Dozens of biographies have been written about Charles Darwin, one of the most influential thinkers in history. Now, for the first time, his life is portrayed pictorially in an illustrated biography in graphic novel-style for all ages to enjoyespecially younger readers.
Darwins 1859 groundbreaking treatise On the Origin of Species established his theories of evolution and natural selection. Yet he was not born this legendary figure of scientific achievementhe began as an English boy who was ordinary in most ways, except for his exceptional curiosity.
Darwin: A Graphic Biography, released by Smithsonian Books
in celebration of Darwins birthday Feb. 12, tells the story of his little-known youth. It is especially appropriate for ages 10 to 15 because its expressive text and illustrations draw readers into Darwins world and along for his adventures, including a beetling expedition and his legendary travels through Africa, South America and Australia. Readers will see the tirelessly inquisitive young boy learn and grow, and they will get to know the person Darwin was before he became a great scientist.
Darwins story is even presented by apes. The Ape TV feature used to frame the narrative gives readers basic facts about evolution that are presented in a humorous light. The graphic-novel format allows readers to immerse themselves in the scientific world of the 1800s and place Darwins accomplishments in that context. The book explains how evolutionary theory changed before, during and after Darwins life and how monumental Darwins contribution to science was.
Readers will learn that Darwins patience, curiosity and perseverance allowed him to become successful. Darwin: A Graphic Biography conveys the role of trial and error in science and the importance of finding out what one wants to explore in life.
Eugene Byrne is a freelance journalist whose work focuses on history and has been published in many periodicals, including BBC History. Simon Gurr is a cartoonist and illustrator who has been producing Web and print comics with a focus on educational illustration for more than 20 years. Darwin: A Graphic Biography is the third historical graphic novel that Byrne and Gurr have collaborated on.