Posts Tagged book clubs

STEM Tuesday –Planes, Trains, Automobiles, and More! — Book List



Let’s get moving this month with a selection of STEM titles that delve into locomotion — planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation that require science to create.


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Save the Crash-test Dummies by Jen Swanson, illustrated by Tamika Grooms
Explore how autos are made even safer by using crash-test dummies for design. An entertaining look at the history of car production, as well as the science and engineering behind these machines we can’t seem to live without.



Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Who Built That? series by Didier Cornille – Books include Bridges: An Introduction to Bridges and Their Designs; Skyscrapers: An Introduction to Skyscrapers and Their Architects; and Modern Houses: An Introduction to Modern Houses and Their Architects

As important autos are to us, we couldn’t go far without bridge, tall city skyscrapers, and our own homes. A behind-the-scenes peek into how these marvels of engineering were constructed and who designed them.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Wild Buildings and Bridges: Architecture Inspired by Nature by Etta Kaner, illustrated by Carol Wiens

Another title to explore that focuses on building and bridge construction. Architects look to nature to solve structural design problems, for instance mimicking the long roots of grasses to keep buildings standing in an earthquake.


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Terrific Transportation Inventions by Laura Hamilton Wasman

The sometimes wild and wacky stories of how the inventions we take for granted came to be. Did you know early cars had three wheels, not four? How did we figure out how to launch humans into space? Read this title to find out these answers to these questions and more!


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Bio-Inspired Transportation and Communication by Robin Koontz

We’re developing a theme of inventors and engineers looking to nature for inspiration. Find out how the flying squirrel inspired skydiving technology and how the octopus inspired water travel.



Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Biofuels by Patricia Newman

Follow a student who interviews experts about alternate sources of energy to power our cars, airplanes, and other machines that run on gasoline. This title covers the history of biofuels, how they are used today, and what we can expect in the future.


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Titanic: Voices From The Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

Moving about the world also has its share of disasters. Perhaps one of the most famous is the sinking of the Titanic. Hopkinson brings this terrible moment of history alive in this book.



Green Transport: Exploring Eco-Friendly Travel for a Better Tomorrow by Rani Iyer  

More on eco-friendly alternatives as transportation industries strive to create green options. This comprehensive title explores traditional energy sources and their impacts, alternative fuels, and mass transit issues as cities move toward more sustainable solutions.


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Young Readers’ Edition) by Ashlee Vance

Discover a true visionary revolutionizing three industries at once — space, automotive, and energy — in this fascinating biography edited for young readers.



Support Independent Bookstores - Visit Milestones of Flight: From Hot Air Balloons to Space Ship One by Tim Grove

Grove gives readers a look into transportation history and science in this book. Illustrated with photographs, documents, and diagrams from the Smithsonian’s collection.


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 

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that empowers young readers to act on behalf of the environment and their communities. A Sibert Honoree for Sea Otter Heroes, Newman has also received an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award for Eavesdropping on Elephants, and a Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy! Her books have also 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



STEM Tuesday– Digging Up History/Archeology — Book List


This month we dig into the science of archaeology. By getting down and dirty, these scientists discover long forgotten civilizations, locate sunken ships, and solve puzzles. These books introduce readers to archaeologists and their findings and highlight how improvements in technology help make these discoveries possible.

Digging into Archaeology


Archaeological Discoveries of Ancient America by Frank Joseph
One way to understand the history of America is through examination of artifacts archaeologists uncover. This book examines the use of DNA and carbon dating to explain out of place artifacts (Viking ruins), debunk frauds, confirm lost cities, and explore the truth of our past.


Archaeology: Excavating our Past edited by Heather Moore Niver
An in-depth examination of the field of archaeology. Discusses the types, training, techniques, history, and recent discoveries. It includes sidebars of important archaeologists and their finds.



Mummies Exposed! by Kerrie Logan Hollihan
New technologies, such as such as X-ray imaging, carbon-dating, and DNS analysis, help scientists uncover fresh facts about the dead. This book explores desert mummies, ice mummies (the oldest cold case ever!), bog bodies, a princess, and mummy medical mysteries.



Two books by Lois Miner Huey who works as a historical archaeologist for the State of New York:

Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery
In 2005, the installation of a new sewer in New York became an archaeological treasure trove with discovery of a hundred-year-old skull. Follow the scientists who piece together the colonial history of a forgotten cemetery and slavery in the north.


Children of the Past: Archaeology and the Lives of Kids
Children of the twenty-first century have a lot in common with kids from long ago. Their clothes looked different and they ate different foods, but children living thousands of years ago did household chores, played with friends, and created art.

And for arrrr-chaeologists of the deep:

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked and Found by Martin W. Sandler
Ahoy, mateys! If ye be looking for a combination of pirate adventure and marine archaeology, this be it. The Whydah is the only pirate ship found and excavated. [Sept 19 is Talk Like a Pirate day; link:]



Modern Technology Meets the Past


The impact of technology in history and archaeology by Alex Woolf
From metal detectors to computers, technology has transformed archaeology. This book examines satellite surveys, LIDAR, SONAR, and dating techniques beyond radiocarbon that help scientists analyze artifacts and human remains.



