On Chemistry, Christmas Lectures and Book Collecting

It’s only a few days until we go on our Summer Holidays, so I’m winding down a bit with our schooling. Along with a minimal bit of work we watched an old Ri Christmas lecture from 2012. I loved watching them when I was a child – they really capture how exciting science can be.

Ri lecturer exploding chemicals

The lecture’s theme was the Modern Alchemist – all about chemistry and the elements. My eldest daughter found it enthralling. My son enjoyed it on a slightly different level. He liked the explosions and the ‘sausage man’ going on fire. It has sparked a new interest in the beautiful coffee table book that I bought six months ago.

It’s a lovely book for those who haven’t seen it. Yes, most of the elements seem to be silvery metals, but he has additional pictures that show them in their various uses. The text is short enough to hold the attention of my two oldest. It’s a lovely thing to pull out any time an interesting element comes up in conversation.

I would really like to collect more books. So much enthusiasm for a subject can be generated just leafing through the pages of wonderful, visual tomes. I can see our library, such as it is, expanding rapidly in the near future! Here are some I’ve set my sights on:

Costume Worldwide
There’s nothing that brings history to life more for me than visualising the clothes people wore. I’m not sure if it’s a female preference for fashion and social mores. Nevertheless what a fantastic way to reference each period of history.

Shackleton’s Journey
This is an illustrated account of Shackleton’s expedition across the Antarctic. Searching for images of the inside I came across this review from FrogMom which has certainly has me sold.

The Book of Beetles
There is something terribly fascinating about the colours, shapes and sizes that these abundant creatures come in. This book has stunning pictures of each tiny, living gems, along with a little text on each, a map and a life-size image on each page. It would be worth finding a similar volume on Moths and Butterflies; insects which seem to attract young and old alike.

30-Second Anatomy
This is an illustrated guide to the amazing ways which our body works. Like many of the books on my wish list, it contains a huge amount of information, but is cleverly and beautifully designed so as not to be overwhelming.

Citizens of the Sea
A photography based overview of life in the oceans, both small and massive. There is so much to capture a child’s imagination in the sea and this looks to be a fine representation of it.

Edited by, Adam Heart Davis, one of my favourite television presenters, and published by the kings of visual fact books – DK – this book covers a vast scope. I could see it captivating my young ones.

There are tons and tons more out there – books that will see my children’s interest grow from infants enthralled by the pretty pictures, small children discovering just how amazing the world can be, and young adults wanting to expand and deepen their knowledge. And me – who just wants to curl up on a sofa with a coffee, and sit and read them all.


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