Tag Archives: scientific discoveries

The Vast Wonder of the World (Biologist Ernest Everett Just)

Written by: Mélina Mangal

Illustrated by: Luisa Uribe

For ages: 5 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Black Culture & Identity, Scientists, Historical Figure, Outdoors, Natural World, Trailblazers, Curiosity, Education, Racism. 


In 1911, Ernest was a scientist in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  Woods Hole is on Cape Cod, and still a massive town for oceanic research today!  Ernest was gifted at caring for the creatures he took from the ocean, when others weren’t so careful, and Ernest was gifted at seeing the whole picture instead of just the tiny piece he was currently researching.  Ernest was especially gifted at studying how life begins from an egg, and became the entire world’s leading authority!

Ernest loved reading, but as a child had to relearn to read all over again after he contracted typhoid fever.  He observed everything around him, especially the natural world.  Ernest left the segregated South for boarding school, but when his mother died he didn’t know how to cope, so he just studied harder.  When he took a biology class in college, his entire world opened up and his lifelong fascination with cells began.  Ernest became a professor and taught his students to care for both the organisms they studied and their scientific instruments, to be kind and to observe as much as possible.  When he showed that the egg was just as important as the sperm in creating new life, he became world-famous and often worked in Europe where he was treated better.  He eventually moved with his family to France and became an independent researcher.

This book’s storyline is gorgeous, and the illustrations stunning. The story addresses both science and the systemic racism and oppression that Ernest faced because he was Black, despite being one of the most talented and intelligent biologists in the country.  In the back there is a lengthy Author’s note with a photo of Ernest, and timeline of his life, detailed information about his scientific work, and some quotes by Ernest himself.  This is a beautiful book and we are glad we found this to learn about someone new in the scientific world that worked for so many years nearby where we live!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

melina-mangalMélina Mangal loves being outdoors! From her website: “My earliest memories begin near the shores of Lake Superior, climbing trees, collecting rocks, and listening to birds. I love writing about nature and its place in young people’s lives.  Stories from faraway times and places have always captured my imagination as well.  I like to imagine what life was like as I walk along the river, or visit an historical site.  I work as an elementary school librarian, introducing students to great books, the exciting research process, and new technology.”

image-asset-4Luisa Uribe is an illustrator “living in Bogotá, Colombia. I love children’s books but venture into other fields from time to time. My favorite activities in no particular order are drawing, reading and chasing the cat around the house.”

Atlas of Ocean Adventures

Written by: Emily Hawkins

Illustrated by: Lucy Letherland

For ages: 7 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Nature, Natural World, Scientific Thinking, Discovery. 

Summary: This book is part of a larger set of atlas’ by Quarto as part of their Wide Eyed Editions books, focusing on curiosity and learning.  This is the only book in the series that we’ve seen (we won this in a giveaway) but the other books look amazing too!  We love to feature nature and science books as part of our beliefs that everyone can be a scientist, despite there sometimes being a single example of what a scientist is.  The world is an amazing place that needs diverse explorers and scientists to help solve life’s mysteries and to protect our precious natural resources and wild animals.

This is a massive book jam packed full of oceanic knowledge and adventure inspiration!  The entire book is beautiful and organized, with a helpful contents page at the beginning and an index at the end.  The illustrations make us want to grab some flippers and hop on into the water, searching for otters and whale sharks to befriend!  The atlas also does a lovely job of explaining the wonders of the aquatic world, and where they are in the world.  Lots of information is on the pages, but it doesn’t overwhelm the illustrations which are the star of the show here.  This is a great coffee-table book, and a must-have for the burgeoning marine biologist on your life!

There is even a “Can You Find?” section in the back right before the index!  There are a bunch of animals to seek out through the entire book, making another activity for readers.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

711233d6Lucy Letherland is an illustrator based in London, UK. She graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2011 with a First Class BA (Hons) in Illustration with Animation. Lucy’s work is strongly led by humour and narrative, creating a playful graphic quality. She uses a mix of hand-drawn and digital techniques to produce lively illustrations filled with detail.
In 2014 Lucy’s first picture book for children, Atlas of Adventures, was published by Wide Eyed Editions. It went on to win the UK Educational Writer’s Award 2015, and was also shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, The English Association’s 4-11 Picture Book Awards, and the UKLA Book Award 2016.
Her second, Atlas of Animal Adventures, won the Children’s Travel Book of the Year in the Edward Stanford Awards 2016.
B1LWRxb3lVS._US230_Emily Hawkins is a children’s author who loves making complicated things easy to understand. She has written books about all sorts of things, from cars, trains and ships to dinosaurs, magic tricks and mathematics. She co-wrote the Atlas of Animal Adventures (illustrated by Lucy Letherland), which won the Children’s Travel Book of the Year Award in 2016. Emily has also written several titles in the internationally popular Ology series, which has sold over 16 million copies worldwide. She holds a first-class English degree from Nottingham University, and lives in Winchester, England, with her young family.

