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Science, Comics, and Adventure!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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When I was a science teacher, I was always on the lookout for narrative stories that revolve around science. Our brains are wired to learn from stories, after all, so I was always astounded by the scarcity of good science-y stories. I used to go to bookstores and walk up and down the aisles of the children’s section looking for the science bookshelf. There, I’d find really dull, dumbed down books about how the weather works and on the next shelf, a huge picture book about animals or space that is mostly blown up photos with tiny captions, and exceedingly little to link all these facts and concepts together.

I even had a wild hair to write my own science narrative stories, but there is one thing I’m not good at writing, and that’s fiction. It all ends up sounding like this:

“How is your day going?” the bacterium inquired.

“Oh, it’s fine,” said the amoeba. “Thanks for asking. I’m going to eat you now.”

The end.

Yeah, it’s awful.  So I was very glad when I heard about the Survive! Inside the Human Body series by Gomdori Co. and Hyun-dong Han.

It’s an graphic novel-style adventure story that takes place inside the human body, for ages 8 and over. I’m significantly older than 8 (as you might have guessed), and I got a big kick out of it. The basic premise reminds me of Innerspace, which I haven’t seen in years, but also has a tiny ship that travels through the human body, in this instance Martin Short’s… for reasons I can’t remember.

The first volume covers the digestive system, and the sequels go on to cover the circulatory and nervous systems.

Scientific information embedded in a deeply engaging story with fun characters and beautiful artwork, all wrapped together with silliness and humor, these books are perfect for a budding scientist who loves comics, or an adult who wants a fun read on the metro ride to work. You can buy it from No Starch Press and can find it on amazon.

Survive Inside the Human Body, Vol 1: the Digestive System (c) No Starch Press, art by Hyun-dong Han

Survive Inside the Human Body, Vol 2: the Circulatory System (c) No Starch Press, art by Hyun-dong Han

Survive Inside the Human Body, Vol 3: the Nervous System (c) No Starch Press, art by Hyun-dong Han

Katie McKissick About the Author: Katie McKissick is a former high school biology teacher turned science writer and cartoonist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her first book is called What’s in Your Genes? and will be in bookstores December 2013. Her work can be found at www.beatricebiologist.com. Follow on Twitter @beatricebiology.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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