Look to the Stars

Several children’s books have been released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 11. Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin and Wendell Minor (Illustrator) is remarkable because it is much more than merely an account by the second human being to touch the surface of the moon. Dr. Aldrin shows us how this incredible accomplishment is part of a long history of discoveries and advancements, and how it may lead to many more new things in the future. In fact, he spends relatively little time on the Apollo 11 mission, given his giant part in it. When he does mention it, he humbly thanks all the nearly 400,000 others that worked to make the project possible. Here is a man who understands his place in history.

Look-to-the-stars

I admit I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Look to the Stars. Even though it was a New York Times bestseller, it hasn’t gotten as much ‘buzz” (sorry) as some of the others on the same topic. Once I had read it, however, I was hooked. Yes, Buzz Aldrin is a “celebrity,” but he has still done a good job keeping the information relevant and exciting to children. The quotes on every page and the phases of the moon over the page numbers let us know that extra thought was put into the details of this book. The illustrations are perfect, such as a view of a future child space tourist looking back over the surface of the moon towards a vibrant blue earth in the distance. The personal touches, such as putting his wedding day on the fascinating time line in the back of the book, made me smile.

Although recommended for ages 4-8, I would say that this picture book would definitely be appealing to older children as well. Pick up a copy and go on your own personal journey into space.

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition, First Printing edition (May 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399247211
ISBN-13: 978-0399247217

nonfictionmonday

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day. This week’s post also happens to be at Picture Book of the Day.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca is an extraordinary book. You can tell the minute you open it and see the front endpapers, which have exquisite, detailed illustrations of Apollo 11. There, laid out simply, is enough information about the flight to be a book in itself. You just have to stop and take it all in. But there’s more. moonshot1

The story itself begins with a well-grounded view of the moon from the earth. Simple, poetic words start you on your journey, a journey like no other. The first trip to the moon.

Following the astronauts as they get ready, you hear the clicks of their equipment as the pieces snap into place. Before long the earth is shaking, as the rocket takes off. The pace, the number of words and the energy all accelerate as the Eagle is about to land. Wow!

After reading all the rave reviews and seeing all the awards (Moonshot has been nominated for the Cybils award in the category of nonfiction picture book), I knew it was an obvious choice for my young nephew who is interested in the solar system and space right now. If you want to see more, take a peek at the trailers below.

For those that want to delve deeper into the flight after reading the book, such as why the astronauts have yellow feet when they are headed to board Apollo 11, take a look at author Brian Floca’s Moonshot Notes webpage. You will be amazed at the lengths he went to to achieve such accuracy and outstanding detail. This book is a superb example of an author fully understanding his topic and being able to finely distill the information to its essence. Magnifique.

Edit: For a fabulous review of the same book, with hands on activities visit Playing by the book.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (April 7, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141695046X
ISBN-13: 978-1416950462
Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.6 x 0.6 inches

To explore more, there are some space-related activities to do with children at Growing With Science Blog this week.

To see for yourself what the fuss is about, take a look at the book trailers:

Trailer 1

Trailer 2

nonfictionmonday

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day. This week’s post is at Rasco From RIF.

Earth Scientists: A Fresh View

If you like biographies, then Earth Scientists: From Mercator to Evans is like a candy bowl. It is full of short, sweet pieces. Some of the candy you will recognize, others will introduce you to new tastes and perhaps entice you to look for more.
earth-scientists

Lynn Van Gorp has chosen ten scientists from a wide variety of backgrounds, six men and four women. She explores the full range of earth science, from geographers and geologists to zoologists. I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see Rachel Carson included. She didn’t fit my narrower view of earth science, but upon further study it does make sense to include biologists and environmental scientists under the umbrella of scientists who study the earth.

The biographies are laid out in chronological order, giving a picture of the science developing over time through the lives of the people who discovered parts of it. Interestingly, the timeline in the back, “Earth Science through Time,” contains the contributions of other earth scientists not covered in the book. These definitely lead children to want to learn more. For example, we will be researching mud volcanoes today.

Earth Scientists: From Mercator to Evans (Mission: Science)
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding: 40 pages
Publisher: Compass Point Books (August 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0756542359
ISBN-13: 978-0756542351
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7 x 0.3 inches

This review copy provided by Capstone Press.

nonfictionmonday

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day. This week’s post is at Practically Paradise.