The best books on adaptation

2 authors have picked their favorite books about adaptation and why they recommend each book.

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Reptiles

By Catriona Clarke, Connie McLennan (illustrator),

Book cover of Reptiles

You really can’t go wrong with a book from Usborne publishers. Reptiles is a gem. It has all the features of a traditional non-fiction book--chapter titles, table of contents, glossary, and a list of related websites--and it bestows information in kid-friendly language. When a procedure is outlined, such as temperature regulation for a desert lizard through a long hot day, the process is distilled into 4 numbered steps. The small size of the book (6” x 8”), the beautiful integration of photographs and illustrations, and the high interest level of the topics covered makes this book a surefire winner with kids.

Reptiles

By Catriona Clarke, Connie McLennan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reptiles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a fantastic brand new addition to the "Beginners" series, designed to provide an informative introduction to trees and plant-life for young readers. Children can learn about some of the most fascinating cold-blooded creatures in the world from reptiles that can fly, walk on water, and climb on ceilings. This book offers terrific reading practice for children who prefer fact to fiction. It is developed with a reading expert from Roehampton University to help young readers grow in confidence. It is great value for money.

Who am I?

When I was a child, I saw a grasshopper doing the sidestroke in the ocean and it sparked my interest in animal behavior. Though I still don’t know if all grasshoppers do the sidestroke, I’ve learned a lot about animal adaptations since then. And I’ve learned a lot about what motivates young readers from my years as a reading specialist and a classroom teacher. I’ve put that knowledge to work in my two popular books: Who Has These Feet? and Who Has This Tail?


I wrote...

Who Has These Feet?

By Laura Hulbert, Erik Brooks (illustrator),

Book cover of Who Has These Feet?

What is my book about?

Who Has These Feet uses a lively guessing game format to introduce children to animal adaptations. Young readers enjoy following the predictable format of the text to explore the link between shape and function in the feet of nine animals from different habitats. The brightly detailed paintings by Erik Brooks are scientifically accurate and very appealing.

Real Life

By Phil McGraw,

Book cover of Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life

One of my lines in my book was, “Dr. Phil, It’s Your Girl” when I was sarcastically calling out for help. And hey, it’s true, sometimes we just need to bask in some form of self-help. If you can’t afford therapy or reading is an addition, this book can help you address feelings you may have parallel to Dr. Phil and the specific days he talks about. Some you may have experienced (like divorce) and others may not have occurred yet. This was a mini therapeutic dive for me and helped me with perspective in various situations.

Real Life

By Phil McGraw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Real Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

During my divorce, I became fascinated with the psychology behind divorce and the pathology behind personalities. I started doing a lot of research for my memoir that I was writing. Working professionally in the entertainment industry, I was fortunate enough to publish my book and get some publicity behind it. Because of my research and experience, I’ve been a guest on ABC, FOX, and have been in publications like HelloGiggles, Woman's Day, Authority Magazine, and more. I truly love understanding why a relationship works and why it doesn’t sometimes. Humor can’t cure a divorce, but I do believe it can help and if I can contribute to that, well then I think that’s fabulous. ☺ 


I wrote...

Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog.: Stories About Divorce, Dating, and Saying “I Do”

By Lauren Peacock,

Book cover of Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog.: Stories About Divorce, Dating, and Saying “I Do”

What is my book about?

When Lauren Peacock was twenty-three years old, she got her fairy-tale wedding. But she soon discovered that a dream wedding doesn’t guarantee a dream marriage. Divorced at twenty-seven, Lauren did a figurative face-plant onto the floor of the dating scene and had to learn some awkward lessons, like how it’s not socially acceptable to push a crush into the dirt after the age of seven.

A mix of self-deprecating humor and fearless vulnerability, Lauren’s collection of hilarious anecdotes will win over readers prone to pairing rosé with mac and cheese and waxing nostalgic over nineties-era pop culture references. With unapologetic honesty, she reveals even the least-flattering details of her dating life, which are so relatable they’ll make readers either cringe or laugh out loud.

Why Do Cats Meow?

By Joan Holub,

Book cover of Why Do Cats Meow?

Like my book, this one draws young readers into the topic of animal adaptations with a question. Although the book doesn’t have a table of contents for easy perusing, it does provide a model for picking and choosing the chapters of interest. It’s likely to be a young reader’s first experience with the scanning procedure we use in nonfiction materials--as opposed to the page after page reading necessary in fiction stories. The book consists of 20 chapters each addressing a question about cat behavior. The explanatory paragraph is from 3-10 sentences long, pitched at a late 1st-grade reader. The visuals are a combination of photographs and drawings.

Why Do Cats Meow?

