Posts Tagged children’s bookstores

STEM Tuesday– Nuclear/Atomic Science– Book List

From X-rays to bombs, coverups to meltdowns, the history of radioactive elements has never been boring.

Who Split The Atom? by Anna Claybourne

Using a DK-like format, it explores the early history and research into the structure of atoms, the periodic table, radioactivity, and atomic science. Loaded with photographs, graphics, “That’s A Fact!,” “Breakthrough,” and scientific sidebars, as well as vignettes of scientists, it is an accessible and engaging introduction to radioactivity.

Atomic Universe: The Quest To Discover Radioactivity by Kate Boehm Jerome

This National Geographic book uses a running timeline across the top of the pages (from 1800 to 1971), photographs, mini biographies, and “science booster” sidebars to interest high-low readers in an introductory overview to radioactivity, atomic science, and nuclear reactors.

The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of Lise Meitner by Marissa Moss

Lise Meitner made groundbreaking discoveries in the study of radiation. She was the first to split the atom. But as a woman she faced many barriers, with men often taking credit for her scientific research. When Hitler came to power she had to face anti-Semitic threats as well. In addition to the science of radioactive elements, this book shows how easily women’s contributions can be erased from the history of science.

Radioactive!: How Irène Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World by Winifred Conkling

This gripping dual biography provides an in depth look at both the discoveries, life-long personal sacrifices, and professional struggles which Irène Curie and her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie made in discovering artificial radiation and Lise Meitner made in discovering nuclear fission. It also touches on Marie and Pierre Curie’s discovery of natural radiation, society’s grappling with radiation, World War II, and the atomic bomb. Includes a time line, Who’s Who section, black and white photos, and fascinating sidebars further explaining the science.

Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments by Amy M. O’Quinn

This book begins with Marie Curie’s childhood in Poland and takes readers through her scientific work and discoveries. Her work in radioactive elements was pivotal in creating the field of atomic physics and she added new elements to the periodic table. Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in not one, but two fields: chemistry and physics. Hands-on activities include building atomic models, a periodic table scavenger hunt, and splitting water into atoms.

The Science and Technology of Marie Curie, by Julie Knutson

Another book for Curie fans, that explores her groundbreaking research in physics and chemistry. Just as these discoveries forced scientists to rethink the structure of the world, Curie’s work forced them to rethink the role of women in science. Information boxes and sidebars are scattered throughout chapters, as are some biographies of other women in science, and there are a handful of activities to explore.

The Radium Girls: The Scary But True Story Of The Poison That Made People Glow In The Dark by Kate Moore

Equal parts medical mystery, corporate cover-up, and justice for women workers. This riveting true story about young women who used “glow-in-the-dark radium paint” on watch dials details the incredible lengths that the corporations took to evade responsibility for the women’s radium poisoning and deaths and the horrendous suffering of the girls. As well as the amazing efforts of a few doctors and lawyers determined to help these women fight back for their families and to save others and forever change workplace laws.

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Take one part spy thriller, one part scientific research, and a dash of political intrigue and you get an explosive mix! In this book Sheinkin traces the race from splitting the uranium atom to harnessing the power of the first atomic bomb. Section headings include titles such as “how to build a bomb” with an epilogue that discusses the fallout of the atomic arms race. The heart of the book is based on first-hand accounts by participants in the events.

In Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown, Steve Sheinkin takes readers on a fast-paced and terrifying journey into the Cold War and nuclear arms race. Like Bomb, Fallout is a page-turning nonfiction – perfect for kids who love science and history.

Chien-Shiung Wu: Pioneering Nuclear Physicist by Richard Hammond

This upper-middle grade book looks at the contributions this brilliant Chinese-American nuclear physicist made to the Manhattan Project – production of radioactive uranium for the atomic bomb and improvements of radioactive detectors. As well as Wu’s later experiments which changed scientists’ understanding of physics and resulted in her election as the first female president of the American Physical Society. Includes photographs, timelines, diagrams, and extensive further resources.

The Disappearing Spoon, And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Readers Edition) by Sam Kean

While this book isn’t exclusively about radioactive elements, there are plenty of stories about them – and their discoveries – to make it worth checking out. In a conversational tone, Kean talks about the periodic table, element families, and how elements are discovered. Sprinkled throughout are stories about the discovery of fission, the Manhattan Project, the “radioactive boy scout,” as well as Marie Curie and Lise Meitner.

Meltdown: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima by Deirdre Langeland

On March 11, 2011, the largest earthquake ever measured in Japan occurred off the northeast coast. It triggered a tsunami with a wall of water 128 feet high that ripped apart homes, schools, and damaged the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, causing a nuclear meltdown. Chapters describe the events as well as the science of nuclear reactors. Each section begins with a readout of reactor status, from “offline” to “meltdown” with the last chapter exploring lessons learned.


