There are great children’s books out there for learning how about the human body. Even though these aren’t Christian, books can still be great resources to point out to my children how God amazingly designed our bodies. I thought I’d share some of the ones I’ve found at the library or bought years ago when we last studied Cycle 3.
We don’t use any formal science curriculum except for the CC memory work (Classical Conversations), but we do fill our house (and library crate) with books related to the memory work. For some people, the thought of not having a text book for science can be daunting so I wanted to share books I have found and will use with Cycle 3’s science.
There are many ways we will use this list of books:
- my children’s daily reading time
- looking up things that interest my children and exploring more information about the systems we will memorize
- assigned reading to an older child (to read to themselves or out loud)
My children are enjoying these books right now since I got them out of the library and will look at them in the fall and winter when I check them out again. I don’t try to have a specific book to match the week of memory work we are currently studying, but instead I allow the books to introduce topics to come or reinforce memory pegs we’ve already made.
Tutor Tip: Besides using this list of books with your family, I found it very helpful as a tutor to the 4 year olds to have some “body books” on hand when we were making the life-size model of the body. Some children could color in 10 seconds flat while others would take the entire 30 minutes. When someone got done, I had an assortment of books for them to study. They really enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing how our bodies work. With this idea in mind, my list of books does not include any body parts you might not want to share with someone else’s 4 year old child. (Think: g-rated) This is something you might also want to remember when randomly pulling books off of a library shelf.
Books that cover lots of information (have most of the anatomy memory work referenced in them):
- See Inside Your Body – This Usborne flap book was hands-down my children’s favorite our first time through Cycle 3. This was also the one that all the 4 year olds in my class at CC picked first each week. If you only get one book on the body, this would be my pick. There are 2 pages about many different systems with lots of flaps to lift. There are lots of single sentences labeling or describing different functions. What’s nice about it is that even if your child is only interested for a sentence or two, they are getting a lot of information in those few words.
- First Human Body Encyclopedia (Dk First Reference Series) contains most of the systems we memorize but not necessarily labeled by system. This book does have 2 pages about reproduction but only shows inside the body for this.
- The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body My 4 year old, in particular, loves to look at any and all Magic School Bus books. He has seen the episode of the Magic School Bus cartoon once so it means the book helps him remember everything he learned from the show even though it’s been months since he watched it. Since he can’t read, this is a helpful way to reinforce learning for him.
- The Little Brainwaves Investigate: Human Body reminds me a lot of the Usborne See Inside Your Body, but without the flaps for children to lift.
- How Your Body Works: A Good Look Inside You Insides (Amaze) answers lots of questions like “how does my stomach work?” or “what do my kidneys do?”. The wording is nice and simple for a young child or an early reader.
- I Wonder Why I Blink: And Other Questions About My Body (also published under the title I Wonder Why My Body Needs Sleep) is another book with a number of questions in it. Questions include “how do I move?” and “why can’t I see in the dark?”
- My First Human Body Book (Dover Children’s Science Books) is a coloring book. My daughter drew a picture of an eye just for fun so I hope this book gives her more to draw (or at least color) next year. My boys don’t like to color so I think I will only get the one for her unless they show great interest in it.
Here are some books about specific weeks of memory work for Cycle 3. (I don’t get them always the exact week but use them to reinforce memory work or introduce new ideas. Tutors might enjoy some of them when we are making the life-size body models to further explain the organs.)
Skeletal System/Types of Tissue (week 1 and 2)
- The Skeleton Inside You (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) – This book includes connective tissue and bones.
- Your Skin and Mine: Revised Edition (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) obviously talks about epithelial tissue (but also gets into the sense of touch from week 5 – can you see why I use to books to introduce or reinforce but don’t always completely match up a certain week?)
I wanted to mention that some books about skeletons will have more “scary” Halloween skeleton pictures so if your child might be bothered by this, you’ll want to look first.
Nervous System (week 4)
- The Nervous System (New True Books: Health) can be read by a child by themselves if they are an independent reader but is not overly long or detailed. This will be a required reading book for my older two (as well as the others in the series listed below). I like the interesting facts as well as the glossary of terms in the back.
The Senses (week 5)
- The Senses (Inside the Human Body) is a great book for my middle to upper elementary kids. It goes into much more detail about the senses including where in the brain we register the senses. There are 8 pages alone on how the eye works as well as great pages explaining how hearing and balance are related. Actually, I really just think that the information about all the senses are great, and this book takes something that some kids like of as an easy topic and really brings it to a whole other level of learning.
Digestive System (week 6)
- What Happens to a Hamburger? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) is one of my favorite new library finds. I think my bigger children will enjoy reading this to the younger ones. The pictures are great as well, and all the parts of the digestive system that we memorize are mentioned.
- The Digestive System (True Books) is from the same series as The Nervous System mentioned above. I will probably make this required reading as well. (I actually don’t often have to assign books like this because if I bring them home, the kids will read them before I get to the point of assigning it. If I need to assign it, I will though.)
Circulatory System (week 8)
- The Circulatory System (True Books) will probably be required reading for my older two and is a part of the same series as ones mentioned above. I like the simple descriptions of blood types in this book as well as the page about breathing at high altitudes (which mentions a CC geography mountain peak).
Respiratory System (week 10):
- The Respiratory System (True Books: Health) is also part of the same series as others mentioned. By the way, this series always has two sentences at the front of the book that you have to determine which is true and which is false. This is great because it taught my kids how to answer a true/false question and because it makes them search for the answers in the book.
Blood (week 12):
- Under this category, I have mainly found books that have vampires in them like this one (A Drop of Blood (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)). Since this would scare my children, I won’t get it out for them.
This is not an exhaustive list. I hope this list can be a blessing to your family and not a list that makes you think you need to read and cover every little thing.
UPDATE: I found so many more great books about the human body that I wrote another post. Check it out here.
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