One of the books we enjoyed reading for science this year was A Piece of the Mountain: The Story of Blaise Pascal by Joyce McPherson.
Living books that cover the STEM disciplines are sometimes more challenging to find, but I think they are especially beneficial to younger children, as they have the ability to whet their appetites for concepts that will be studied more deeply in higher grades.
Learning about the lives, characters, and experiences of men and women who made incredible discoveries about how God’s world works, aides in “the science of relations,” the definition Charlotte Mason gave to education.
When a child begins studying physics, and stumbles across Pascal’s Principle while learning about pressure and force, their memory may be jogged back to that book they enjoyed about a boy with a brilliant mind named Blaise, who was taught at home by his loving father during the 1600s, and who ultimately found truth in God alone. He was both a scientist and an apologist, defending the Scriptures with science, and making it his goal to demonstrate how consistent and trustworthy the Word of God is.
Today, the Christian faith of history’s greatest scientists and mathematicians is often downplayed or neglected altogether in secular textbooks, but in A Piece of the Mountain, Joyce McPherson does a wonderful job of presenting his devotion to Christ as the most important factor in all of the contributions he made to science, math, literature, and even government. This has brought McPherson’s book a lot of negative reviews from people who want to read about Pascal’s scientific discoveries in separation from his faith, but the fact that they are intricately connected is exactly why I’m recommending it.
The author makes great use of dialogue between Blaise, his father, and two sisters in this book, which holds the attention of younger children wonderfully. I also love the fact that most of Blaise’s quotations are direct translations from his original French writings.
I’d highly recommend A Piece Of The Mountain as a family read aloud, or for children who are aged 11 and up.