Title: The Stuff of Life: A graphic guide to genetics and DNA
Author(s): Mark Schultz
Artist(s): Zander Cannon & Kevin Cannon
Languages: English, Indonesian
Grade Level(s): 7-12
Mature Content?: Sex Science
Taking the perspective of Bloort 183, an asexual, invertebrate alien scientist reporting back to his leader on his studies of Earth, The Stuff of Life takes a detailed look at the science of genetics and DNA. Its five chapters spend the first three explaining how things works based on our current understanding and giving a basic history of genetic knowledge while the last two chapters talk about the application of genetic science to our future and the ways in which genetics and mutation have appeared over the course of history. Though the language is clear and the images help with comprehension, this graphic novel is still a dense and difficult text due to the high level content.
Ideally, The Stuff of Life seems to be a text that should be broken up over a large period of time and paired with other texts, videos and, if possible, experiments. It does a good job of bolding key vocabulary and includes a glossary of terms in the back that’s useful, but it lacks context boxes that give deeper understanding to the language it uses. Compared to a textbook, The Stuff of Life should be easier to digest, but its text-heavy style may still cause issues. In an ELA classroom, the book can be used to exhibit a different type of expository text and provide an entry point into a variety of higher level vocabulary.