Scan book store and library shelves, and you’ll see scores of books for children about scientific topics – space, cool animals, field guides, science experiments, gross science, etc. Yet how many of those books stress the importance of wonder in thinking about science? A new book does just that, and does so beautifully.
Annaka Harris, I Wonder (Four Elephants Press: 2013), 32 pp. Illustrated by John Rowe.
Eva takes a walk with her mother and encounters a range of mysteries: from gravity, to life cycles, to the vastness of the universe. She learns that it’s okay to say “I don’t know,” and she discovers that there are some things even adults don’t know—mysteries for everyone to wonder about together! I Wonder is a book that celebrates the feelings of awe and curiosity in children, as the foundation for all learning.
As a parent, I strive to introduce my children to the natural side of the world they live in. But doing so can sometimes turn into looking at what we know, and if we don’t know something, it feels like we aren’t succeeding. But science would not be a human endeavor if scientists had everything all figured out! The exciting thing is that we don’t know it all, and reading I Wonder helps in recognizing that perhaps most important attribute of living a life that embraces the importance of science: knowing that it is continuous and changing. What I love even more about this book is that in every illustration, Eva and her mother are outside: in the woods, at a beach, in the clouds, and in space (using their imaginations, of course). A first step to instilling an interest in science in a child is to step out the front door. A second step is to read and be read to, and a parent and a child cannot go wrong with getting comfortable under a tree and reading I Wonder together.