STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


A Seed is the Start

A Seed is the Start, by Melissa Stewart

32 pages; ages 6-9. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2018

A seed is the start of a new plant life. Bury it in the soil and watch it grow, grow, grow.

But plants need room to grow. Good thing seeds have many ways of traveling to new places. In the pages of this book, Melissa Stewart explores the different ways seeds get from one place to another. Some fly, some float. Some travel inside animals, some hitch a ride on the outside. In clear, not-too-complex language, and with an abundance of photographs, she brings readers into the world of seeds.

What I like about this book: I like how each spread celebrates a method of seed travel. I love the photos. And I really like the front-matter: the first page lists six “words to know” that will help readers gain more from the book. Plus there’s an index of plants at the back – so kids who want to know about a particular plant can go directly to that page. And there’s a list of books and websites for further information.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for more books that celebrate spring – plus lots of hands-on activities.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.

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Hello Hello

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Hello Hello
by Brendan Wenzel (Author / Illustrator)

Booktalk: Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colors and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world–and ultimately paints a story of connection.

The third Friday in May is National Endangered Species Day.

Snippet:

hellohello_in1
hellohello_in2
hellohello_in3

See the book trailer.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York

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The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York

by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Sara DuVall
Abrams Comic Arts, 2018

If you’ve never watched the Ken Burns documentary, “Brooklyn Bridge,” you may not fully grasp the truly marvel qualities of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Besides being an engineering masterpiece, it is an architectural beauty, and the result of a heroic and lengthy commitment by the Roebling family and countless workers.  The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York is the true story in graphic format of the epic task of building the bridge.

The book begins in 1852, when the bridge was just a dream in the mind of John Augustus Roebling and his son Washington.  Washington Roebling’s father was a non-nonsense man, who doled out praise sparingly, but had great faith in his son. In 1862, after designing the bridge and receiving approval for its construction, John Augustus Roebling died and the young Washington Roebling became the chief engineer—a job that he eventually shared with his wife, Emily, after he contracted what was then an unknown disease.

Peter J. Tomasi tells this heroic story with little need for explanatory text, employing artistic license to recreate dialogue that rings true and gives a real feel for the political and personal dramas that unfolded throughout the fourteen years that passed during the bridge’s construction.  This is not an entirely personal story however, Tomasi includes ample description of the actual engineering of the bridge—a process with many failures and tragedies on the road to eventual success.

This is Sara DuVall’s first graphic novel and the style is simple and appealing.  The colors are bright and engaging, but background details are minimal, allowing the reader to focus on the expressions, the emotions, and the individual episodes that tie this epic story together.

The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York is well researched and accurately captures in graphic format this engineering marvel and the personal triumphs and sorrows associated with it.

See a slide show of images from The Bridge at Abrams Books.

Enjoy these actual photos from the New York Public Library’s digital collection.

“View of Manhattan waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge under construction; temporary footbridge “
The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
1877

Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy,
The New York Public Library. “View of Manhattan waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge under construction; temporary footbridge “
New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Accessed May 18, 2018.
http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/75c1c390-9f35-0132-e3a4-58d385a7b928

 

View of Manhattan from Brooklyn; men working on bridge cables; Fulton ferry boat “Hamilton”; sailboats, 1885

Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History,
Local History and Genealogy,
The New York Public Library. “View of Manhattan from Brooklyn; men
working on bridge cables; Fulton ferry boat “Hamilton”; sailboats”
New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Accessed May 18, 2018.

http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/7c0ce5f0-9dc2-0132-d343-58d385a7bbd0

“Pedestrians on the Promenade (copy of #23:7)”
The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
1895.

Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy,
The New York Public Library. “Pedestrians on the Promenade (copy of #23:7)”
New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Accessed May 18, 2018.
http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/bfc671e0-9f3a-0132-96cc-58d385a7bbd0

Note: My copy of The Bridge was provided by the publisher.

 

See all my reviews at Shelf-employed.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)


Boy Bites Bug

Boy Bites Bug, By Rebecca Petruck

272 pages; ages 8 and up. Amulet Books, 2018

I love finding STEM-related fiction – especially when it involves insects. So I could not wait to read Rebecca Petruck’s newest book! Boy Bites Bug is about middle school and growing up, discovering who you are who your friends are. It’s also about wrestling, racism, and respect. And, of course, bugs – some swallowed by accident, some on purpose.

