BOOKS: Three-part series on our cosmic, earth, and evolution stories

Dawn Publications specializes in science and nature books for kids. Their series of evolution books by Jennifer Morgan and beautifully illustrated by Dana Lynne Anderson capture for young curious minds the wonder of our connection to the natural world. They tell, from the perspective of the Universe, our cosmic, earth, and evolution stories. Each book contains at the end a section with further detail of topics featured in the story, a glossary, and suggested readings and other resources.

Born with a Bang

Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story, by Jennifer Morgan and illustrated by Dana Lynne Anderson (Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications, 2002), 48 pp.

Get ready to hear the Universe tell its own life story of chaos and creativity. Time after time the Universe nearly perishes, then bravely triumphs and turns itself into new and even more spectacular forms—like the Sun and Earth. It even turns itself into Earthling scientists who help the Universe discover more about itself. This is a science story from the inside. It’s a story about you, from the time you were really born—about 13 billion years ago. First in a trilogy, this illustrated book ends as the Universe forms a young Earth.

From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells Our Earth Story

From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells Our Earth Story, by Jennifer Morgan and illustrated by Dana Lynne Anderson (Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications, 2003), 48 pp.

Settle in with your favorite pillow while the Universe tells the thrilling story of Earth. It’s a story about the beginning of life, and how Earth triumphs over crisis to become bacteria… jellyfish… flowers… dinosaurs! It’s a science story that is your story, too, the story of your living Earth and the unbroken chain that connects you to the very first life that began to twitch in the sea four billion years ago.

Mammals Who Morph

Mammals Who Morph: The Universe Tells Our Evolution Story, by Jennifer Morgan and illustrated by Dana Lynne Anderson (Nevada City, CA: Dawn Publications, 2006), 48 pp.

This remarkable illustrated evolution series, narrated by the Universe itself, concludes with Book Three, the amazing story of mammals. It picks up with the extinction of dinosaurs, and tells how tiny mammals survived and morphed into lots of new Earthlings… horses, whales and a kind of mammal with a powerful imagination—you! It’s a story of chaos, creativity and heroes—the greatest adventure on Earth! And it’s a personal story… about our bodies, our minds, our spirits. It’s our story.

Some seem to think these books, through personification of the Universe as storyteller, are masquerading as creationism/intelligent design. I don’t think so. The intention here is to provide a grand story of sorts for children about the origins of our universe, earth, and life. Some call this the Epic of Evolution or The Great Story. If you’re religious, you can take these books as you will. If you’re secular, you can read these books in a wholly secular tone. As the author notes in the third book, in response to queries about where God is in these books, “The word ‘God’ is purposefully not in the story so that it can be embraced by people of all religious traditions, or of none at all.” What is important is that children are being offered good science through the stories, and that is the case with Born with a Bang, From Lava to Life, and Mammals Who Morph.

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