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Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith
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Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  4,516 Ratings  ·  1,020 Reviews
Michael L. Printz Honor
YALSA Excellence in Non-Fiction
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults

A thought-provoking biography of the man behind evolutionary theory.

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. One hundred and fifty years later, the theory of evolution continues to cause tension be
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Listening Library (first published December 23rd 2008)
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May 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in religion, science, and Charles Darwin
I picked up this book mostly because Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith is both the National Book Award and Printz runner-up. I don't know if it's because my expectations were too high or because this book is my first YA non-fiction, but I wasn't as wild about it as I expected to be.

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith is basically a story of Charles Darwin's marriage to his religious wife, which, keeping in mind that Darwin was a founder of the theory of natural selection, is
Jun 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to rate this book higher, but the more I considered its qualities, the more I opted for liking rather than really liking. Numerous parts of this book were highly interesting, and some I found quite moving; but two features kept getting in the way of an overall very satisfying reading experience for me. One was Heiligman's seeming desire to work in every tidbit about the Darwins that struck her as interesting, even if that bit of information ended up being obtrusive to the forward moveme ...more
Dov Zeller
This book isn't fantastic, but it's good. An enjoyable description of the Darwins as a family. Though they had their fair share of illness, loss and struggle, they seem an uncommonly happy family. They had an uncanny ability for finding joy in each other and in their work.

It is strange to read about the family and to know there are butlers, maids, servants of various kinds running around, doing a lot of work, and barely acknowledged, though at least some of them named. I guess is is just part o
May 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I had no interest in either Charles Darwin or his wife before reading this book, but Heiligman's biography kept me riveted from start to finish. Darwin took a very pragmatic approach to marriage, compiling a list of pros and cons, before he decided to take the step that would radically change--and improve--his life; and did this before he decided on the woman! Emma Wedgwood was a deeply religious person and Darwin, her cousin, had embarked on a course of biological study that caused him serious ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
Name: Josephine Wold

APA Citation: Heiligman, D. (2009). Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ leap of faith. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Genre: informational

Award: 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Finalist
2010 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
L.A. Time Book Prize Finalist
Winner of the 2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award

Format: Print

Selection process:
1) Starred review by Booklist. Reviews by School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews
2) 2009 National Book Award for Young Peopl
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starting my career as a science teacher, I have always been fascinated with Darwin's work. I did not know much about his personal life, though. I enjoyed learning about the Darwins, their marriage and family life, and the tension they both felt about reconciling their religious beliefs with his scientific discoveries.
Brian Eshleman
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is disconcerting to my unspoken preconceptions that one can be likable, curious, enthusiastic, humble in most respects, and a great husband and parent all while defying the Gospel one knows better than most believers in it. Nevertheless, I should not be surprised at these descriptors of Charles Darwin as he comes across on these pages. Jesus said, did He not that we, evil apart from His intervention, know how to give good gifts to our children?

The author does a good job conveying the combinat
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would read a biography about Charles Darwin (I'm not keen on literary non-fiction), much less cry buckets over one and want to sleep with it under my pillow. The book is "Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith" by Deborah Heiligman. To boot, I now have a raving admiration and crush on Charles Darwin, he who spent his life studying barnacles and finches and chimps in the London zoo (en route to revolutionizing everything we know about the world). But so much more than a bi ...more
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-memoir-bios
While this targets young adults, it's appropriate for any adult who is interested in Darwin and/or his theory of evolution but doesn't want a heavy read. I've read quite a bit about Darwin, but still enjoyed this book (and I learned a little more). Especially well-done is the way Heiligman handled the tension between the Darwins about the connection between science and religion. There are many quotes from CD's books, letters, and notes, all of which contribute to an understanding of the man.

I ma
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-420-ya-lit
"Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith" is the story of the relationship between Charles Darwin and his family, particularly his religiously devout wife Emma. The book's stated purpose is to illustrate the balance the couple achieved between the religious and the scientific. I personally found the intentions of the book to be greater than its ability to deliver. The writing throughout suffers from a misunderstanding of its audience. Though it is aimed at the YA crowd, I think the
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Deborah Heiligman has been writing for children since she worked at Scholastic News soon after college. Since then she has written more than thirty books for children and teens. Her books include picture books, both fiction and nonfiction, and young adult nonfiction and fiction. Some titles: Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, a National Book Award finalist; The Boy Who Loved Math: The I ...more
More about Deborah Heiligman...
“I wish you knew how I value you; and what an inexpressible blessing it is to have one whom one can always trust, one always the same, always ready to give comfort, sympathy and the best advice. God bless you, my dear, you are too good for me.' -Charles to Emma, 1859” 26 likes
“You must remember that you are my prime treasure (and always have been).'
Emma Darwin to husband Charles”
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