Reading Life on Earth

David Attenborough’s 1979 Life on Earth (paid link) takes readers on an amazing journey through the history of life and its varieties today. The book (of which many used copies are available) contains many remarkable full-color photos of living creatures, making it accessible even to younger children.

After flipping through all of the photos with my five-year-old son, who has a budding interesting in biology, and reading a few random sections, we decided to read the entire book slowly, a page or two per day. The book is a little over 300 pages, so we’ll be done within six months to a year. Of course older children can read it on their own.

The text is beautifully written, although it’s laid out in fairly dense and small type. I have a hard time reading it aloud for long periods of time. But handing a page or two at a time works great for my eyes as well as for the kid’s attention span. I recommend the book (regardless of whether one agrees with Attenborough’s politics, which he discusses elsewhere).

Image: David Raju