Looking for a new twist on STEM books? Today we have the first book of a graphic novel series, Squish #1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm. Fictional graphic novels are not typical STEM fare, but this series might inspire some readers who aren’t normally attracted to nonfiction to learn more about science, particularly microbiology.
The Holm siblings already have successful graphic novels in the pink-covered Babymouse series. In the book Babymouse: Mad Scientist, they introduce Squish the amoeba and then “bud” him off into his own series.
Although it contains some scientific vocabulary and concepts, the book has characters and a plot typical to fiction. Squish is an amoeba with the usual middle school problems, like a friend who tricks him out of his lunch money and a bully who wants to copy his science tests. Usual, except the school bully doesn’t just push students around, but actually engulfs and eats them! Can Squish save his friends? Can he keep himself out of trouble?
Throughout the book are green arrows with words that point out facts like amoebas can be different shapes, as well as serving up humorous asides like, “Twinkies make life worth living.” Characters include not only organisms from the Kingdom Protista (amoebas and a paramecium), but also small animals typically found in freshwater ponds, such as rotifers and planaria. Later books have water fleas, leeches, a hydra, and more as characters.
An amoeba (Illustration released to public domain by Pearson Scott Foresman)
Squish #1: Super Amoeba is a fun graphic novel with many different elements. Each young reader is likely to take something different away from reading it. If just a few take away an interest in finding out more about microorganisms, then it deserves a place in the STEM library.
Want to find out more about the science found in Squish? Visit Growing with Science for more details and a few suggestions for activities.
Looking to pair Squish with a nonfiction title? Interestingly, there aren’t a lot of books about freshwater microorganisms for kids, but Protozoans, Algae & Other Protists (Kingdom Classifications) by Steve Parker might be a good reference for this topic.
What others are sharing today (linked titles go to the review):
Over at Archimedes Notebook Sue has: Things That Float and Things That Don’t by David Adler
At Sally’s Bookshelf, she has Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre.
Are you sharing a review of a STEM book on your blog? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
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