By Joan Holub,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Do Cats Meow? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

When I was a child, I saw a grasshopper doing the sidestroke in the ocean and it sparked my interest in animal behavior. Though I still don’t know if all grasshoppers do the sidestroke, I’ve learned a lot about animal adaptations since then. And I’ve learned a lot about what motivates young readers from my years as a reading specialist and a classroom teacher. I’ve put that knowledge to work in my two popular books: Who Has These Feet? and Who Has This Tail?


I wrote...

Who Has These Feet?

By Laura Hulbert, Erik Brooks (illustrator),

Book cover of Who Has These Feet?

What is my book about?

Who Has These Feet uses a lively guessing game format to introduce children to animal adaptations. Young readers enjoy following the predictable format of the text to explore the link between shape and function in the feet of nine animals from different habitats. The brightly detailed paintings by Erik Brooks are scientifically accurate and very appealing.

Scholastic True or False

By Melvin Berger, Gilda Berger,

Book cover of Scholastic True or False: Mammals

The “test your knowledge” format of this book is appealing to a wide age range of youngsters. A simple question like “All mammals eat meat. TRUE or FALSE?” is followed by a one word answer (FALSE) and then a one sentence answer in large font: Cows and many other mammals usually eat plants. The subsequent paragraph goes into more detail about the topic. In this case, it explains how the shape of an animal’s teeth provides a clue to its diet. Full disclosure: Many kids who peruse the book on their own skip over the paragraphs. Captivating photos of animals in nature abound.

Scholastic True or False

By Melvin Berger, Gilda Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Scholastic True or False as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

When I was a child, I saw a grasshopper doing the sidestroke in the ocean and it sparked my interest in animal behavior. Though I still don’t know if all grasshoppers do the sidestroke, I’ve learned a lot about animal adaptations since then. And I’ve learned a lot about what motivates young readers from my years as a reading specialist and a classroom teacher. I’ve put that knowledge to work in my two popular books: Who Has These Feet? and Who Has This Tail?


I wrote...

Who Has These Feet?

By Laura Hulbert, Erik Brooks (illustrator),

Book cover of Who Has These Feet?

What is my book about?

Who Has These Feet uses a lively guessing game format to introduce children to animal adaptations. Young readers enjoy following the predictable format of the text to explore the link between shape and function in the feet of nine animals from different habitats. The brightly detailed paintings by Erik Brooks are scientifically accurate and very appealing.

Book cover of Animals and Where They Live

There are lots of animal encyclopedias out there, but none compares to this Dorling Kindersly book. Each double-page spread focuses on a particular biome. The illustration takes up most of the page and depicts the inhabitants assembled in naturalistic poses. Along the borders of the page are labels and short paragraphs about each of the animals. Topics related to a particular biome are included: Surviving the Cold, The Burrowers, etc. The Life in the Mountains and The Ocean Depths sections show the different levels in which animals live. This is a book to be gazed at long and luxuriously, preferably on a lap.

Animals and Where They Live

By John Feltwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animals and Where They Live as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

When I was a child, I saw a grasshopper doing the sidestroke in the ocean and it sparked my interest in animal behavior. Though I still don’t know if all grasshoppers do the sidestroke, I’ve learned a lot about animal adaptations since then. And I’ve learned a lot about what motivates young readers from my years as a reading specialist and a classroom teacher. I’ve put that knowledge to work in my two popular books: Who Has These Feet? and Who Has This Tail?


I wrote...

Who Has These Feet?

By Laura Hulbert, Erik Brooks (illustrator),

Book cover of Who Has These Feet?

What is my book about?

Who Has These Feet uses a lively guessing game format to introduce children to animal adaptations. Young readers enjoy following the predictable format of the text to explore the link between shape and function in the feet of nine animals from different habitats. The brightly detailed paintings by Erik Brooks are scientifically accurate and very appealing.

Bouncing Forward

By Michaela Haas,

Book cover of Bouncing Forward: The Art and Science of Cultivating Resilience

Beautifully written stories of survivors of trauma, many well-known to the public, revealing the strategies and inner resources they drew on to “transform bad breaks into breakthroughs.”

Bouncing Forward

By Michaela Haas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bouncing Forward as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Engaging stories of modern survival with uplifting and often surprising takeaways." -Gay Hendricks, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of The Big Leap and Conscious Loving

"Bouncing Forward shows us how adversity can turn us toward our deepest inner resources of trust, wisdom, and love." -Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

"Discover the advantages of adversity and find meaning in the messiness...[Bouncing Forward] shows the reader how to cultivate the mindset of resilience that can catalyze healing and growth from catastrophe. Brilliant, inspiring, to be read, re-read, and treasured." -Linda Graham, MFT, author of Bouncing Back…

Who am I?