This was the winter of the stinkbug invasion in our house, so I particularly loved the opening lines of the book: The intrusion of stinkbugs clumped on the ceiling in a back corner of the library, a splotch like crusty dried mud.

Of course one of those bugs ends up in Will’s mouth! But instead of becoming an outcast, he becomes “bug boy”, and kids good-naturedly tease him by making up names for lunch items in the school cafeteria: French flies; maggot-aroni and fleas.

Turns out that people all around the world eat bugs as part of their meals. They’re a great source of protein. So Will decides to do a class project on eating insects, and enlists the aid of Eloy Herrera. Eloy agrees, in exchange for Will’s help with wrestling. As their friendship grows, Will’s friendship with Darryl cools. Darryl had called Eloy a racial slur, and seems jealous of the time Will spends with his new friend. Meanwhile there’s wrestling practices and… where did that box of live crickets come from?

I love that this book has back matter: a guide to eating bugs, and a few recipes. Author Rebecca Petruck even rustled up some grubs to taste test: waxworms in cookies, crickets in tacos, and earthworm jerky.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for an interview with Rebecca and more.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Drones

Drones
by Lauren Newman (Author)

Booktalk: From the small drones people fly for fun to powerful military aircraft, our skies are filled with more drones than ever before.

Snippet: Drones are also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They are aircraft that do not have a pilot or passengers.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Flying Deep

Flying Deep

by Michelle Cusolito; illustrated by Nicole Wong

32 pages; ages 5-9. Charlesbridge, 2018

Imagine you’re the pilot of Alvin, a deep-sea submersible barely big enough for three.

This book takes you on an adventure down, down, down to investigate a site where underwater volcanoes erupted. Two miles below the surface of the ocean, scientist are studying the living things taking hold near the hydrothermal vents. Getting there is a bit tricky, because you could get trapped in nets – and you only have three days of air – and who would come and rescue you?

What I like love about this book: The adventure of a day in Alvin! The cool creatures that scientists discover in the deep, deep sea! There are ghost crabs, six-foot tall tube worms, and dinner plate-sized clams. I love the language Michelle Cusolito uses to describe fish – an elusive eelpout – and the technology – they toggle the slurp gun into position. Slurp Gun! How can you not love science when you’ve got a slurp gun?

And of course, the back matter – and there is plenty for everyone. Michelle writes about underwater food webs at hydrothermal vents. Too deep for sunlight and photosynthesis, the creatures of the deep depend on bacteria and microbes to convert chemicals vented from inside the earth into food. Those microorganisms are in turn eaten by bigger animals. She also writes about her sources: Don Collasius, a former Alvin pilot, and Bruce Strickrott, a current Alvin pilot. Illustrator Nicole Wong writes about her research to get the illustrations correct – from the technology to how it moves underwater. There are Alvin Facts, a glossary, and a guide to the organisms Alvin scientists have found, along with sources for further exploration.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for an interview with Michelle and Beyond the Book activities.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Astronaut-Aquanaut

We have a space theme going on here at STEM Friday today. At Growing with Science blog we are featuring Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact (National Geographic Kids) by Jennifer Swanson.

At first the link between exploring the oceans and exploring space might not seem obvious, but the pioneering men and women who add to our understanding of both regions face similar challenges. Lack of oxygen, cold, darkness, and pressure extremes are just some of the trials they have to overcome.

In addition to loads of information about what exploring space and the deep oceans is all about, the book also explains some of the key science concepts.

Chapter 3 compares living inside a space habitat like the International Space Station (ISS) and and underwater habitat. Readers learn the two intersect because astronauts get ready for space by training underwater at Aquarius, an underwater research center off the coast of Florida.

Chapter 4 asks and attempts to answer why do humans explore. Why would someone want to become an astronaut or aquanaut? The final chapter wraps up with what some of the discoveries have been in these two areas.

Scattered throughout the book are three hands-on activities:

  • Sink or Float
  • Docking the ISS
  • Design Your Own Space Suit

The back matter includes brief bios of ten astronauts and aquanauts, including their training and current positions, which is a great resource for children who might be interested in similar careers.

Astronaut-Aquanaut is a must have for future explorers. It also shows where a career in STEM might lead. Explore a copy today!

If you’d like to see the full review and some activity suggestions, be sure to visit Growing with Science.

There’s also more about the book and an interview with the author at Nonfiction Monday blog.