Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Not Disgusting to Me!

My 5-year-old is fascinated by anything gory or gruesome, particularly injuries.  If one of us cuts herself, she wants to see the blood.  She recently asked how the crucifixion actually killed Christ; that is, she wanted to know the medical cause of his death (it's suffocation, by the way). She is particularly proud that these things are "not disgusting to [her]" because, as her science teacher pointed out, we need people who are not made queasy by these things to be doctors and scientists.  In fact, she recently declared she wants to be a surgeon so she can "cut people open and see their insides."

In that spirit, we went looking for a book about the human body that had photographs, not merely diagrams. These were hard to come by.  Those that had photographs often had too much text and text that was too difficult for her. Although we could have bought a book just for the photos, I wanted one that also had information at the right level for her.  After sitting on the floor paging through a variety of options, we ended up with First Human Body Encyclopedia, put out by DK publishing, known for its excellent non-fiction books for children.

My daughter and I are both extremely pleased with our choice.  The book has a mix of photographs and diagrams, intriguing enough for her to look at on her own when I cannot read to her.  The text is not dumbed down, but is not way over her head either and includes wonderfully gross information, such as the fact that we swallow about a glass of snot a day, as well as more basic facts.
There are sections on bones, muscle, blood, organs, reproduction (without explaining the birds and the bees although, if your child doesn't already know about them, this may prompt her to ask), the five senses, germs and the immune system, allergies, multiple births, and much more.

The book is not perfect.  More detail would have been nice at times. For example, today we saw a sign advertising a blood drive.  I explained to my daughter about different blood types and told her we could learn more in her book. I was disappointed to find that while the book does mention blood types, it doesn't get into any more detail than what I had already told her.  Overall, however, this book is a great introduction to many different facets of human biology and goes into more depth than many other beginner books on the subject.

I highly recommend this book for any child interested in the human body.  Do you have any other recommendations, or a recommendation for what book we could get next if (when!) my daughter wants more information?


  1. I think my son would enjoy this book! DK publish some really wonderful books for inquisitive little kids.
    I am hosting a new weekly nonfiction link party called Keeping it Real and it would be great if you could share this with us :)

  2. This looks like a fantastic book! I wish I had a book like this before I had to take anatomy -- it would have made that course a lot easier. :)

    The Anatomy Coloring Book is great! I used it as an adult in my anatomy classes. Also, I was surprised with how helpful various medical terminology books were for learning anatomy.