“The DNA Detectives – The Stone Age Mystery” – about this book
“The DNA Detectives – The Stone Age Mystery”
This is the third book in the “DNA Detectives” series. The story is based on a famous five style adventure where the characters use DNA to solve a crime. In addition to the exciting storyline readers will learn about DNA, cells, forensic science, archaeology and the Stone Age.
The adventure starts when Annabelle and Harry decide to change their library books in the school library. There is a loud noise and the ground in the corridor begins to shake. It feels like the school is falling down. When the dust settles the children discover the hall has collapsed and they discover a cave underneath their school. The children are thrilled to think they are the first people to ever step foot in the cave. But then the most incredible discovery leads them to believe this might not be the case! And so, their adventure begins!
Join the children on another adventure for “the DNA Detectives” as they meet archaeologists and scientists who help them unravel the mysteries of the Stone Age. Discover about cave paintings, extracting DNA from ancient bones, finding out how tartar from ancient teeth can tell us what someone looked like, what they ate and even what made them poorly! Of course, no adventure would be complete without a modern-day crime to solve which once again sees them becoming forensic scientists. Can you help them solve the Stone Age mystery?
I am delighted that this book has been reviewed and awarded a “Green tick” from the Association for Science Education. This is what they had to say;
“This book, suitable for pupils aged 7-14 years, has elements of both an adventure story and a crime novel. Readers see the whole forensic process in action: looking for evidence, conducting analyses and reaching conclusions”.
“There are online educational materials to support the other two books in the series, and it is hoped that Amanda will create some resources to support this book too. If you can get her into your school for a workshop, do!
Her workshops are a masterclass in how to make the most complex of subjects accessible to all. That is what I admire about this book – DNA is our shared coding that makes us all human and, at the same time, so beautifully unique. Amanda has chosen to write books to highlight the wonder of our DNA and to show how it is the key to understanding not only our present, but our past as well”.
“The DNA Detectives series of books are fictional stories with a strong scientific context running throughout. Whilst there is a lot of technical language, it is always explained and so the books are a relatively easy read, with short chapters. The book would be a good addition to any school library for children to read independently, or supported in small groups. Who knows, your children may be inspired to become DNA Detectives themselves”.
Writing the book
“The DNA Detectives – The Stone Age Mystery” is the third book I have written. Just like my other books the story has been in my head for a very long time! I wanted to write something for children that would bring the subject of the Stone Age alive and up to date in terms of the science being used to investigate it.
If I could go back in time to when I was working in the laboratory this is the area of genetics and science I would love to have worked on. I find it so incredible that you can get DNA from someone who is over 10,000 years old! Modern science is making huge headway in enabling us find out what it was really like to live in this period of time. My degree was in Pathobiology, the biology of disease and I have always been interested in this field. Being able to use DNA from someone’s teeth and look at their bones to determine what made them ill is incredible. Something that I find fascinating!
When I was researching this book, I was very lucky to get help from my neighbours who are both archaeologists and experts in the Stone Age. I remember my first conversation with them after they agreed to help me. I said “the thing is about the Stone Age is it’s a bit dull. All that was left behind were stones. I want to find a way to make that exciting!”. They looked at me in utter horror. Now after completing my research I can understand why. It is truly the most fascinating and interesting period of time. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is probably my favourite period of time. These people were incredibly intelligent and resourceful. I doubt if placed in a similar situation that we would survive.
I also spent time at Creswell Craggs to complete my research. When I was writing about the caves in the story, I was visualising the caves at Creswell. It was wonderful to see the cave art so close up. The caves are located around a lake. It is the caves on the left of the lake where the cave art has been discovered and there is evidence of people living in the caves on the right of the lake. You could really get an idea of what it must have been like to live in the cave and hunt the animals living in that area. After my visit my mind was going into overdrive with how to describe the caves in my story!
HOW THIS BOOK LINKS WITH THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM
Web links for “The DNA Detectives – The Stone Age Mystery”
I have compiled some great web links to help you learn more about DNA, cells, forensic science, archaeology and the Stone Age.
I have divided the web links into the chapters from the book so you can learn about the different subjects as you read the book. There are some great video clips to watch, some fantastic online games to play where you get to be an archaeologist and analyse the artefacts you collect, you can make your own cave art or Stone Age tools, go to a virtual online laboratory and extract DNA, find out how to make a DNA helix from sweets or even try and extract some DNA from fruit at home!