Tag Archives: space

Astro Girl

Written & Illustrated by: Ken Wilson-Max

For ages: 3-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space, Astronauts, Family, Self-Confidence, POC-Centric Narratives. 

Summary: 

Astrid LOVES space, and everything about being an astronaut.  Her dad asks her some questions about aspects of space travel and she is filled with confidence about being up to the task.  The relationship that Astrid and her father have is adorable, it is filled with happiness and giggles.  Throughout the book we don’t see Astrid’s mother, but at the very end the pair gets into the car to go pick her up.

This is just an incredibly sweet and happy book.  It depicts a loving family, and Astrid has a confidence that is adorable to witness.  In the back is information all about women astronauts and a few facts about space.  This is a great book for young readers, especially space enthusiasts!

This book was sent to us by the Candlewick Press, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & Illustrator:

https-www-hayfestival-com-images-product-medium-13559-1_origKen Wilson-Max “was born and raised in Zimbabwe, where I trained to be a graphic designer, with a strong focus on critical thinking and creative direction. My approach to graphic design and communication problem-solving has not changed much, but along the way, I observed how similar people are, whether they are learning to read, or running large corporations. I am an information designer, a storyteller, if you like, who can make any type of information accessible to any type of audience.

I travelled to the UK to study design and ended up working in children’s publishing as a book designer.  After a decade designing books for children and young adults, I showed a set of ideas to publishers for a series of books about vehicles. So then I became a children’s author and illustrator as well.

I love working with children and teachers because I learn so much. This helps my work get better, as my specialty is bringing out the emotional connections between people. I have always believed that people are more similar than different and that is worth celebrating. I have also seen over the last few decades how much better it is for children of all backgrounds to see themselves in books.

Since 2017 I’ve been running an independent publishing company creating and producing naturally inclusive books for very young children called Alanna Max. “

The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney

Written by: Alice B. McGinty

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Haidle

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space, Women in Science, Family, Historic Events, Historical Figures, Astronomy. 

Summary: 

Venetia is a young girl who lives in Britain with her mother and grandfather.  She is fascinated by space and the planets, memorizing facts about them and asking all sorts of questions.  Venetia is also interested in mythology, so when there is a newspaper article about a new planet being discovered, she beings to imagine what it might be called.  Venetia thinks is should be called Pluto, after Neptune’s brother.  Her grandfather agrees to write a note suggesting the name to an astronomer friend of his.  Venetia waits for a long while, until they get good news!  The observatory that found Planet X love the name Pluto and will name is such.

This is such a cute story!  We had no idea that a young space enthusiast named Pluto, and she’s in fact the only child to ever name a planet.  In the back of the story is an Author’s Note about Venetia, including a photo of her as a child.  This is a great book (because who doesn’t love space?) that tells a story of how STEM truly is for everyone, and young people can contribute valuably at any age.  A great idea knows no boundaries!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

aliceAlice B. McGinty is the author of this book!  Here is some information from her website: “First of all, I am a Writer. Ever since I was small, I’ve played with words and made up poems, jump rope rhymes, and stories. When I got older, I wrote those words down. Then, when I was in my 20s, I began to send what I wrote to publishers. After many years of rejections, I got my first acceptance – a short poem in a magazine. Later, that was followed with a story in Jack and Jill Magazine, and then books, both fiction and nonfiction. Now, I’ve written almost 50 books and after all these years, I still love to play with words.”

wb8vp8NqElizabeth Haidle is a freelance illustrator living in Portland Oregon. She was raised in the outskirts of the city and recently moved back after attending college in various cities, living in Seattle, Philadelphia, and Taos—earning an MA in Illustration along the way, at Savannah College of Art and Design. After working as a freelance artist and art educator for many years, she has turned her attention to books. In 2017, she illustrated her first graphic novel, I, Parrot, written by Deb Olin Unferth. She has three more books out in Spring of 2019: Before They Were Authors….Famous Writers as Kids, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Girl Who Named Pluto, written by Alice B. McGinty, Schwartz and Wade, and The Pipers in the Woods, adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, Mascot Press.

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.

Small World

Written by: Ishta Mercurio

Illustrated by: Jen Corace

For ages: 3-6 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, STEM, Space, Growing Up.

Summary: 

This is a beautiful book about how a person’s world grows with experience.  When Nanda was born, her whole world was her mother’s arms.  As she grows up, her world becomes bigger, more magical, and more mathematical.  Corace’s illustrations grow to be more geometric as the book continues, culminating in Nanda’s ultimate trip to expand her world.

Nanda’s world grows as she goes to school, learns new things, and has new experiences.  The reader is able to harness Nanda’s sense of wonder about the world and apply it to their own, thinking about their place in our universe as well as the interests that make their own world grow larger.  The illustrations are beautiful and diverse, and it’s lovely to see an Indian girl be the star of the STEM-driven life she’s making for herself.  There is an author’s note in the back talking a bit about how Ishta became inspired to write the book, and the story behind choosing Nanda’s name!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Image result for Ishta Mercurio

Ishta Mercurio studied dance and theater at Simon’s Rock College of Bard. In between homeschooling her children, she teaches writers how to use theater techniques to improve public readings. She lives with her family in Ontario, Canada.

