Wednesday, July 31, 2013

History Made Accessible

No student should leave their high school without having learned about Charles Darwin and the work he conducted. From evolution to natural selection, Darwin is iconic for a true understanding of organisms and science of the five kingdoms. In this graphic adaptation of The Origin of Species, Michael Keller has taken this relevant book and created a version that preserves the language and true feel of Darwin's studies while making it graphically appealing. I think even Darwin would be proud of this story.

I am not going to go into depth with the story of Darwin and the Beagle because if you are looking at this adaptation, you understand the relevance of the book to begin with. But I do have to say I thought the original story was beautifully captured in this adaptation. Everything from the connections he made to come to the idea of natural selection to the controversy surrounding his theories was beautifully depicted either through the words themselves or beautiful illustrations that told the story in a different and equally as strong manner. Our students don't truly understand the risks Darwin was taking in coming forward with these theories, but this book does that controversy justice. The language holds true to the original, but with the illustrations, I think this story is finally accessible to your average young adult students. 

I have been looking into graphic novels, but in particular, into non-fiction graphic novels, as a means to draw students into more challenging works. For instance, I loved the graphic novel Primates, and plan to delve into Feynman as soon as possible. These books are truly opening doors to information many of our students would not otherwise access. While they would benefit from this information in its original form, they might not necessarily choose a book written so long ago. This type of adaptation bridges that gap, and I am grateful for it. I look forward to finding more adaptations like this! So if you have a student studying biology who really needs to know about the life and studies of Darwin but won't read Origin? Pick up this book!

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