Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas
  • Book
  • 32 pages
  • Level: all audiences

This colorful book by Cheryl Bardoe was produced in partnership with the Field Museum in Chicago. It tells about the life of Gregor Mendel and about his work. The book provides a fairly detailed discussion of both his life as a monk and of his experiments, even though it is only 32 pages long and is a “picture book” written to be accessible to grade school students. (A Faith and Science entry for a related book on Mendel written for a more advanced audience is also available—click here).

Click here to download a brief excerpt.

From the publisher, Abrams Books:

The only picture book available about the father of genetics and his pea plants!

How do mothers and fathers—whether they are apple trees, sheep, or humans—pass down traits to their children? This question fascinated Gregor Mendel throughout his life. Regarded as the world’s first geneticist, Mendel overcame poverty and obscurity to discover one of the fundamental aspects of genetic science: animals, plants, and people all inherit and pass down traits through the same process, following the same rules.

Living the slow-paced, contemplative life of a friar, Gregor Mendel was able to conceive and put into practice his great experiment: growing multiple generations of peas. From observing yellow peas, green peas, smooth peas, and wrinkled peas, Mendel crafted his theory of heredity—years before scientists had any notion of genes.

Children will be inspired by Gregor’s neverending search for knowledge, and his famous experiments are easy to understand as an introduction to genetics.

F&P level: Q [Lexile level: AD1030L (click here)]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheryl Bardoe is Senior Project Manager of Exhibitions at the Field Museum of Chicago. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Jos. A. Smith s the well-known illustrator of numerous books for children. He is a professor of fine arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where he has taught drawing, painting, and figure sculpture. Smith has illustrated for a number of magazines, including Time and Newsweek. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. He lives near Westchester, New York.


Gregor Mendel explains to children the theory of heredity in simple-to-understand language and examples. Regarded as the world’s first geneticist, Gregor Mendel discovered one of the fundamental aspects of genetic science: animals, plants, and people all inherit and pass down traits through the same process. Living the slow-paced, contemplative life of a friar, Gregor Mendel was able to conceive and put into practice his great experiment—observing yellow peas, green peas, smooth peas, and wrinkled peas to craft his theory—years before scientists had any notion of genes. Includes an author’s note and bibliography.

Awards for Gregor Mendel
Orbis Pictus Honor Book
ALA-ALSC Notable Book
IRA Notable Book
AAAS/Subaru SB&F Excellence in Science Book Finalist