Rounding Up: Beginning Readers about Space

If you took your child out to watch the Quadrantid meteor shower this morning, you might have sparked an interest in space and astronomy. Here are five beginning readers to help you find out more:

space

Space (Smithsonian Little Explorer) by Martha E. H. Rustad is a quick introduction to topics ranging from the moon and planets to the Big Bang. Colorful photographs and eye-catching illustrations help keep interest and put things in perspective. See how many Earths placed on top of each other would equal the height of the sun. Fascinating!

Reading Level grades 1-2
Publisher: Capstone Press (November 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476535515
ISBN-13: 978-1476535517

comets

Comets (Heinemann First Library: the Night Sky and Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter explains how these bits of dust and ice orbit the sun in our solar system. Starting with ancient records of comets, Hunter describes some of the most famous comets and how they were discovered, He concludes with an activity using balls and a playing field to help children conceptualize the vastness of space.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1432975196
ISBN-13: 978-1432975197

stars and constellations

As you may know, learning the names of the patterns certain stars make in the sky can help you navigate at night or find the best part of the sky to watch for meteors. Stars and Constellations (Heinemann First Library: The Night Sky: And Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter explores what stars are, where they come from, what makes them shine, what people thought of them in the past, and how we study stars today, starting with the nearest star, the Sun. A fun activity is provided along with advice on viewing stars.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143297517X
ISBN-13: 978-1432975173

eclipses

Eclipses (Heinemann First Library: The Night Sky: And Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter (Author) examines both solar and lunar eclipses, as well as eclipses on other planets. The book covers what an eclipse is, what eclipses can look like, how they happen, what people thought of eclipses in the past, and how they are studied today. He concludes with an activity, along with advice on viewing eclipses.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432975153
ISBN-13: 978-1432975159

Northen Lights

Northern Lights (Heinemann First Library) by Nick Hunter covers some of the coolest phenomena we can see without a telescope: the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.  He explains what they are, what they look like, where they can be seen, and how they are caused. Readers also learn about the significance of solar storms, the Southern Lights, what people thought about auroras in the past, and how they are explored today. As with the other books in this series, he concludes with a fun activity.

Reading level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432975161
ISBN-13: 978-1432975166

Be sure to visit Science Books for Kids for a more extensive list of Space and Astronomy books for children.

Disclosures: These books were provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

How the Meteorite Got to the Museum

Given that one of my family’s favorite TV shows used to be Meteorite Men, I knew I had to take a look at How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland. In her usual lightly humorous style Hartland reveals how a piece of the Peekskill meteorite ended up on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

meteorite-to-museumFirst, what exactly is a meteorite? TV watching pays off because I can tell you that a meteorite is a hunk of space rock that actually falls to earth. A meteor, on the other hand, is a hunk of space rock or dust that burns up in the atmosphere before it reaches the surface (also known as a shooting star). Note: the book’s coverage of the term meteor is as Winnie the Pooh might say, “A bit wobbly.”

The meteorite in the book was quite unusual because when it landed, it struck a car in Peekskill, New York.  It turns out that some people at a sporting event saw it and were able to film the meteorite falling to earth. Here is an example of some footage from that night:

This book is the third in a series in which Hartland uses a cumulative story technique borrowed from “The House that Jack Built.” Here she explains where the meteorite came from, who saw it, and what the owner of the car did when she discovered the damage, etc. Read carefully, however, because although the sequence of previous events repeats in each two-page spread as you would expect, the verbs change a bit, adding interest.

How the Meteorite Got to the Museum is one of those special books that can be used in a number of ways. Of course it would be ideal for units on the solar system, as well as earth science. It would also hop right over to language arts for a lesson in story structure or verbs. Don’t forget art, because Hartland’s energetic illustrations will be a source of discussion and inspiration. It also begs to be used to accompany a trip to a museum. Finally, it stands alone as a tale that children are going to find intriguing. Try out a copy today!

Related:

A review and activities related to Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by author and illustrator Jessie Hartland here at Wrapped in Foil

Lively interview showing illustrations coming together at Pen and Ink

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (October 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1609052528
ISBN-13: 978-1609052522

Disclosure: This book was originally obtained for review electronically from Edelweiss, although I finished the review using a copy from my local public library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia

Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia (My First Picture Encyclopedias) by Steve Kortenkamp is a visually-stimulating way to learn about our sun, the planets, moons and even far away galaxies.  show-me-space

The first thing you should be aware of is that both Steve Kortenkamp and his wife are professional astronomers, so you know the facts are accurate and up-to-date. Kortenkamp is also committed to elementary and middle school science and has written over 20 children’s books, so he realizes how to make the facts interesting and accessible to children.

The best way to describe the organization is “photographic encyclopedia.” The book is illustrated with brightly-colored photographs and other images, with the key vocabulary word set off from a block of text that defines and describes it. This encyclopedia isn’t meant to be read cover-to-cover, although children certainly might want to do that. Instead, they can review a few of the over 100 concepts and vocabulary words found in the book, and come back as needed.

Pick up Show Me Space: My First Picture Encyclopedia and before you can say “transneptunian object,” your kids are going to be excited about astronomy.

Reading level:  1-2
Ages 4-8
Series: My First Picture Encyclopedias
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620659220
ISBN-13: 978-1620659229

Disclosures: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

What Do We Know About Stars and Galaxies?

To round out our celebration of World Space Week with books, let’s take a look at some new nonfiction books about galaxies. What Do We Know About Stars & Galaxies? by John Farndon and Milky Way and Other Galaxies (The Solar System and Beyond) by Megan Kopp are two books sure to excite children about exploring space.

Quick, what is dark matter? Did you know that our galaxy may be the victim of a galaxial* car crash in the future, as we come closer and closer to the Andromeda galaxy?  If you studied astronomy before the 1990’s you might not have heard of many of the exciting new advances. Using numerous colorful artist’s renditions and actual photographs, these books take children far into space to reveal what science is discovering about how galaxies form and behave.

In Milky Way and Other Galaxies, Kopp delves more into the technology that is used to study galaxies. She covers the Hubble Telescope, the James Webb Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, which senses infrared radiation, and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, affectionately known as the AMS-2.

What Do We Know About Stars & Galaxies? is available at two different reading levels, level 3 in Express and reading level 6. (Interestingly, Amazon lists the reading level of the Express version as young adult. Hum…) Farndon is an experienced science writer with over 300 books, and his expertise is evident. I definitely learned a few things from this book.

Several of the books I shared earlier in the week were appropriate for future astronauts. These book are must-reads for future astronomers.

The World Space Week website

Growing With Science will has a few related hands-on activities.

*(Caution:  made-up word)

What Do We Know About Stars & Galaxies? Level 6

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Raintree
ISBN-10: 1406226289
ISBN-13: 978-1406226287

What Do We Know About Stars & Galaxies? (Raintree Freestyle) level 3- Express

Reading level: Young Adult (??? – no, level 3)
Library Binding: 48 pages
Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1410941620
ISBN-13: 978-1410941626

Milky Way and Other Galaxies (The Solar System and Beyond)

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429672277
ISBN-13: 978-1429672276

These books were supplied by the publisher for review purposes.

Stem Friday is at Celebrate Science today. Click through for links to more excellent STEM books.

If you would like to participate in STEM Friday in the future, go to the new STEM Friday blog for more information.