Eric Meikle's picture

Granny, What a Big Extended Family You Have!

Illustration by Karen Lewis. Copyright Grandmother Fish, used by permission. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to review and comment on what seems to be a very unusual if not unique venture—a “first book of evolution” designed for children in the toddler to preschool age range. This is Grandmother Fish (referred to NCSE by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer), which you can read about here

This is still a work in progress, but promises to be a simple yet accurate first introduction to some of the most basic features and events in vertebrate evolution. It conveys the core message that all life is related, that we are all cousins, in a way which connects the reader, the child being read to, and a series of “grandmothers” from fish to human. After reading it, I felt something akin to Thomas Henry Huxley’s self-reported reaction to Charles Darwin’s exposition of natural selection: How extremely stupid not to have thought of that! The creators of Grandmother Fish have started a Kickstarter campaign to support the completion of the book. Check it out.

I have written before about crowdfunding of evolution and climate change education and some of the creative projects folks are bringing before the general public in hopes of turning them into reality. See my previous post for links to some successfully funded projects from last year. Additional projects that we have noted in 2014 include a set of evolution animations, a cladistic card game, a DNA card game, and an evolution-themed board game. (Mention here does not constitute endorsement by NCSE.)

If you know of other recent, relevant crowdfunded projects please leave a comment.