Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A new kind of science book – written for Jewish kids

Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

Let’s face it.  There are more of them than there are of us.

I’m talking about Christians.

Lots of them in the world.  And not so many of us.

When we were homeschooling, I envied Christian homeschoolers the wealth of educational kkresources they had that integrated their faith with every subject imaginable:  from literature to math, from history to science.  So much so that we tried out a few programs, like Apologia Science.  I liked them to some extent, and the faith part was great, but we kept running up against bits of the program that we couldn’t use:  the Christian parts.

I particularly loved the idea of integrating faith and science.  That’s why I decided to create a new series of science ebooks written specifically for kids growing up with a Jewish worldview.

  • Have you ever wanted to hand your kids a science book knowing they’ll get more out of it than just the bare facts?
  • Have you wished they could learn about science through the wonder of faith – without encountering random Christian tidbits?
  • Do you want them to know that Hashem is behind everything that exists on this earth, even if it’s not usually considered part of “limudei kodesh”?

We live in an Olam Shel Emet – a world of Torah truth.  So that’s what I’m calling these books.

It takes a long time to write a book from scratch.  A reeeeeally long time.  On my other blog, writing about and reviewing children’s books and ebooks, I’ve been able to read some of what I think are the best books available in this genre, so I have pretty high standards.  Plus, I don’t have anything like this to work from – everything here is original and totally new.

The first volume in the series – I’m writing them, so I get to pick what I write! – is all about invertebrates:  Hashem’s “spineless wonders,” in the sea and on the land.

What animals are covered?

  • In the sea:  Jellyfish, corals, sponges, octopus, starfish
  • On land:  Worms, bugs, germs, snails, crabs

(Don’t worry; I know bugs and germs aren’t scientific terms – I cover that in plenty of detail in the book.)

Here’s a short excerpt from the introduction.

Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

coralcrabmod

What comes to mind when you think of an animal?

A lion? A shark? A rooster?

What do all those animals have in common? Birds, cats (like lions) and fish (like sharks) all have a backbone. So do we.

But in fact, almost all of the animals on this earth (around 97% of them) are actually invertebrates. That means they have no backbone.

It’s hard to imagine living without a spine. Your own backbone is amazing in every way. Think about it. The same “machine” that lets you stand upright for hours, perfectly tall and stiff, also lets you bend down and touch your toes.

Plus, your spine is more than just a collection of little bones. It’s actually a tube that carries information down the middle from our body parts to our brain.

But if there’s anything Hashem loves, it’s variety, and He’s filled up our earth with all sorts of different creatures - including thousands and thousands of varieties of invertebrates.

Let’s meet a few of them: five who live in the sea and five who live on land (and in the air). Even if we can’t imagine living without a spine (or without bones at all), Hashem has found unique ways to let each of these unique creatures survive.

In fact, for most of them, a backbone would just get in the way. Creatures like jellyfish, octopus and worms can squeeze into places they never could if they had hard bones. On land, Hashem has given a few creatures - like snails, crabs and insects - protection on the outside (in the form of a shell or hard exoskeleton) that keeps them safe despite the perils of living out in the open.

Hashem has given us this earth, and these creatures, and asks us in return to take care of them and learn all about them, as he explains in Bereishit (Genesis), Chapter 1:

Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know His creatures a little better.

Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

I wish I could share this whole book with you here; I’m very proud of it.  Here are a few screenshots (click any of them to view at full size).  You can see that there are tons of gorgeous pictures of all these creatures, each individually captioned by yours truly, with a lot of solid, science-based text as well.

Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod Screenshot from Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

For more details, and a longer preview, please check out the first book in the series – it’s only $3.99 on Amazon:  Olam Shel Emet:  Spineless Wonders –10 Incredible Animals Without Bones.  (If you don’t have a Kindle -- I don’t, and buy Kindle books all the time! – I use a program called Calibre to convert ebooks to any format I need.)

Oh – one more thing.  If you’re an Amazon reviewer – or a blogger!  I especially love homeschooling Jewish mama (oops, parent) bloggers! – and you’re interested in reviewing this book, I’d be happy to send you a review copy.  Just let me know!

I write books for kids!  They’re cool!  I promise!  Sign up here to keep updated with all that’s happening in the world of me-as-fledgling author.

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


2 comments:

  1. I really love this! My son is so into science and I love that you're creating books from a Torah perspective. I will definitely be ordering this and I can't wait to see what other topics you write about. Personally I'd like something about natural wonders (volcanoes, waterfalls and the like) and the human body. :)

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  2. Rivki,
    That's great to hear. I'm thinking human body, because that's what interests ME most. But I also want to see what my own kids want before I start doing all that research... :-)
    Thanks for letting me know!

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