This month’s STEM Tuesday book list was prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich, author

Sue Heavenrich, who writes about science for children and their families on topics ranging from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. Her most recent book is Funky Fungi (with Alisha Gabriel). Visit her at  www.sueheavenrich.com

Maria Marshall, a children’s author, blogger, and poet who is passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she watches birds, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at www.mariacmarshall.com

STEM Tuesday– Evolution– Book List

Evolution has shaped — and continues to shape — our world in countless ways. The titles on this month’s list explore both the scientific and social impacts of evolutionary theory (including two books launching in spring 2023!).

 

cover image of "Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth," featuring the earth on orange background

Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth by Jay Hosler, illustrated by Kevin and Zander Cannon 

This is a brilliantly illustrated graphic novel, perfect to get students engaged on the topic of evolution in a comical and accessible way. It introduces intrepid alien scientist Bloort-183 (from The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA) as the alien visits earth and unravels the fundamentals of the evolution of life on earth. In addition to the humor, the text is informative and factually correct, starting with earth’s primordial soup and then venturing inside modern humans.

 

 

 

book cover featuring a jungle scene. Text reads "Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, Young Readers Edition, Adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” adapted by Rebecca Stefoff 

Charles Darwin’s famous theory of natural selection shook the world of science to its core, challenging centuries of orthodox beliefs about life itself. Darwin published his treaty, entitled On the Origin of Species, in 1859, and author Stefoff does a great job of capturing its essence in an accessible way for young readers, and also examines the treaty through the lens of modern science. The book includes contemporary insight, photographs, illustrations, and more.

 

book cover of "How to Build a Human," featuring a sketch of the human body

How to Build a Human  by Pamela Turner,  illustrated by John Gurche

How did we become who we are? This book examines an age old question but does so with incredible humor and wit. Turner uses milestones of human evolution to engage young readers, where she breaks down the evolutionary steps in comical ways such as “stand up” and “smash rocks.” In addition to being funny, the text is well written and informative. It’s perfect for middle grade and up, with plenty of thoughtful insights for older readers and extensive resources for those who want to explore further. Who knew that evolution could also be funny!

 

cover of the book "Evolution" featuring a multicolored chameleon on white background

Evolution: How Life Adapts to a Changing Environment with 25 Projects by Carla Mooney, illustrated by Alexis Cornell

This book explores the theory of evolution, its history, how we think it works, examples of creatures that evolved in response to specific circumstances, and what this might mean for the future of our planet. The text is well written and includes “Did You Know?” sections detailing informational concepts. Each chapter ends with information on “Good Science Practices” and a thought provoking question, as well as an activity allowing students to apply the concepts discussed. Perfect for young readers who wonder about things like why humans walk on two legs or why fish have gills.

 

copy of the book "When the Whales Walked," feauturing a land animal at the top, on top of whales and fish in an ocean environment

When the Whales Walked: And Other Incredible Evolutionary Journeys by Dougal Dixon, illustrated by Hannah Bailey 

The first in a series of five, this book won Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students: K–12 by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council in 2019. It allows readers to step back in time and discover a world where whales once walked, crocodiles were warm-blooded, and snakes had legs. The focus is on animals and how they came to be the version they are today, and the fascinating text is paired with annotated illustrations, illustrated scenes, and family trees.

 

 

 

cover image of "Amazing Evolution" featuring many different animal species in a circle

Amazing Evolution: The Journey of Life by Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Wesley Robins

With gorgeous illustrations and clear scientific explanations on every page, this book celebrates the wonder of evolution in our world. It provides both a big-picture perspective about how life began as well as an up-close look at how specific structures, like hands and eyeballs, developed over time. The final section, called “Amazing Adaptations Fact File,” highlights some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring species.

 

 

cover of the book "One Beetle Too Many," featuring an illustration of Charles Darwin peeking through leaves at insects

One Beetle Too Many: Candlewick Biographies: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Matthew Trueman

From his childhood in England to his travels around the world, Charles Darwin loved being outside, observing nature, and collecting specimens. Kathryn Lasky’s illustrated biography is fast-paced and fun, filled with sensory details from Darwin’s adventures and discoveries. Readers will love following along with Darwin as he asked questions, looked for evidence, and ultimately developed his theory of evolution. 

 

 

 

 

book cover of "Charles and Emma," featuring silhouettes of a chimpanzee, man, and woman

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

This young adult book is a love story about Charles Darwin and his devoutly religious wife, Emma Wedgwood. Their marriage epitomized the tension between science and faith, with Emma both supporting her husband and fearing for his eternal soul as he published his groundbreaking theory. Heiligman’s narrative weaves in primary sources from the couple, giving readers a firsthand glimpse at how the Darwins made sense of their work and marriage. This book was both a National Book Award finalist and Michael L. Printz Honor book.

 

 

 

 

cover image of "The Monkey Trial," featuring a photograph of three men

The Monkey Trial: John Scopes and the Battle over Teaching Evolution by Anita Sanchez (to be released in March 2023)

During the summer of 1925, the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, took center stage in a national battle over science, religion, civil rights, and education. At the center of the chaos was John Scopes, a high school teacher who had violated a state law by teaching his students about evolution. In this engaging nonfiction story about the Scopes Monkey Trial, Sanchez captures the zeitgeist of the town as it became overrun by reporters, lawyers, scientists, fundamentalist Christians … and even a few chimpanzees! With its memorable cast of characters and straightforward explanations of the legal and philosophical principles underpinning the case, this book would make a great conversation starter among young readers.   

