As a reader, I love biographies. As a teacher, I see the power life stories have when shared with young readers. I have found that my third graders love reading about real people who pursued their passions to make a difference.
Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist tells the life story of Lucy Evelyn Cheesman, whose curiosity about bugs led to a lifetime of exploration. Inclusion of the repetitive line “[b]ut Evelyn went anyway” help students understand the obstacles Evelyn faced as a woman in her field.
Christine Evans’ lyrical writing pairs beautifully with Yasmin Imamura’s soft illustrations. Details, from a back matter interview with modern entomologist Dr. Alexandra Harmon-Threatt to the beautifully illustrated end pages, capture and keep readers’ interests.
Upon reading this book, my third graders had many thoughts to share.
- On theme: “This book inspires people to be themselves.” “She tries to be herself, even when people don’t think she can do it.” “She wrote it in a very inspiring way – ‘but Evelyn went anyway.'”
- On the illustrations: “The pictures look so realistic!” “They look actually like the environment, like the forest or the woods.”
- On the historical context: “Wait, is that the same Queen Elizabeth as today?!”
- On the topic: “Not many people like bugs, but this book can convince you to like bugs!”
Happy reading to all!