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.

Ellen Ochoa and Women in Space

This is a busy time of year. In addition to World Space Week, it’s also National Hispanic Heritage Month. To celebrate both, let’s take a look at Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut by Maritza Romero.

Starting out life as one of five sisters and daughter of a single parent, Ellen Ochoa could have gone in many directions. She chose to go to school and study hard. She majored in electrical engineering  at Stanford University, where she earned her doctorate by studying optical systems. After becoming a pioneer in the field and inventing optical devices used in recognizing images, she went to work for NASA. She became the first female Hispanic astronaut in July 1991. Participating in four space flights, Dr. Ochoa was in space over 978 hours. She currently serves as Deputy Director at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. What an inspiring woman!

If you are interested in learning more, try Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut or one of the other age-appropriate biographies of Ellen Ochoa:

For other inspiring stories of women astronauts to celebrate World Space Week, be sure to check:

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone
Note: I have to admit I didn’t care for this one on my first reading, somewhat because there are so many women to keep track of. I liked it much better with a second reading.

Roberta Bondar: Canada’s First Woman in Space
by Judy Wearing is about another inspiring woman who worked hard and sacrificed to become an astronaut.

For more information about Hispanic culture and Latino history, I recommend Valerie Petrillo’s A Kid’s Guide to Latino History:  More than 50 Activities.

Be sure to visit National Hispanic Heritage Month Roundup at Books Together Blog.

Books to Celebrate World Space Week

Did you know that it is World Space Week, starting October 4, 2011?

Why October 4? That’s the day Sputnik was launched into space. Participants throughout the world attend related events and learn more about our exploration of space. I’ve put together a list of books that would be perfect to use to excite future astronauts about space.

Books to celebrate World Space Week (links go to earlier full reviews):

planet hunter Have you ever wanted to visit the laboratory of a ground-breaking research scientist? Now you can, because Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein will allow you to feel like you are standing right next to Dr. Geoff Marcy in his quest to find extrasolar planets (planets that revolve around stars other than our sun).
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.
Spacecraft (Machines Close-Up) by Daniel Gilpin and illustrated by  Alex Pang

Full color cut-away illustrations show the ins and outs of space vehicles past, present and future.

Is There Life on Other Planets?: And Other Questions about Space by Gregory L. Vogt and illustrated by Colin W. Thompson

Another in the Is That a Fact? series, this one investigates some silly myths as well as serious, such as, “Is the moon made of green cheese? and “Do astronauts wear diapers?”

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.
Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw by Elaine Scott

A history of the Hubble Telescope and overview of how the images it has captured have added to the field of astronomy.

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar

Explains the most recent view (2011) of the planets in our solar system, with eight planets in the classical sense and five dwarf planets.

Tomorrow I’m going to feature books about women that went into space (and a few more that wanted to go).

Three more books about galaxies

Do you have any suggestions for this list?

Growing with Science has more about World Space Week.

Is There Life on Other Planets?: And Other Questions about Space by Gregory L. Vogt and illustrated by Colin W. Thompson

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding: 40 pages
Publisher: Lerner Publications (March 2010)
ISBN-10: 0822590824
ISBN-13: 978-0822590828

Spacecraft (Machines Close-Up) by Daniel Gilpin and illustrated by  Alex Pang

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Benchmark Books; 1 edition (September 2010)
ISBN-10: 1608701123
ISBN-13: 978-1608701124


Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by the new Nonfiction Monday blog to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s post is at 100 Scope Notes.