Resilience - helping people recover their capacities to deal with any adversity, stress, loss or trauma – is the heart of my work as a licensed psychotherapist (25 years) and an international trainer of mental health professionals (more than a decade). Bouncing Back is the book I wanted to be able to hand my clients to help them learn to use the capacities of resilience innate in their brains to develop more effective patterns of response to life crises and catastrophes. No such book was available at the time, so I wrote my own. It has become a tremendous resource for people to learn to how to be more resilient, and to learn that they can learn.


I wrote...

Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

By Linda Graham,

Book cover of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

What is my book about?

The award-winning Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being is a groundbreaking integration of practical tools and techniques. The book is informed by Eastern contemplative practices, Western relational psychology, and the emerging neuroscience of resilience, to help people learn how to rewire their patterns of coping with the disappointments, difficulties, and even disasters inevitable in a human life, and to learn that they can.

The Story of the Human Body

By Daniel E. Lieberman,

Book cover of The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

Of the many good books about human evolution, Dan Lieberman’s is my favorite. A biologist and paleoanthropologist, Lieberman describes in clear, accessible prose the fossils that document our own origins, stressing function as inferred from fossils. Having recounted the story of our evolutionary origins, he goes on to explain its consequences – some good, some bad – for human health in the 21st century.

The Story of the Human Body

By Daniel E. Lieberman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of the Human Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman, Professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard, shows how we need to change our world to fit our hunter-gatherer bodies

This ground-breaking book of popular science explores how the way we use our bodies is all wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, if normal is defined as what most people have done for millions of years, then it's normal to walk and run 9 -15 kilometres a day to hunt and gather fresh food which is high in fibre, low in sugar, and barely processed. It's also normal to spend much of…


Who am I?

An acclaimed scientist, teacher, and writer, Andrew Knoll has travelled the world for decades, investigating ancient rocks to understand the intertwined histories of our planet and the life it supports. His boyhood thrill at discovering fossils has never deserted him. It continues to motivate him to explore topics that range from the earliest records of life and the emergence of an oxygen-rich atmosphere; the diversification of both plants and animals, and the intricacies of mass extinctions, past and present. He has also participated in NASA’s exploration of Mars.


I wrote...

A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters

By Andrew H. Knoll,

Book cover of A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters

What is my book about?

We live our lives tethered to the Earth, but how well do you know our planetary home?

Drawing on his decades of field research and up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest science, Andrew H. Knoll delivers a rigorous yet accessible biography of Earth, charting our home planet’s epic 4.6-billion-year story. Placing twenty-first-century climate change in deep context, A Brief History of Earth is an indispensable look at where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Adaptation to Life

By George E. Vaillant,

Book cover of Adaptation to Life

The retired Harvard psychiatrist shepherded the Grant Study of American men, one of the most robust longitudinal studies of humans ever done – basically examining the question: Why do some people live long and thrive? Here’s the science that confirms what everybody suspected, and I won’t tell you the answer but I think you can guess.

Vaillant is actually a pretty good writer too —which maybe isn’t surprising; literary chops are bred in the bone. George’s son, John Vaillant, is the mightly talented author of The Golden Spruce, among other books.

Adaptation to Life

By George E. Vaillant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adaptation to Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1939 and 1942, one of America's leading universities recruited 268 of its healthiest and most promising undergraduates to participate in a revolutionary new study of the human life cycle. The originators of the program, which came to be known as the Grant Study, felt that medical research was too heavily weighted in the direction of disease, and their intent was to chart the ways in which a group of promising individuals coped with their lives over the course of many years.

Nearly forty years later, George E. Vaillant, director of the Study, took the measure of the Grant Study…


Who am I?

Writing the Olga book was a privilege in several senses. I got to hang out for five years with a remarkable human who kicked my butt (in the nicest possible way) and pulled me out of a midlife funk with the example of her indomitable spirit. Just as significantly, I got to delve deeply into the question of What makes some people almost … bulletproof? To what degree is healthy aging, well … a choice? This is really all a writer can ask for: to stumble on a subject that will never exhaust itself, that will just continue to open new angles. One way or another, I keep writing about Olga, and I suspect I always will.


I wrote...

What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives

By Bruce Grierson,

Book cover of What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives

What is my book about?

Olga Kotelko is not your average ninety-four-year-old. She not only looks and acts like a much younger woman, but she also holds over twenty-three world records in track and field.

Convinced that this remarkable woman could help unlock many of the mysteries of aging, Grierson set out to uncover what it is that's driving Olga. He considers every piece of the puzzle, from her diet and sleep habits to how she scores on various personality traits, from what she does in her spare time to her family history. What emerges is not only a tremendously uplifting personal story but a look at the extent to which our health and longevity are determined by the DNA we inherit at birth, and the extent to which we can shape that inheritance. It examines the sum of our genes, opportunities, and choices, and the factors that forge the course of any life, especially during our golden years.

