STEM Tuesday

STEM Tuesday — Earth Day 50th Anniversary Celebration– Book List

We are avid Earth Day proponents. If you’ve ever heard us speak, you’ve probably heard us say that every day is Earth Day. This month we feature a number of new environmental titles for children, many with activities that young readers can do while sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a March 18, 2020 article  in Scientific American, “a number of researchers today think that it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases like COVID-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise—with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike. In fact, a new discipline, planetary health, is emerging that focuses on the increasingly visible connections among the well-being of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems.”

Now, more than ever, it’s time to show our children how to become better stewards of our planet and appreciate the beauty around us. 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet by Anuradha Rao With stars from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, this book profiles twenty environmental activists of color from around the world. Their individual stories show how they went from kids who cared about the environment to leaders in their communities.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Wildlife Ranger Action Guide: Track, Spot & Provide Healthy Habitat for Creatures Close to Home by Mary Kay Carson Dive into citizen science with a new book from a respected STEM author. This book is all about showing young readers how to make the world a better place for honey bees, monarch butterflies, frogs, lizards, and more. We love books that encourage children to take an active role in protecting wildlife.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Garbage: Follow the Path of Your Trash with Environmental Science Activities for Kids by Donna Latham; illustrated by Tom Casteel When we say, “Throw it away,” where is away? This book helps children track what happens to their garbage. Where does it go? Does it break down? How? Can we decrease the amount we’re throwing away? The authors include a number of hands-on STEM activities to get kids doing…and thinking!

 

  Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems by Rachel Ignotofsky In this illustrated tour of Earth’s ecosystems, Ignotofsky makes conservation science accessible and entertaining using art, maps, and infographics. Young readers will discover how our planet works and how to become better stewards of its life-giving processes.

 

 

  Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org The Organic Artist for Kids: A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Nature by Nick Neddo Did you know the natural world can provide art supplies? This title connects kids to their wilderness roots and reminds them that art used to be made with all-natural materials. Through a number of different art projects, such as creating your own paintbrushes and paint, Neddo shows young readers how to practice awareness and perception, two skills necessary to the creative process. A great antidote to Nature Deficit Disorder!

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman This Green Earth Book Award title offers a wake-up call for middle-grade and young adult readers as they try to make sense of the flood of environmental news. Readers discover there is more at work than merely wanting to help — money, politics, history, and psychology are all connected.

 

 

  Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living An Eco-Friendly Life by Linda Sivertsen Sure, we want to be eco-friendly, but how do we accomplish that? Siversten offers dozens of tips on how to shop, dress, eat, and travel with a lighter carbon footprint.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Human Footprint: Everything you will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime by Ellen Kirk A powerful visual tool from Ellen Kirk and NatGeo that helps kids visualize the extent of their consumption. Did you know we each consume 13,056 pints of milk; take 28,433 showers; and eat 12,888 oranges, 14,518 candy bars and buy $52k,972 of clothes in our lifetime?

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children’s Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green edited by Dan Gutman Dan Gutman assembles essays from a number of noted children’s authors to show young readers what’s happening to our planet and how they can take action to save our world.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Friends of The Earth: A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities by Pat McCarthy A collection of inspiring stories about the women and men who had the foresight to preserve Yosemite, Mt. Ranier, the Grand Canyon, and the Florida Everglades. Through these stories, young readers form a picture of American environmentalism and conservation. McCarthy helps kids act with 21 eco-activities.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids: Her Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Experiments by Rowena Rae Rachel Carson’s life and work were rooted in the study of nature. She’s best remembered for her book, Silent Spring, which exposed the harmful effects of chemical pesticides in the US. In addition to Rachel Carson’s biography, this title includes a timeline, resources, sidebars, and 21 hands-on activities to inspire our next generation of environmental thinkers.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky and Frank Stockton An urgent look at overfishing in our world ocean. A world without fish affects ocean ecosystems, our economy, biology, politics, history, culture, food, and nutrition. Stockton’s graphic images offer a unique representation to the frightening possibility of a world without fish.

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg  Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teen that has rocked the climate change argument. She began with once-a-week protests, which sparked a global movement among millions of tweens and teens. This title features a collection of her inspiring speeches at climate summits around the world. Greta has been nominated for  a Nobel Peace Prize and was Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.  

 

Looking for more Earth Day titles? Check out the annual Green Earth Book Award lists. And don’t forget the following classics that might already be part of your collection:

  • The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest by Lynne Cherry
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org


STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including, THE STORY OF SEEDS, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia.  She strives to inform, inspire, and empower her readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 multi-starred title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. Visit her at www.nancycastaldo.com. 

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that empowers young readers to act on behalf of the environment and their communities. The Sibert Honor author of Sea Otter Heroes, Newman has also received an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award for Eavesdropping on Elephants, a Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy!, and a Eureka! Gold Medal from the California Reading Association for Zoo Scientists to the Rescue. Her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how young readers can use writing to be the voice of change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com. Stay tuned for her upcoming Planet Ocean – fall 2020.

