In the book world, the month of November is dedicated to reading and sharing nonfiction books. This month I’ll be sharing some non-fiction books that I think would be great for readers, young and old. These books will cover various topics and interests. If you’d like to see previous #NonFicNov posts, click HERE to see more amazing non-fiction books.
FULL OF LIFE
Exploring Earth’s Biodiversity
By: Isabel Thomas
Illustrated by: Sara Gillingham
Published: October 5, 2022
Even though this book was written for middle-grade readers, I think adults will find this just as fascinating. When I saw the word biodiversity, I wasn’t sure I was going to be very interested in this book. I thought it might be “over my head” or “too sciency”. But, this in-depth, yet accessible, guide to all the living things and how we are all connected to the tree of life makes for an exciting read for kids and adults.
You’ll find plants and animals that you are knowledgeable about and then on the next page you’ll learn about a new microorganism that was recently discovered. Through this book, you’ll find out how all the 2+ million life forms are all connected. It is mind-boggling.
The book moves you through the tree of life beginning with True Bacterias and ending with Eukaryotes. Now, these are terms you are probably not familiar with, but the book explains everything in very easy-to-understand short paragraphs. You’ll learn about the bacteria that create gum disease to the Giardia that live in the intestines and cause stomach-related diseases and how each of these bacteria is unique and even necessary to make things like toothpaste.
Without these microscopic life forms, there would be no life forms on Earth. Because each of these species is critical to other species’ survival, humans need to understand this warning that we need to protect each member of this great tree of life to keep our biodiversity in harmony. Because when it is upset, nature can become unbalanced.
I loved the page dedicated to orchids. They are such a unique tropical plant that many of us try to keep alive in our homes. Their blooms are unique and quite beautiful, but I was surprised to learn that the seeds release a sticky, vanilla-flavored goo that we use to flavor our food. The orchid roots attach to surfaces rather than grow down into the ground which also requires them to depend on other species in order to survive.
From tiny microorganisms to plants to insects to mammals to fish and birds, we are all part of the tree of life. The end of the book includes numerous charts, tables, maps, and timelines to help explain our dependence on each other. There is also a thorough glossary of terms as well as websites and books for further research. Kids and families who love the human sciences will find this jam-packed book of information to be quite educational.
Isabel Thomas is an award-winning science writer and the author of more than 150 books about science and nature for young audiences. Her critically-acclaimed picture book Moth: An Evolution Story, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, was awarded the 2020 AAAS Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Isabel also writes features for children’s science magazines The Week Junior Science+Nature and Whizz Pop Bang, and outreach projects.
Isabel grew up in a low-income, single-parent family and attended five different state schools before studying Human Sciences at the University of Oxford. She has devoted her career to inspiring children from diverse backgrounds to pursue science careers, including a research degree at the University of Cambridge exploring science education. Check out her website, HERE.
Sara Gillingham is the award-winning art director and designer who created Exploring the Elements, Seeing Stars, and Animals in the Sky with Phaidon. She lives in British Columbia.