#Nonfiction Monday and #NFFEST: The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon

Today we have a nonfiction picture book biography that is out of this world, The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by  Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Rubin.

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the third and fourth people to walk on the moon, but they aren’t the household names their predecessors Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are. This picture book helps correct that omission and bring Alan Bean’s story to the next generation of readers.

Dean Robbins doesn’t present Alan Bean’s life in strict chronological order. Instead he captures the reader’s imagination with the tension of the spacecraft launching, then interrupts the flight and goes back in time to Alan’s childhood interest in model airplanes, and later in painting as a hobby.  The back story helps readers understand how Bean began painting again after he retired and why he considered himself to be an artist.

As to be expected, the illustrations are amazing. They combine the look of Alan Bean’s art with Sean Rubin’s skillful images. The highlight is a wordless two-page spread of the surface of the moon with the shadows of the two astronauts in the foreground and the blue, spherical Earth in the distance. Wow!

Check out the trailer to see what I mean:


Isn’t it cool that Dean Robbins knew and worked with Alan Bean, who helped to to create the book? That personal knowledge and access adds such depth.

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon will thrill budding astronauts and artists alike. Be inspired by a copy today!

Related activities:

Check out the activity suggestions on Dean Robbins website (scroll to half way down the page).

 

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Orchard Books (May 28, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1338259539
ISBN-13: 978-1338259537

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local 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 no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

For an assignment  at NF Fest

Also part of reading for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020

As well as Nonfiction Monday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Nonfiction Monday #Kidlit Always Looking Up by Laura Gehl

Movies, plays, and books about pioneering women in STEM are now receiving main stream attention. Take, for example, Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson, and Dorthy Vaghan who stole the show in the film,  Hidden Figures. Recently our local theater featured the play Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson based on the life of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. It is an exciting trend.

In the same vein, today we’re highlighting the new children’s book, Always Looking Up: Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer  by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Louise Pigott and  Alex Oxton.

 

Known affectionately as the mother of the Hubble Telescope, Nancy Grace Roman was passionate about studying space from an early age. However, she had problems with her vision and and gender stereotypes got in the way of  her goal. She learned how to work hard and be persistent to overcome the obstacles, then used those skills to drive the Hubble telescope project to success.

Author Laura Gehl has the science background — with a PhD in Neuroscience — but she also totally understands young readers. The text is lively and includes the right amount of detail.  For example, when the Hubble Telescope began sending back data from space, expectations were high.

“But the first images were blurry. And hopes plummeted like a falling meteorite.”

She uses a space-related term to playfully invoke the emotions of the scientists during this crisis.

Louise Pigott and Alex Oxton express Nancy Grace’s passion for space with imaginative illustrations, particularly the deep blue and black panoramas of the night skies. The art also evokes the loneliness and isolation she must have felt at times.

The back matter is also well done. It includes an “Author’s Note” and an extensive “Timeline” of Nancy Grace Roman’s life from 1925 to her death in 2018 at 93 years old.

Always Looking Up is sure to inspire budding astronomers and historians alike. Investigate a copy today!

Activity Suggestions:

– Explore Hubble Telescope Images at NASA

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 4653, a galaxy just above 80 million light-years from Earth.

 

For even more about pioneering women, see our growing lists of children’s book biographies:

  1.  21+ Children’s Books About Women Scientists
  2.  Women Who Count (mathematicians)

at Science Books for Kids.

 

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company; None edition (October 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0807502960
ISBN-13: 978-0807502969

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by Blue Slip Media 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 no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Nonfiction Monday Dream Big and a Reading Challenge

Tomorrow is a big day.

First, all the shortlists for the 2018 Cybils awards will be announced. We’ll have more about that in our next post.

Plus, tomorrow is the beginning of a brand new year. Let’s celebrate with a picture book that has a great New Year’s message, Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination by Dave McGillivray and Nancy Feehrer, and illustrated by Ron Himler.

When I was little, I was little.
Really little.
But my dreams? They were BIG.

So starts Dave McGillivray’s autobiographical picture book.

Dave really wanted to be an athlete, but his small size kept him out of many sports. But he didn’t let that stop him. On his twelfth birthday he started running. By the time he was 17, he decided to give the nearby Boston Marathon a try. The first year wasn’t the success he had hoped, but he has managed to run every Boston Marathon for the last 45 years. The best part is that not only is he a world-renowned athlete, but also he’s the race director.

Included in the back is a timeline of Dave’s first successful race, plus Dream Big activity suggestions (see more about that below).

Dave’s Dream Big attitude is infectious. Check out a copy and get inspired today!

Activity Suggestion:

To accompany the book, Dave McGillivray suggests running 26 miles, reading 26 books, and performing 26 acts of kindness all over over the span of 26 weeks.  There’s a guide to download at his website.

Reading 26 books in a year is a good challenge, too.

Other Reading Challenges:

Reading challenges are great ways to discover new passions, learn new skills, and try new things. Just make sure the goals are enjoyable and reasonable.

Brightly has monthly reading challenges that are a fun mix of activities and suggested books at the bottom. Check out this one for January. (I’m thinking about doing some of these.)

Feed Your Fiction has a monster list of reading challenges, including some kidlit ones (scroll down).

Please let us know about any others.

Age Range: 7 – 12 years
Publisher: Nomad Press (March 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781619306189
ISBN-13: 978-1619306189
ASIN: 1619306182

 

Disclosure: The book was 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 no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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#Nonfiction Monday Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

For Nonfiction Monday we have the picture book biography Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala.

Fascinated by reptiles from an early age, Joan Procter found a mentor in Dr. George Boulenger who was the curator of reptiles and fish at the Natural History Museum. She became his assistant at a young age and took over his position when he retired. She mixed art and science, doing scientific research and creating exhibits at the Museum at the same time. Later, after designing a reptile house at the London Zoo, she formed a special bond with the most unlikely animal, a huge Komodo dragon.

Joan Procter was a person ahead of her time and she probably don’t get the recognition she deserved because of it. From the catchy title on in, Patricia Valdez has done her part to shine the light on this amazing woman whose passion for reptiles helped her forge new paths for women as scientists. Valdez has chosen anecdotes from Procter’s life, like taking a small crocodile to math class, that are sure to engage and thrill young readers.

Like a chameleon, Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor will fit many lessons. Pull out a copy not only for Women’s History Month, but also for a STEM lesson on reptiles or the lives of scientists. It is perfect for history buffs and budding scientists alike.

Activity Suggestions:

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0399557253
ISBN-13: 978-0399557255

Check out our growing list of biographies of women scientists at Science Books for Kids.

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by the publisher for Cybils 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 no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.