 

STEM Tuesday– Astronauts and Space Travel — Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone

STEM Tuesday–Astronauts and Space Travel– Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone

 

Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview & Book Giveaway, a repeating feature for the last Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math!

Today we’re interviewing Tanya Lee Stone, author of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream It’s a fascinating look at the early days of astronaut training where women were barred from participating despite, in some cases, possessing superior skill levels. The New York Times Book Review said, “Stone’s carefully researched book makes the point that in the 1950s and ’60s there were ’13 women who… had the Right Stuff’ – but were the wrong sex at the wrong time.

 * * *

Christine Taylor-Butler: Tanya, you are one of the most accomplished authors in the field with more than 100 books under your belt. One of your superpowers seems to be telling compelling stories of lesser known historical figures whose contributions have left an indelible mark on society. For example, you wrote about Ilan Ramon, the first and only Israeli astronaut to date. What lead you to his story?

Tanya Lee Stone: Gosh, that book was written in the beginning of my career, before I was choosing my own topics. His story was so compelling that I dove right in.

CTB: In researching Ilan Ramon you came across private research that was conducted decades prior (1961) to determine if women were qualified to go into space. That snippet of information lead to writing Almost Astronauts – which earned you the American Library Association’s  Sibert Award. Do you find that your book research leads you to other serendipitous topics for future books?

Tanya: Yes. It was in doing the research for the Ilan Ramon book that I discovered a snippet of information about Jerrie Cobb–and that led me to write Almost Astronauts. That happens to me a lot. I’ll get lost in the library, immersed in research, and uncover all kinds of fascinating things that plant seeds in my brain for future books. I think I was writing about Elizabeth Blackwell (Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?!) when I fell in love with Ada Lovelace and later wrote Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?!

CTB: You have a journalistic tenacity when it comes to tracking down primary sources, sometimes calling the person or their families to obtain photos, letters and journals. You speak of taking the time to gain their trust. How long does it take you, on average, to do the research for your books?

Tanya: Every book is really unique. It depends on how difficult it can be for me to find everything I need. The more obscure the story, the harder the job. Courage Has No Color took me 10 years to research and write because I was determined to track down as many of the men (or their family members) as I could to find primary sources such as letters, journals, and photographs to allow me to tell that story.

CTB: That’s a huge learning lesson for aspiring writers and students who believe primary resources are books written by other people about a particular subject.

Tanya: The time is well worth it; I consider it an honor and a privilege to shine a light on these stories–especially while some of these extraordinary people are still living!

CTB: What surprised you most in researching Almost Astronauts?

Tanya: What surprised me most is what still surprises me–that these women, who paved the way for every woman in the space industry today, are still not household names. I hope this book gets made into a film someday so it will have a much wider audience. Can’t you just see Reese Witherspoon as Jerrie Cobb?

CTB: Randolph Lovelace, the scientist conducting the tests, noted women were lighter and would take up less space on a mission. He calculated the difference in cost at $1,000 per pound compared to men if women were sent to space. That’s significant savings in 1960’s dollars. And yet NASA didn’t find it a compelling reason to open the program to women?

Tanya: Nope. Shocking, right? And Lovelace thought for sure that was going to be the fact that would make him a hero. So disappointing.

CTB: Nineteen women were tested. Thirteen successfully completed the testing, in many cases performing better than their male counterparts. Despite their proven skills, women were shut out of the astronaut program until 1978. You’re careful to explain the era in which these events occurred. Still, did it surprise that both John Glenn and Scott Carpenter both testified in Congress against having women in the program?

Tanya: Yes, it did surprise me–and it angered me. But what surprised me even more was that Jackie Cochran did the same thing to them! So much for the sisterhood, eh?

CTB: What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

Tanya: I write books about things that I have a strong emotional connection to, or passion for–whether that connection is positive or negative. The kind of thing that makes me say, “Wow, I can’t wait to share that with readers–that’s so cool, or that’s so interesting, or that’s so unjust!” So what I hope is that readers are as intrigued by the stories as I am, because they are the reason I’m sharing the story in the first place.

CTB. What’s next on the horizon for Tanya Lee Stone? Any future projects you want our readers to watch for?
Tanya: Absolutely! My next partnership with the brilliant illustrator Marjorie Priceman will be Remembering Rosalind: Rosalind Franklin and the Structure of DNA. This is our third book together–I’m ecstatic!

CTB: Note to readers. This book is well worth checking out. There’s a shocking revelation at the culmination of the women’s fight to be recognized.  I promised not to reveal it here but it helps explain what made this book so popular with awards committees. The author’s ability to tell the story of breaking barriers in the women’s own words makes for a compelling narrative, as does the discussion of the time period in which the events takes place. Enjoy.

Win a FREE copy of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream.

Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. The randomly-chosen winner will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (within the U.S. only) to receive the book.

Good luck!

