Darwinian Evolution Explained to Children

Through rhyme and colorful illustrations, author and attorney Joseph R. Becker 07L investigates the Darwin's concept of evolution in his new book Annabelle & Aiden.

By Michelle Valigursky

Joseph R. Becker 07L

Topics in this article:

Annabelle & Aiden
As Charles Darwin once said in Darwin’s Origin of Species, “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” Author Joseph “J.R.” Becker 07L evaluates this concept in his new children’s book, Annabelle & Aiden in The Story of Life.

Becker is a New Jersey-based self-described “drummer, snowboarder, animal-lover, outdoor-enthusiast, cook, eater (who isn't?), writer, and attorney.” Annabelle & Aiden is his first illustrated children’s book, named after his own children.

As the author’s page on Amazon describes, “In this ‘delightful illustrated book written in rhyme’ (as endorsed by Lawrence Krauss), Annabelle asks ‘Why do we look, the way that we do? With hands and feet, in neat sets of two? What made my eyes? And what made my nose? And the shape of my body, from my head to my toes?’”

The book’s description continues, “A wise owl answers by taking the characters on an incredible journey through Darwinian evolution. Join our characters as they visit outer space, watch the Earth go through its earliest stages, and gaze in wonder at the earliest forms of life. Young readers will gain a basic understanding of evolution, and perhaps more importantly, what we can learn from it: to be kind to one another, as we are all related in the same family tree.”

He writes, "I intend this to be the first in the Annabelle & Aiden series: a series of children’s books that explore the line where science and philosophy meet. While fairy tales widen the imagination, facts are as magical as fiction—and educational as well. Where did we come from? What happens when we die? What makes me, me? These types of questions have been kept from children to their detriment—until now. This series will introduce them in a safe and loving way."

The Spider and the Ant

Joseph Becker's first book, "The Spider and the Ant"

What’s next on Becker’s writing to-do list? “Now that I've tackled evolution, I hope to soon tackle (1) the big bang/we are stardust (2) free will and consciousness (3) aliens! (4) dinosaurs! (5) environmentalism, climate change (6) Where does our food come from? Farming, GMOs, etc. The list goes on!”

Editor’s Note: Becker adds, “To hear about future Annabelle & Aiden releases & news, 'like' our Facebook page.” He enjoys all the science and philosophy books and podcasts he can, pondering the bigger questions, from 'why are we here?' to 'what would chairs look like if our knees bent the other way?' and dreaming up ideas for future children stories.

Alumni Ink