 心得体会 学习体会 工作体会 培训体会 读后感 领导讲话 庆典致辞 节日致辞 开业开幕 演讲稿 竞聘演讲 就职演讲 比赛演讲 征文演讲 节日演讲 演讲技巧 工作意见 活动策划 工作方案 整改方案 实施方案 企划文案 营销方案 培训方案 应急预案 规章制度 法律法规 事迹材料 先进事迹 个人事迹 申报材料 学习材料 考察材料 经验材料 交流材料 自我鉴定 工作计划 工作规划 年度工作计划 学校工作计划 个人工作计划 团委工作计划 工会工作计划 单位工作计划 党支部工作计划 民主生活会 入党志愿书 入党申请书 入团申请书 转正申请书 党性分析材料 先教活动 整改措施 剖析材料 公告通知 模板范例 贺电贺词 常用书信 合同范本 社交礼仪 法律文书 论文

  4. Wow, Anonymous had a lot to say. :) Thanks for mentioning this one, Charlotte. Sounds like our kind of book. My niece sequences DNA as part of her job at college, where she's a junior. Can you imagine? Gone are the days of washing trays in the cafeteria...


Free Blog Counter

Button styles