Space Kids: An Introduction for Young Explorers

Written by: Steve Parker

Illustrated by: Andrea De Santis

For ages: 4 and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space, The Universe. 

Summary: This book is really cool!  It’s difficult to find books about space for children this young that actually teach them something.  In the Junior Kindergarten classroom Corrie taught in, there was a Space Unit that we struggled to find appropriate literature for.  Everything was either a board book or for reading-aged children.  This book, along with the Professor Astro Cat series solved our problems!  Topics covered include: space, stars, constellations, solar system, astronauts, the international space station, and much more!  This book gives a well-rounded and comprehensive look at all things space, without too many words on the page.  Illustrations by Andrea De Santis are bright, cheerful, and diverse.  If you have a space-lover, this is the book for them!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

5239344Steve Parker’s writing career began with 10 early titles in Dorling Kindersley’s multi-award-winning Eyewitness series, from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. He has since worked for more than a dozen children’s book publishers and been shortlisted for, among others, the Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize, Times Educational Information Book of the Year, and Blue Peter Book Award.[3]

In 2009 he co-wrote The Complete Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils of the World, with John Farndon, (Lorenz Educational Press)

In 2013 Parker’s title Science Crazy (QED) won the UK School Library Association’s Information Book Award,[4] and Fizzing Physics (QED) won the Hampshire Information Book Award.[5]

Parker also writes adult books, recently including Extinction: Not the End of the World? (Natural History Museum, 2013),[6] the million-selling The Human Body Book (Second Edition, Dorling Kindersley, 2013) and Kill or Cure, an Illustrated History of Medicine (Dorling Kindersley, 2013.) [7]

In 2014 Kill or Cure entered the New York Times Science Bestsellers [8] and also won the 2014 British Medical Association Book Award for Public Understanding of Science.[9]

In 2015 Parker was general editor of Evolution: The Whole Story (Thames and Hudson), heading a team of 12 expert authors in paleontology, paleobiology and paleoecology. Popular weekly New Scientist described the work as ‘highly accessible … such an attractive and friendly book … the approach breathes life into everything, including “boring” stuff (that is, non-dinosaur stuff) … bright, breezy and modern’. [10]

In 2016 Parker produced two of the largest and most complex titles of his career, Medicine: The Definitive Visual History (Dorling Kindersley),[11] and BODY: The infographic book of us (Aurum Press) with graphic designer, illustrator and academic Andrew Baker.[12] He also continued his collaboration with London’s Natural History Museum with publication of Colour and Vision: Through the Eyes of Nature. 2017 saw further titles including A Brief Illustrated History of Life on Earth (Raintree) [13] with specialist illustrator David West, and books on dinosaurs, oceans and seas, and robots and gadgets. In 2018 Parker received the School Library Information Book award for the second time, for In Focus: Seas and Oceans (Kingfisher).

AndreaDeSantisCroppedAndrea De Santis was born in Brescia, Italy, in 1978, but now lives in the center of Italy.

He started drawing when he was a child, continually looking for ideas that would increase his imagination. After graduation at the Art School, De Santis started working as Graphic Designer in several fields, such as Toys, Apparel, and Communication.

Nevertheless the illustration has always been his dream in a drawer, that’s why one day he decided to apply completely himself to this art as a freelance artist.

Andrea creates covers for Italian and foreign publishers, e.g. Pan Mcmillan, Suhrkamp, Gestalten, Einaudi, Feltrinelli, Mondadori. He also works for important communication agencies and Science, Psychology, Wellness magazines, such as WWD, Oprah magazine, New Scientist, The Observer/The Guardian, John Hopkins e Variety.

His illustrations belong to conceptual or surrealist art and his style is mainly minimal and narrative. De Santis uses chromatic contrasts and rarefied atmospheres to compose oneiric scenes. He always tries to give a positive, playful vision.

In De Santis’ spare time he loves reading books, traveling, riding his old motorcycle and go swimming – themes that often inspire illustrations.

Mad About Monkeys

Written & Illustrated by: Owen Davey

For ages: 5 and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Nature, Conservation, Monkeys, Global Community, STEM, Science.

Summary: We are so excited the next installment, Fanatical About Frogs, is coming out soon!  But we will focus on the present and just talk monkeys right now.  Davey goes in-depth about all sorts of monkey-related knowledge.  Can you distinguish between Old and New World monkeys?  If you can’t now, you sure will be able to by the end of the book!  Learn why they swing from trees and how monkeys play with one another.  Other basic information such as food and social interaction styles are also covered, which is great for the young animal enthusiast in your life!  Over 250 species are explored in this book, with Davey’s signature illustration style that is engaging and attractive to readers of all ages.  As per usual, there is information about conservation at the end of the book.  This is an important part of all the animal books the author works on!