The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide

By Abbe Greenberg, Maggie Sarachek,

Book cover of The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide: How You Can Become More Hopeful, Connected, and Happy

Could there have been a more natural and intuitive connection than mine with the Anxiety Sisters? I don't think so. Abbe Greenberg and Maggie Sarachek have built an online community of 200K people and host a popular podcast called The Spin Cycle. In their work, they blend their personal experience with their professional training as counselors, mental health advocates, researchers, and educators. Their book, The Anxiety Sisters’ Survival Guide: How You Can Become More Hopeful, Connected, and Happy is terrific. The down-to-earth, actionable advice that Abbe and Maggie share is dead on. Great work, sisters!

The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide

By Abbe Greenberg, Maggie Sarachek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Does merely saying the word 'anxiety' make you anxious? [sorry]
* Is your head stuck in a constant spin cycle?
* Do you feel like your anxiety runs the show? [sorry, again]

Got anxiety? Join the club. More specifically, join the Anxiety Sisterhood. Abs and Mags, aka the Anxiety Sisters, have spent the past thirty years figuring out how to outsmart their anxiety-ridden brains, and the last five years sharing what they've learned with a growing online community of like-minded sufferers who are looking for ways to cope better every day.

Whether you're looking to better understand and manage…


Who am I?

When I first started building this site, and the Beautiful Voyager community, I had just turned 40 years old. I’d been fighting migraines all of my life and had tried every medication and natural approach possible. I'd given up hope for improvement when my neurologist surprised me by saying: You have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I searched but found nothing online that spoke to my physical experience of stress, overthinking, and anxiety. I decided that had to change, and that was when Beautiful Voyager was born. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for, or even just feel less alone on the journey. The first Beautiful Voyager book, Get Out of My Head, was released in May 2020.


I wrote...

Book cover of Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World

What is my book about?

Are you an overthinker? You’re not alone! This beautifully illustrated guide offers a joyful, manageable way to deal with anxiety while quieting your stressful thoughts through easy exercises, bite-sized takeaways, and calming visuals. What if you learned to ride the wave of anxiety instead of getting lost in it? Get Out of My Head is here to help, providing guidance and inspiration for overthinkers, people-pleasers, and perfectionists. Written by Meredith Arthur, founder of Beautiful Voyager, featuring art by Leah Rosenberg, former Director of the Color Factory in New York, Get Out of My Head offers soothing techniques for understanding anxiety and moving through the traps of overthinking.

Book cover of Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

Confession: as of this writing I am only ⅓ of the way through this book, but I like it immensely and find it immensely soothing and validating. A cursory search on Dr. Julie Smith, a therapist, tells me that she is “TikTok famous” and remains very popular on social media. This is not how I came across her work, or this book. This book is an excellent primer for how to survive being human in this world, with vital inside information from decades of therapeutic practice on how to face daily challenges and become attuned to our mental health. Filled with insights, strategies, and explanations that are both practice and relatable, this is a great book to gift to people of all ages.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

By Julie Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Sound wisdom, easy to gulp down. I'm sure this book is already helping lots of people. Great work, Dr Julie' MATT HAIG, bestselling author of REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

'Brilliant. Bite-size. Easy to understand. Easy to flick through. It's like a reference to how you feel' Phillip Schofield on ITV's THIS MORNING

THE NO. 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Julie Smith is the psychology teacher you wish you'd had at school' EVENING STANDARD
'This book is a goldmine. I truly treat it like a handbook now' STYLIST
'It's real, it's authentic . . . Very practical and very, very helpful' LORRAINE…


Who am I?

I’m the author of The Long Haul and Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life and eleven books for children written under the pseudonyms AJ Stern and Fiona Rosenbloom. I publish a newsletter called “How to Live” where I simplify complex theories from psychology and offer ideas for their practical applications. My work explores the complexities of emotion, addiction, neglect, and issues surrounding mental health. I am prone to write from inside the body, to capture the visceral resonance of the somatic experience and consciousness.

I wrote...

Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life

By Amanda Stern,

Book cover of Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life

What is my book about?

I grew up with an undiagnosed panic disorder whose terrifying internal experience created chronic fear that dictated how I could and could not live my life. Knowing something was “wrong” with me, without knowing its name shaped the course of my entire life. As a writer, I am dedicated to exploring hard to articulate emotions. Because emotions are so neglected in our society, kids, like the child I was, will continue to suffer in silence. I write for the parents of those kids, and for those, like me, who grew up pummeled by a constant barbaric sense of terror.

My goal with Little Panic was to write an autobiography of an emotion. I hope I succeeded.

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