 

Tanya Lee StoneTanya Lee Stone is an Assistant Professor at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, teaching in the Professional Writing Program.  She started her career as an editor in New York. After moving to Vermont in the late 90s, she started writing. She is best known for telling true stories of unsung heroines, with themes of empowering girls and women threaded throughout her work, such as Girl RisingAlmost Astronauts, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?! and Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?!  Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Horn BookThe New York TimesSchool Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

Awards and honors include an NAACP Image Award, the Robert F. Sibert Medal, Golden Kite Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book, Bank Street’s Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction, NCTE Orbis Pictus Awards, NPR Best Books, and many state awards.  To learn more about Tanya and her books, please visit www.tanyastone.com. You can follow her on Twitter @TanyaLeeStone
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Christine Taylor-ButlerYour host is Christine Taylor-Butler, MIT nerd and author of Bathroom Science, Sacred Mountain: Everest, Genetics, and many other nonfiction books for kids. She is also the author of the middle grade sci-fi series The Lost Tribes. Follow @ChristineTB on Twitter and/or @ChristineTaylorButler on Instagram

STEM Tuesday– Astronauts and Space Travel — Writing Tips & Resources

Behind the Scenes

Astronauts are awesome, don’t get me wrong. They’re like the quarterback of aeronautics and space exploration. They’re the face of the mission just as the quarterback is the face of the football team. But I’m a lineman. Linemen do the work in the trenches that keeps the quarterback on track for success. Space travel requires an army of men and women working in the trenches in order to make a mission successful and bring their astronauts home safe and sound. 

Curiosity Science Laboratory Mission Operations Team

I was full of wonder as only a newly-minted five-year-old birthday boy can be when I saw the Eagle land on the moon in July of 1969. That sense of wonder never left me but years later I got to thinking deeper about this life-changing event. Sure we all watched Neil Armstrong take one small step but what about the thousands of people working behind the scenes to make it possible? From the spacesuit to the landing pads to the camera to the experiments to the engineers who made a flagpole that would stick in the lunar surface, those thousands of people made those short, historic minutes possible.

Curiosity EDL Team NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab

Your STEM Tuesday mission this month?

Drill down into a system. Study it. Look at the purpose, the plan, the participants, and the place. It can be a human-engineered system, like NASA’s Mars Curiosity Lander Mission, the International Space Station, a zoo, a factory, a sports team, a library, a school, or it can be a natural system like a pond, anthill, beehive, or wolf pack. Any system will do. 

Curiosity Women of Mars Scientists

As I was preparing this piece, we experienced a historical event with the COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic designation by the World Health Organization. That, coupled with the infections ravaging Italy, kicked in a new, and hopefully short, shift in life for most of us. Social distancing, flattening the curve, epidemiology, supply chain economics, and shelter-in-place have all become new words in most of our vocabularies. 

The global systems in place to search for these emerging infectious diseases and react might be a good system to start. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and your state and local health departments are all good systems to study during the time of learning in place. It might also help kids, parents, teachers, and their families better understand the health systems in place and how these systems work for our safety.

STEM Tuesday enthusiasts, jump in on a system that fills you with wonder and then look behind the scenes. Drill down, dig deep, observe the inner workings with a fine-toothed comb. Keep a notebook or journal to document your journey. Use text, pictures, drawings, or whatever it takes to figure out what’s happening under the hood of your system. Feel free to share your discoveries in the comments below or by adding a link there.

Stay SAFE!

Stay informed!

Stay engaged with the life around you.

Stay STEM!

Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal opportunity sports enthusiasts, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night, he blogs about sports/training related topics at www.coachhays.com and writer stuff at www.mikehaysbooks.comTwo of his science essays, The Science of Jurassic Park and Zombie Microbiology 101,  are included in the Putting the Science in Fiction collection from Writer’s Digest Books. He can be found roaming around the Twitter-sphere under the guise of @coachhays64.

 


The O.O.L.F Files

This month’s Out Of Left Field (O.O.L.F.) takes a look at systems. Everything from NASA to pandemics to insect colony organization. Click a link or two or three, or heck, click them all! Enjoy!

Go by Public Broadcasting System 

This is one of my favorite music videos and a top 50 Mike Hays song. It does a nice job of showing the behind the scenes of Apollo 11 moon landing riding along with a really awesome tune.

 

Novel Coronavirus 2019: Scientist Roundtable at the Science in SF blog 

I had the privilege of being part of a blog roundtable recently with some really sharp people to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are looking for some answers to your questions or just want to know more, check it out. 

More COVID-19 Questions? Here’s a great list of resources with information you can trust.

 

Inside the Ant Colony, a TEDed lesson

 

How Do Honeybees Get Their Jobs? | National Geographic

Unwrapped 

This is still one of my favorite Food Network shows. It made the foodie and the scientist sides of me very happy.

And finally, since we are talking about food…

Top 10 Most Amazing Automatic Food Processing Machines

Bon appetit!