Ask the Librarians, Science, Top Picks

Top Picks: Human Body

Continuing our Ask the Librarian post from two weeks ago, Kelly had asked about books on volcanoes, the human body, and dams & bridges to read aloud to her 7 year old son. Here are our picks for the Human Body:

The True Book of Your Body and You by Alice Hinshaw
Young readers may be able to read this for themselves–large print, white space and simpler language are the trademarks of the “True Book” series. This is a simple introduction to the entire body.

How Your Body Works by Herman & Nina Schneider
This is a good overview of all the various systems and includes experiments for children to test for themselves. The first half of the book is devoted to how your body uses food–a great place to start as most children have a vested interest in food! The second half focuses on the senses.

My Listening Ears by Joanne DeJonge
DeJonge’s books are part science, part devotional as she gives the reader “an uncommon look at the common-place of creation.” How God made our bodies, and persons, perfectly and in His own image.

What’s Inside of Me? by Herbert Zim
This series has many pictures and every other page is large type that young readers can read themselves, with the alternate pages intended for parents to read aloud providing further information with more difficult vocabulary than the young reader could decipher for himself.

Bones by Herbert Zim
Zim’s science books are thorough, but approachable when read aloud to young readers. This particular title focuses on the skeletal system. Clear, drawn illustrations accompany the largish print.

Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out-Science Books by various authors
Find Out by Touching; Straight Hair, Curly Hair; A Drop of Blood, and many more titles in this series focus on the human body. Intended for young readers, or those learning to read these books are sound science presented in a clear, straightforward, easily engaged by younger children.

The Human Senses (Science Experiences) by Jeanne Bendick
Jeanne Bendick’s science books are great for engaging children–she invites the children to question, wonder, and find out about the subject by looking more closely at the world around them.

And while I was compiling this list Julie wrote asking for living books to supplement her family’s study of the human body–what a timely request! I decided to combine these two “Ask the Librarians” with further recommendations (some of the above titles are good for older children too, especially the Zim and DeJonge books) for her older children (3rd-8th grades) below:

“I Am Joe’s Body” by J.D. Ratcliff
This book is a collection of essays originally published serially in Reader’s Digest. Each essay takes an organ or part of the human body and tells it’s story like a first-hand account, full of living ideas.

The . . .  System Books by Dr. Alvin and Virginia Silverstein
The Respiratory System, The Digestive System, The Circulatory System, and others each focus on one major system in the Human Body, and also describes that system in other living things. For upper-elementary on up readers. Make sure you get the originals published in the 1960s-70s, the more recent reprints were edited, and are much more dry.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Paul Brand
The subtitle of this book is “a surgeon looks at the physical and spiritual body.” While giving a living picture of various aspects of the body, Dr. Brand provides such insight into that other body we belong to–the body of Christ. Inspiring, full of vital images and descriptions that deepen our understanding of our spiritual nature.

What about some biographies of famous doctors and men who made great medical discoveries? Here are just a few examples:

Dr. Beaumont and the Man with the Hole in his Stomach by Sam & Beryl Epstein
The man who made great discoveries about digestion–through experimenting on a man who had been shot, and lived with a hole in his stomach! This is an easier biography for elementary readers.

Great Men of Medicine by Ruth Fox Hume (Landmark Books)
Chapter biographies on 10 great men of science who furthered our knowledge of the Human Body, including Louis Pasteur and Frederick Banting (discoverer of insulin). From the popular Landmark Series, these are good for upper-elementary on up readers.

The Courage of Dr. Lister by Iris Noble (and other Messner Biographies)
This is a biography of the doctor who introduced anti-septic surgeries. Messner biographies are an excellent choice for this age range–thorough studies of their subject told in a narrative style sure to engage even younger listeners.

Edward Jenner and Smallpox Vaccination by Irmengarde Eberle (Immortals of Science)
Good series of biographies for middle school students. This is such an important discovery in the history of medicine.