“You are older than the dinosaurs. Older than the earth. Older than the sun and all the planets. You are older than the stars. You are as old as the universe itself.”
These are the opening lines of Older Than the Stars by Karen Fox. What better way to make the subject of cosmology kid-friendly than to start with a discussion of age. When you’re a kid, “how old are you?” is an important question, and this book starts by turning this question into a mystery.
From those opening lines, the book continues with a cumulative rhyme in the style of “This is the House That Jack Built” that is accessible even to my preschooler. There are also fact-boxes with more straight-forward information about the science of the big bang and the formation of the earth on each spread, which makes the book appealing to kids up to second or third grade. The illustrations match the text well. They start off kind of chaotic and gradually they come to resemble things we recognize. This book is my first-round pick for talking to kids about where we come from. Here is a peek inside, courtesy of the author’s blog:
Some secular families may appreciate Born With a Bang by Jennifer Morgan, which covers similar information. Some secular readers may not be totally comfortable with the first person narration, from the perspective of the universe, in this book. For others, though, reading science like a story is what finally makes science “click” for them.
This post is part of a series inspired by my appearance on Atheist Talk where I spoke about children’s books for secular families. These posts are not intended to alienate religious readers. (In fact, most of the books will likely be appreciated by religious readers as well as secular.) My goal is to empower secular families to engage with the world through books. Read last week’s secular Thursday post, or start at the beginning with Behind the Scenes of Atheist Talk.