Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gift Ideas for 2014

Solstice/Holiday Gift Ideas for December, 2014


New Stuff for Parents/kids:

The new Cosmos:   (great for everyone in the family, with enough different material that the new and classic Cosmos series are great together)  

Mira & the Big Story:This is a really cool story showing how the Universe Story can bridge differences between groups, told in a fun and inviting way - written for kids under 10 years old. 

You’ll never see a Birthday Party the same again!  A fun way to connect us to the rest of the Universe, now in hard copy - Elemental Birthdays   (This is by Heather and I)

 The Universe Story Comic Book, in verse!


New Stuff for the Adults & Teens

 A fascinating tour of our DNA: The Violinist's Thumb, by Sam Kean  (also can be found on audio)

Taking that same story told by our bodies a few steps earlier - The Universe Within, by Neal Shubin    (this is the only book in this guide I have not yet read.  I greatly enjoyed Shubin’s earlier book, and this looks very good as well.)  This also can be found on audio)

Here is a sacred way of seeing our Universe - The Holy Universe, by David Christopher

Big History Resource:  Now the popular Crash Course youtube series has produced a fun Crash Course on the Universe Story/Big History in 8 short videos.  



Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (available on DVD) Carl Sagan's Cosmos is my #1 recommendation to families for giving children the priceless gift of our Universe, which they will carry with them into adulthood.  

For younger kids, the need for evidence is shown by: ”Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete First and Second Seasons (1969)”. 

Essential Books for all Families:
For the youngest kids, aged 3 to 6, “Our Family Tree” by Lisa Peters is a great introduction to how we got here.  Next, for ages 5 to 10, is the “Born with a Bang” trilogy by Jennifer Morgan.  After that the child can read on their own, so Richard Dawkins book, “The Magic of Reality” is a good choice.  Here are pictures for all three:

Timespirals: A way to show many wonderful ideas, including our Deep Time past, our place in our Ancestry, etc.  

Earth and Sky Calendar:, another way to bring our Great Story to your daily life, updated for 2015.

DNA Kit & Pop Bead DNA (about the same cost, more versatile:   with a description of how to use them at the Epic of Evolution)

The BBC “Walking with” series is also excellent – especially “Monsters”, “Cavemen”, and “Beasts”.
The Great Story Site has a very useful collection of resources for parents and educators  & additional books are at Evolution for Kids


The Ancestors Tale by Richard Dawkins  

The Big History Series on the History Channel is a cool overview of how we got here:

Happy Holidays!

Jon Cleland Host