May 21, 1799 was the birth date of Mary Anning, daughter of a sea-coast carpenter who became famous for discovering (and studying) Jurassic fossils in the cliffs around her home town of Lyme Regis, England.
Factual and fictional accounts of Anning's life and work have been targeted to all ages of readers, and are readily found in libraries. What if you gathered a selection of books--one or more suitable for each member of the family--and planned a family activity evening around Mary Anning and her fossils?
Family Book Club meetings can include read-alouds, discussions, research, learning to sing or play appropriate music, related craft activities--even a special meal or snack (to celebrate Mary Anning, I suggest tea and rock buns).
Here's a read-aloud version of her adventures that will delight the youngest dinosaur fans:
Stone Girl Bone Girl,
The Story of Mary Anning
Laurence Anholt (Illustrations by Sheila Moxley)
Or choose these slightly more challenging picture books:
The Fossil Girl
Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2007
Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon
Jeannine Atkins (Illustrations by Michael Dooling)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999
Questions are sure to come up! You'll find answers in this bio for adults:
(Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters)
The History Press, 2006
Or you and your middle-grade children may prefer to read and discuss this "lighter" bio:
Curious Bones: Mary Anning and the Birth of Paleontology
Thomas W. Goodhue
Morgan Reynolds, 2002
Meanwhile, parents can enjoy this version of Mary Anning's adventures, as imagined by the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring:
Remarkable Creatures (A Novel)
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