Tag Archives: solar system

Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician

Written by: Lesa Cline-Ransome

Illustrated by: Raúl Colón

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Women in Science, Historical Figure, Space, Segregation, Racism, POC-Centric Narratives, Black Culture & Identity, Historic Events. 

Summary: Katherine was an incredibly intellectually gifted child, starting 2nd grade at age 6, and 5th grade the year after.  Her parents strongly valued education and moved the family closer to the West Virginia Institute, where Katherine started high school at the age of ten and college at the age of 15 on a full scholarship.  Years later, after graduation and teaching, she got a job in the segregated computing office at Langley Aeronautics.

Katherine was disciplined, hardworking, and brilliant.  She soon blazed her own trail as the only permanently working woman and woman of color in the office where she was originally placed on just temporary assignment.  She was instrumental in the Space Race and has inspired too many people to count, especially young women of color to embrace their intelligence and interest in STEM.

This is a fantastic book that describes just how pivotal Katherine Johnson was to American history during the Space Race of the early 1960’s.  Having these books that intellectualize women, especially women of color during segregation is crucial for students to have a comprehensive history of the United States.  Katherine Johnson was largely ignored until recently, and there is additional information about Katherine in the back of the book.  This is a great book for older children, especially after reading some of the other Hidden Figures books or watching the movie!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

lesa_nola-2-2Lesa Cline-Ransome grew up in Malden, MA, a suburb just outside of Boston, the daughter of two nurses and the youngest of three. She considers consider herself very lucky to have grown up with a mother who loved to read. Each week Lesa’s Mom would take Lesa with her to the local library so that she could stock up on books. As Lesa grew older she would venture off into the children’s section and gather up her own collection to check out. Through her mother Lesa realized that reading could become a wonderful escape and writing even more so. When her mother gave Lesa a diary as a gift, she first filled the pages with the “very important” details of her life—adventures with her friends, secret crushes and the many ways in which her family drove her crazy. Then Lesa began creating my own stories! Lesa became interested in children’s books the year she married. Her husband, James was working on illustrating his first book which allowed both of them to look at picture books in a new way. When they’d browse books in bookstores, he studied the illustrations, she read the stories. Lesa eventually completed a graduate degree in elementary education and through coursework became truly immersed in children’s literature.

raul-colon-706247Raúl Colón is the award-winning illustrator of many picture books, including Draw! an ALA Notable Book and recipient of the International Latino Book Award; Imagine! an ALA Notable Book, a New York Public Library Best Book for Kids, and a Bookpage Best Book; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to DanceAngela’s Christmas by Frank McCourt; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space

Written by: Dr. Dominic Walliman

Illustrated by: Ben Newman

For ages: 5 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM

Summary: This book is along the same lines as the other books in the series, scientific information given to us by our favorite feline scientist-Professor Astro Cat!  This time he’s back to share knowledge about gravity, the potential of aliens, and time!  We love this series so much, seriously go check it out!  Galaxies, planets, and space suits oh my!  Something unique about this series is they thrive on the excitement and wonderment of exploration, not pretending to have all of the answers about the universe.  There are illustrations about what might happen if plants grew gigantic on other planets, or humans started living on other planets.

The books are broken up into easy to read and understand subjects, reading much like a comic book.  The incredible illustrations will keep any aged reader entranced for hours!

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.

Professor Astro Cat’s Space Rockets

Written by: Dr. Dominic Walliman

Illustrated by: Ben Newman

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space, Solar System.

Summary: Another stunning installment of the Professor Astro Cat series, this time focusing on rockets and space travel!  These books pair high-quality comic illustration with difficult concepts made easy for young science-lovers.  The book describes several methods of space travel-rockets, spaceships, satellites, and more!  One more volume that will be gracing our bookshelves for the foreseeable future.

It’s Professor Astro Cat, need we say more?

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.

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.

Astro Kittens: Into the Unknown

Written by: Dr. Dominic Walliman

Illustrated by: Ben Newman

For ages: Infants & Toddlers (Board Book)

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space. 

Summary: This board book is an edited version of the Professor Astro Cat series, developed for infants and toddlers!  We were sent this book from the publisher, Flying Eye Books, Nobrow in the UK, but all opinions are our own.

Professor Astro Cat is joined in these books by 2 kittens, the Astro Kittens!  These books break down incredibly difficult topics into easily understood bits of information.  Wormholes, suspended animation, and life on other planets.  If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you probably know what big fans we are of the entire Professor Astro Cat series!  This latest installation makes these scientific concepts even easier to teach to young children, and in our case teach them to ourselves 🙂  We are so excited to see more board books in this series come out!

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.

Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines

Written by: Dr. Dominic Walliman

Illustrated by: Ben Newman

For ages: Infant & Toddlers (Board Book)

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space. 

Summary: This is another book sent to us by the publisher, Flying Eye Books, Nobrow in the UK, but all opinions are our own!

As you may have gathered already, we’re a teeny bit obsessed with all things Professor Astro Cat.  The Astro Kittens series is no different.  The ability to take complicated scientific concepts like telescopes, space probes, and Newton’s second law of motion and break them down for children will never cease to amaze us.  The only issue we have with the book series is that there’s only two so far!  Highly recommend this whole series, it’s the best way we’ve found to be able to educate young people on space and cosmic occurrences without being a physicist ourselves.

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.

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

Written by: Dr. Dominic Walliman

Illustrated by: Ben Newman

For ages: 5 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space, Solar System.

Summary: This is a great book that introduces STEM topics in an age-appropriate way for young children!  Broken down by planets, the sun, and asteroids/comets it doesn’t overwhelm readers.  Simple information that reads more like an oversized comic book, the pages practically turn themselves.  Coupled with the unique illustration style of Newman, this is great for any classroom from Junior Kindergarten and above!

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your favorite planet?
  • What did you learn about space that surprised you?
  • What do you think is the most fun part of being an astronaut it?
  • How do you think people who work with astronauts but do not go into space spend their time?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • There are lots of jobs in the STEM fields that do not involve going into space.  Learn about what some of them are, and how they help astronauts despite being on the ground!
  • Design your own planet.  What would it look like?  What kind of atmosphere would it have, and what (if any) life would thrive there? After drawing your own planet and giving it a “Planet Profile” for the other scientists n your class, take a solar system tour and view everyone else’s designs!

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.