Digging deep : how science unearths puzzles from the past by Laura Scandiffio
Examine discoveries about life in the Stone Age, lost cities, Franklin’s expedition to find the Northwest Passage, the grave of King Richard III, and ancient art. It’s cool how the stuff archaeologists discover affects the way we view history.


Archaeologists at work


Robert Ballard: Explorer and Undersea Archaeologist (Makers of Modern Science) by Lisa Yount
Ballard combined his passion for archaeology and the submersible, Alvin, to discover the RMS Titanic, Bismark, Isis (Roman Ship), and others. His work, and his mapping of the ocean floor, changed science.


Archaeology: Cool Women who Dig by Anita Yasuda
Explore archaeology through the work of three women working in the field. From historical archaeology to marine archaeology you’ll learn more about women pioneers in field research, various methods of investigation, and possible career options.



The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy by Laura Amy Schlitz
Quick, engrossing look at the “archaeologist” who inadvertently discovered Troy. Full of mistakes to avoid and “fake news.”



STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter generated one of her first articles for kids. When not writing, you can find her committing acts of science from counting native pollinators to monitoring water quality of the local watershed. Her most recent book is Diet for a Changing Climate (2018).


Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She was a round 2 judge for the 2018 & 2017 Cybils Awards. And a judge for the #50PreciousWords competition since its inception. Two of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2016 and 2014-2015 anthologies. She is the parent of two amazing adults and lives in the Pacific Northwest with two Pixie Bob cats. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at

STEM Tuesday — Pets — Interview with Author Jodi Wheeler-Toppen

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

Today we’re interviewing Jodi Wheeler-Toppen about her just-released book CAT SCIENCE UNLEASHED: Fun Activities to Do with Your Feline Friends. School Library Journal says: “This book will be a delight to children who love cats and want to learn more about them using hands-on experiments.”

Mary Kay Carson: Tell us a bit about Cat Science Unleashed.

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen: Cat Science Unleashed is a book of science-based activities to do with your cat. The activities are fun–make your cat a toy that also tests her sniff-skills, find out how well your cat knows her territory, test her hearing and her night-vision, for example. They’ll show you cool things about your cat’s anatomy, physiology, psychology, etc. A lot of the activities also help you learn about the peculiarities of your special kitty–there’s a personality test, for example, where you can see how your cat compares to thousands of cats from around the world.

MKC: Developing cat-based activities must have been challenging!

Jodi: I wrote this book as a pairing to go with Dog Science Unleashed, which I also wrote. And I can tell you, the cat book was more of a challenge! For the dog book, my friends would drop their dogs at my house for the day and I would try activities with them (because I wanted to see how they worked with a variety of pups). But cats are so attached to their territories–it would terrify most cats to be dropped off at a strange house with a stranger. So I had to go to them and coax them out from under the bed or on top of the refrigerator or whatnot and try to engage them in my activities. It often worked best if I got the cat’s favorite person to try the activities while I watched.

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen is a former high school science teacher, with a Ph.D. in science education. She’s passionate about presenting science as exciting, suspenseful, and understandable. The author of more than a dozen science books for children and teachers, she also has a series on teaching strategies and activities from the National Science Teachers Association Press. Visit her at

I got in trouble with one of my friends. I tested her three kittens for their paw preference by placing butter in a jar and watching how they got it out. She says that now, every morning when she makes toast, one-two-three little faces pop up over the countertop demanding butter! Sometimes an experiment would go great with one cat and then I’d never get it to work again. There was this fun one where I cut out detailed silhouettes of an angry cat and a peaceful cat and taped them to the wall. One pair of kitties gave great responses, arching their backs at the angry cat and rubbing against the peaceful one. But then I could never get another cat to respond, so I didn’t put it in the book.

MKC: How would you describe the approach you took to writing this book?

Jodi: I tried to work backwards from the science to the activities. So I looked for science ideas that were super cool or seemed important if you were going to understand your kitty. Then I thought, what is the craziest way we could look at this? What could you do with your cat that would be really fun or funny or would make Princess Fluffy super happy? I want it to be fun, for kids and their cats. I also want people to come away amazed at their purrfect pets!

MKC: Why do you choose to write STEM books?

Jodi: I was a high school science teacher and I am still very involved in STEM education through writing and staff development. Life circumstances made it difficult for me to stay in the classroom, so writing is a way I can still teach. Plus, it’s so much fun to take a topic and think about what’s really cool, what would people really get a kick out of about this, and focus there. So much more fun than having to always stick to the education standards!


Win a FREE copy of Cat Science Unleashed!

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!

Your host is Mary Kay Carson, author of The Tornado Scientist, Alexander Graham Bell for Kids, Mission to Pluto, Weird Animals, and other nonfiction books for kids. @marykaycarson