Reflection Questions:

  • Did you learn about a new type of monkey today?
  • What was your favorite monkey fact?
  • How do you think you can help with monkey conservation?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Are monkeys native to the area where you live?  If they don’t live there now, what about prehistoric monkeys?  Learn about what your community looked like many years ago before there were towns and humans!  A trip to the Natural History museum might help you out-in real life or a virtual tour!
  • Why do you think animals are kept in zoos?  There are several reasons, and one of them is conservation.  Get in touch with a zookeeper or animal conservationist and learn about how zoos play a role in figuring out how to assist in animal conservation efforts around the globe.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

owenOwen Davey is an award-winning Illustrator, living & working in Leicester, UK. He has a First Class BA(Hons) Degree in Illustration from Falmouth University. Davey is a primary Illustrator for TwoDots which has been #1 in over 70 countries, as well as the illustrator of iPad App of the Year 2015 game, The Robot Factory.  His work has been published in every continent except Antarctica, including picture books in UK, America, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Portugal, China, Sweden, Russia & South Korea!

Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure

Written by: Dr. Dominic Walliman

Illustrated by: Ben Newman

For ages: Elementary and above

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Physics, Professor Astro Cat, Science. 

Summary: This book opens with an apartment complex of animals asking the science questions every kid wonders.  How does a car move?  Why is the sky blue?  How do birds know north from south?  professor Astro cat leads us on a journey through topics such as  gravity, the scientific method, metals & non-metals, and so many more!

The great thing about these books is that they’re huge and colorful!  Following the graphic novel style helps to increase engagement and make the text less intimidating.  We love the whole series, and this is no exception!

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever wondered any of these questions addressed in the book?
  • What is something that you learned from looking through this book?
  • What else would you like to learn from Professor Astro Cat?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Pick your favorite topic in the book and learn more about it!  A classroom could even choose partners and every take a topic, making your own Professor Astro cat science fair!
  • Draw your own science comic book about your favorite scientific phenomenon!
  • Have a physicist visit the classroom, or take a field trip to their lab.  What do they do all day, and is it similar to what’s in the book?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

DominicWallimanDominic Walliman is a physicist, and award-winning science writer. He is co-creator of the Professor Astro Cat science books with illustrator Ben Newman.

Dominic received his PhD in quantum device physics from the University of Birmingham, and currently works at the quantum computing company D-Wave Systems Inc. As well as writing, he enjoys making films and animations to explain science and has produced a series of online videos communicating D-Wave’s groundbreaking quantum technology and his own videos about general science.

He has been writing science books since 2011, and he aims to give children super fun and clear explanations of science through the adventures of Professor Astro Cat. He grew up reading science books and remembers vividly the excitement of discovering the mind boggling explanations that science gives us about the Universe. If he can pass on this wonder and enjoyment to the next generation, he will consider it a job well done.


Desk-shotBen Newman has developed a distinct aesthetic over the years; a contemporary fusion of bold shapes, bright colours and playful characters which has been described as ‘bauhaus fuzzy felt.’ He has produced work for a large range of clients, including the Tate Modern, New York Times, BBC Radio 4, Google and The New Yorker. His practice extends outside of commercial work into worldwide exhibitions, paintings and three dimensional collaborations. Nowadays, he spends the majority of his time collaborating on the Professor Astro Cat children’s books with his longtime friend and scientist, Dr Dominic Walliman, which are published by Flying Eye Books and have been translated into 18 other languages.

Concurrent to working as a freelance illustrator, Newman lectures on illustration at various universities and conferences in the UK and Europe.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Written and Illustrated by: Rachel Ignotofsky

For Ages: 4 and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Science, Scientific discoveries, Unsung heroes

Summary: This book highlights little-known women in science throughout history. Each page features one of Ignotofsky’s fun illustrations with a single page summary of that scientist’s achievements. Written in an approachable way for young children, this book will both inspire and teach a future generation of scientists! Some strong women featured are: Annie Easley, Mae Jemison, Mamie Phipps Clark, and Grace Hopper.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you like science? What sorts of topics would you like to know more about?
  • Which one of these scientists would you like to know more about?
  • Do you know anyone that’s a scientist? What have they told you about their job?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Are any of these scientists from nearby your community? How can you learn more about their lives?
  • Do some science experiments of your own!
  • Have a scientist visit your classroom and talk about what it’s like to do research and experiment for their job.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

rachel ignotofskyRachel Ignotofsky is a New York Times Best Selling author and  illustrator, based in beautiful Los Angeles. She grew up in New Jersey on a healthy diet of cartoons and pudding. She graduated from Tyler School of Art’s Graphic Design in 2011. Now Rachel works for herself and spends all day and night drawing, writing and learning as much as she can. Rachel is a published author with 10 Speed Press and is always thinking up new ideas. Check out her books The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth Women In Science and Women In Sports. Her work is inspired by history and science. She believes that illustration is a powerful tool that can make learning exciting.  She has a passion for taking dense information and making it fun and accessible. Rachel hopes to use her work to spread her message about scientific literacy and feminism.