For some, the universe, and our Earth in particular, can be explained by folklore. They believe an agent of supreme power whipped up all this stuff in a celestial lab. Others, however, think there was a different narrative unfolding. Charles Darwin was one of those people. Though at the time he began his research, he was a believer, by the end of his authoring “The Origin of Species” — and following the too-early death of his daughter — he found himself conflicted. It’s a debate that continues to this day. But regardless of your position in the conversation, any parent can benefit from reading Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be with their children.
Author Daniel Loxton has crafted an easy-to-understand kids book about Darwin’s concepts of evolution, and adaptation and change over time. I have already introduced my child to these ideas, but haven’t yet found a book that makes it quite simple enough to explain to her. This one gets a lot of things right in that regard. The illustrations and straight-forward language in Loxton’s book are the perfect jumping-off point for a deep discussion about, well, everything.
At 6, my kid asks a lot of questions, and I answer them as honestly as I can. I try to present the information in a way that skirts the issue of religion and the politics of the debate. When those issues do come up, I try to be as diplomatic as possible. Sometimes I fail, at others I succeed. Loxton may be better at this than I. He offers this in defense of the critics of evolution: Though Darwin’s theories explain in detail how our natural world and its inhabitants came into existence, they “can’t tell us what those discoveries mean in a spiritual sense.”
It’s a fair statement, one I would incorporate into any talk with my child about the bigger issues in our lives. I want her to have an open mind, a curious nature and a critical line of thinking. The more she knows, the more questions I want her to ask. An early introduction to evolution is part of that process for us, and should be for everyone.