 

 

 

Image result for jen corace

Jen Corace is the illustrator of many books for children, including Little Pea. She has a BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, and she lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.

Reading Beauty

Written by: Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by: Meg Hunt

For ages: 3-6 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Literacy, Fairy Tale, Problem-Solving, Feminist, Independent Thought, Kindness, Family, Love, Pets, Space, Rhyming. 

Summary: This is the next book from the pair that brought you Interstellar Cinderella, which we loved very much!  Both of us are so excited to get this one, we’ve been waiting with bated breath for it to arrive at our local library.

Princess Lex loves to read!  On the morning of her 15th birthday she wakes up to find that all the books in the kingdom are gone, removed because of a curse that was put upon Lex at her birth.  In order to get her beloved books back, she sets off to find the fairy that cursed her.

This book is great, not only do we see a princess and kingdom that is predominantly POC,  but Lex herself takes initiative to solve the problem of the kingdom’s curse-and uses books to do it! When she does find the fairy that cursed her, Lex treats her with kindness.  A lovely book, with a feminist twist of true love’s kiss!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

60356-2Deborah Underwood has worked as a street musician and at an accounting firm but for years has been a full-time writer who occasionally plays the ukulele. She is the author of several picture books, including New York TimesbestsellersThe Quiet Book and Here Comes the Easter Cat, as well as Monster & Mouse Go Camping, Interstellar Cinderella, and Bad Bye Good By

 

 

 

 

megbio-2Meg Hunt is an illustrator, educator and maker of things. She lives and works in the wooded city of Portland, OR. Her goal is to fill the world with my creations, and make people happy in the process. Her first picture book Interstellar Cinderella was published by Chronicle Books in 2015 and has been given starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly, who also listed it as one of their best summer books of the year. She was featured as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Flying Starts for Summer 2015 as well. In 2015, she received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for Illustrators 58, Uncommissioned category. Currently, her focus is creating charming and colorful character-based illustrations, lettering and patterns for editorial/publishing/product markets.

Celestina the Astronaut Ballerina

Written by: Donald Jacobson

Illustrated by: Graham Evans

For ages: 3 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Bullying, POC-Centric Narratives, Space, Growing Up, Independent Thought, Self-Esteem, Social-Emotional Learning. 

Summary: This rhyming story follows a young girl named Celestina, who dreams of being an astronaut despite everyone telling her to be a ballerina instead.  Celestina is teased by her classmates and told to focus on something more realistic than being an astronaut by adults and teachers.  Sadly, Celestina thinks that they may be right and begins to focus on dancing.  One day, she gets a new teacher who tells the class that they are the ones in charge of their dreams-no one else can tell them what they want to accomplish.  Her dream renewed, Celestina begins to focus on the hard work it will take to achieve her ultimate goal of going to space.

This book is super cute, and we really enjoyed it!  Having a character interested in science and space that isn’t a boy, but instead a young girl of color, is refreshing.  We really love that Celestina is a character that is developed enough to have multiple interests that she can embrace.  She does love dance, and is talented at it, but space is where her heart truly lies.  This book is also very believable in that when she is bullied, Celestina begins to doubt herself.  But she also never truly gives up on her dream, and with the encouragement of her teacher realizes that she can accomplish exactly what she wants to.

We were sent this book by the author for review, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

author-central-image-2018Here is a bit more info about author Donald Jacobson from his “about me” section of his website:

“I’m a husband, a father, a registered nurse, and a sometimes-writer living and working in Memphis, Tennessee.  My main sources of inspiration when writing — especially when writing kid’s books — are my two amazing daughters (Hazel and Holly) and my beautiful, smart, supportive, and loving wife (Stephanie). Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to strike out and put my ideas on paper. I’d also like to give an honorary mention to our mopey rescue dog, Yoda, who stands beside me as the only other source of male DNA in our crazy, but wonderful, little family.

My secondary source of inspiration — er, maybe not “inspiration”, but information — is my clinical background in nursing. I’ve been a nurse for over 10 years, with experience in emergency nursing, EMS, case management, nursing informatics, and a variety of other settings. I also have two Master’s degrees, which definitely made me get over my fear of rejection when writing. If you’re a writer, and you have trouble just putting something out there for judgment, I highly recommend going through a Master’s program. You’ll eventually stop worrying about that rejection, get over your failure (after failure, after failure, after failure) and just learn to create content.”

 

We had some difficulty finding out information about illustrator Graham Evans, there are several artists with the same name and we don’t think he has a personal website featuring his illustrations.  If you know, let us know!

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.