 

 

cover image of "Evolution Interrupted" featuring a rhinoceros on a green background

Evolution Under Pressure: How We Change Nature and How Nature Changes Us by Yolanda Ridge, illustrated by Dane Thibeault (to be released in May 2023)

This unique book examines how humans are accelerating the process of evolution around the world. From farming to poaching to urban development, Ridge explores the phenomenon of “not-so-natural selection” and its impact on the environment today. She integrates perspectives from biology, sociology, and anthropology, challenging readers to think about their presence and impact in the world around them. Each chapter contains practical suggestions for individual action, discussions of systemic solutions, and profiles of environmental changemakers.

 

 

 

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This month’s STEM Tuesday book list was prepared by:

Author Lydia Lukidis

Lydia Lukidis is the author of 50+ trade and educational books for children. Her titles include DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench (Capstone, 2023) and THE BROKEN BEES’ NEST (Kane Press, 2019) which was nominated for a Cybils Award. A science enthusiast from a young age, she now incorporates her studies in science and her everlasting curiosity into her books. Another passion of hers is fostering a love for children’s literacy through the writing workshops she regularly offers in elementary schools across Quebec with the Culture in the Schools program. For more information, please visit www.lydialukidis.com.

 

 

 

author Callie DeanCallie Dean is a researcher, writer, and musician living in Shreveport, LA. She writes stories that spark curiosity and encourage kids to explore their world. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CallieBDean.

STEM Tuesday– The Science of Art– In the Classroom

Art may at first seem in opposition to logical pursuits like mathematics and engineering, but innovation comes from inspiration and creativity. Sometimes art can even help scientists see possibilities that seem absolutely illogical. Integrating art into STEM education opens doorways that allow inspiration and connections to come through. It can just be fun for student too. How can you use STEAM activities in your classroom? Check out some of our STEM Tuesday books for this month and try these activities with your students.

 

The Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci by Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan and Micah Rauch

With a mix of invention, experimentation, and art, Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest thinkers of all time, gave the world a number of new insights into science, engineering, and much more. With STEM activities and questions to think about, this book encourages children to look at our world in a deeper and more connected way.

 

Activity

DaVinci created a machine to help artists accurately portray perspective in a scene. He called it a Perspectograph. Have students create their own simple Perspectographs (and use them to make art) with this activity!

What you’ll need:

  • acetate sheets
  • tape
  • window
  • eye patch or scarf
  • marker
  • chair
  • white paper
  • pencil
  • paint or colored pencils
  1. Fist tape the acetate sheet to a window. Put a chair in front of the window. Place the back towards the window.
  2. Then cover one eye with an eye patch or scarf. Sit on the chair so that you face the window. Now put your chin on the chair back and keep still.
  3. Trace what you see outside onto the acetate sheet. Do not move your head.
  4. Next, tape a piece of white paper over the acetate. Trace the drawing onto the paper.
  5. Color the picture with paint or colored pencils. Make sure to look outside toes the true colors of distant objects. They are darker than closer objects appear.

 

 

Folding Tech: Using Origami and Nature to Revolutionize Technology by Karen Latchana Kenney

Origami, the ancient art of paper-folding is increasingly being used to stunning effects to solve some of the most pressing problems in the world today. This book takes a look at all those technologies that use folding – proteins, space probes, self-assembling robots, and many more.

 

Activity

There are so many interesting activities available that combine math and origami already, so I thought I’d list a few here for you to try.

 

Inside in: X-Rays of Nature's Hidden World - Schutten, Jan Paul

 

Inside In: X-Rays of Nature’s Hidden World by Jan Paul Schutten and Arie Van ‘t Riet

Who knew X-rays could be so jaw-droppingly beautiful! Using amazing X-ray photographs, this book shows us creatures and their natural habitats in unique ways. This book is a perfect blend of science and art.

 

 

 

Activity

Leaf prints can help you see the engineering inside a leaf. They reveal the structure of its veins and midrib. Try this activity to reveal the insides of a leaf.

What you’ll need:

  • various kinds of leaves
  • paper
  • markers
  • rolling pin
  1. Place the leaf on a table with its back side facing you.
  2. Now color the back side of the leaf.
  3. Carefully turn the leaf over and place it on a piece of paper.
  4. Slowly roll the rolling pin over the leaf one time. Do not let the leaf move.
  5. Remove the leaf to see your print below. Can you identify parts of the leaf’s structure.

 

These are just a few STEAM activities to try in your classroom. Find inspiration for other ideas by reading all of the books on this month’s reading list!

 

Karen Latchana Kenney loves to write books about animals, and looks for them wherever she goes—from leafcutter ants trailing through the Amazon rain forest in Guyana, where she was born, to puffins in cliff-side burrows on the Irish island of Skellig Michael. She especially enjoys creating books about nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries—but also writes about civil rights, astronomy, historical moments, and many other topics. Visit her at https://latchanakenney.wordpress.com.