How do you know when you stumble across a Jason Chin book? Because the illustrations are beautiful, and your kids will request to read it multiple times from the library stack. Because you will continue to talk about it and remember it long afterward. Because you trust the information and know that it must have been meticulously researched both for the facts and the accuracy of the lovely watercolor paintings.
Science and nature come to life with Caldecott-award-winning author and illustrator Jason Chin. Most of his books have even more detailed information in his back pages with facts which are more “sciencey”. Don’t just read these books; devour them. Learn about the illustrator, study the details in his paintings, and compare the illustrations across his all books. Take a deep dive into picture books at a new level!
Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases through Amazon.com. However, all of these books have been loved by us, and I whole-heartedly recommend them.
Warning to my Conservative Christian Friends:
These books are beautiful and have so much well-researched info in the pages that you should still consider checking them out even if you don’t agree with the old-earth mentality. Jason Chin’s books are not “young earth”. I really believe though that the worthiness of these books still outweighs your concerns.
From a creationist standpoint, I have no problem with any of these books. No where in them does he deny that God was the creator of all these marvels. Choose to see the references dates in these books as a progression of time and move on. Often these bring up excellent discussions!
Look for It!
In many of his books, the main character is holding a copy of the very book you are reading. You can glimpse the cover page or some of the inside pages scattered on some pages. The kids will enjoy looking for this little cameo.
Read Aloud: Good for all ages, but some material is pretty scientifically dense. Great for up to teens!
Length: Lots of words; plan for at least 30 minutes
We LOVE this book.
Things in our world gradually get bigger as the comparisons soar to Mount Everest and buildings and the layers of Earth’s atmosphere. The author continues zooming out until there just aren’t any more comparisons to make, all the way to the edge of the known universe.
Your Place in the Universe brings up so many questions and other deep dives into space information you didn’t know. An essential for any space study, be prepared to have a list next to you of all the next information you need to learn about. Even though not said outright, reading this book affirms the majesty of our universe – It’s up to you to add in God as designer and creator.
Read aloud: Youngers can enjoy learning about the planets, colors, names. For older kids, there are so many facts. This is a beautiful astronomy course.
Length: Allow yourself plenty of time to read this book. Have a quicker read through with only the main text and read all the extra information on your repeat reads – which you will have This has the potential to last at least 30 minutes. A thirty minutes that the kids will love. Don’t forget the back pages.
Read Aloud: Ages 8 and up as it touches some heavier genetic and migratory explanations
Length: Allow 30 minutes read time, 40 pages, written as sections, some pages with long paragraphs
This book beautifully tells the story of the Galapagos Islands, a collection of 15 large islands and more than 100 smaller islands. Located 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador, these islands are famous for their hundreds of endemic species which have prompted scientists throughout the last 200 years to study the different species on each of the islands. The most famous of these, Charles Darwin, is mentioned in the end pages along with an explanation of natural selection based on the different traits which are seen on each of these islands.
Another focus of Island is the actual formation of the Galapagos Islands from a volcanic hot spot and the movement of the tectonic plates under the water. Through the five sections of the book, you see the creation of an island from underwater volcanoes, the settling of vegetation and animals, and the erosion as it slips back under the water. Don’t overlook the three backpages with load of more facts.
As Mr. Chin mentions in the backpages, he told the story based on the best scientific research available and includes a disclaimer that some are speculative. This book brought up some amazing discussions with my kids regarding micro- and macro-evolution as well as how we should respect the beliefs of others at church and school who might feel differently than we do. No where in this book is macroevolution referenced or any of the “bigger” evolution ideas like monkeys to humans.
Read Aloud: All ages
Length: One of his shorter books; plan for 15 minutes
Our family first read this book several years ago, and even though we didn’t own it, it stayed with us due to the creative telling of the story, and we have many times referenced it since.
In this Coral Reefs, a girl takes a book off the shelf of a fabulous library, and as the pages progress, the library and the city around it slowly turn into an underwater paradise. She learns about the corals, plant life, fish, and animals all while swimming under her now submerged city.
Check Out Jason Chin’s Fabulous Books
Associated Jason Chin Links
- Children’s Literacy Foundation links for further learning about this author
- Jason Chin Teaches How to Illustrate a Fact
Check Out These Picture Book Links
- A Beginner’s Guide to Illustrator Study with Picture Books
- Take a Deep Dive into Picture Books
- Picture Book Biographies: The Abolitionists
- Kadir Nelson: An Artist and Illustrator Study through Black History Picture Books