Friday, September 10, 2021

Armchair Space Camp

 Here are three books that will take you out of your daily orbit and send you on an adventure. And over at Sally's Bookshelf, I'm sharing a fun picture book about one of the rovers: Good Night, Oppy!

themes: nonfiction, space, Mars

Mars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises 
by Suzanne Slade 
48 pages; ages 6-10 
‎Peachtree, 2021

People have wondered about the mysterious planet of Mars for centuries.

Scientists built a powerful camera and sent it on a journey to take photos of Mars. The photos it sent back to Earth showed us that Mars is buried bedrock, bubbling gas, and mighty mesas. But it is so much more. 

What I like about this book: Each page highlights a feature of the Martian landscape, with a stunning photo spread and details about the landscape feature. Readers are treated to diverse and astonishing landscapes, from sandy, windswept dunes to steep cliffs and canyons. But on Mars, the landscape isn’t static. It is shifting, rearranging, and constantly changing.

Back matter explains the HiRISE camera mission, a sophisticated bit of technology that is still orbiting Mars and sending back photos. This is a perfect book for young people who are following NASA’s Mars Exploration Program and awaiting further discoveries on the Red Planet.

Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space 
by Miranda Paul; illus. by Sija Hong 
32 pages; ages 5-9
Millbrook Press, 2021

We know much about the mountains and oceans of Earth, spinning with us around the flaring Sun.

We know some things about the moon and asteroids, and we’ve swooped by Jupiter and Neptune. But we don’t know much about the outer reaches of space. In this book, Miranda Paul pulls us out of our comfy orbit, past the Kuiper belt, through the icy, comet-throwing Oort cloud and into “dark realms where gemstones fall from the sky.”

Along the way we pass dying nebulae, skirt the dangers of a black hole, and maybe, just maybe reach the edge of our known, observable universe

What I like about this book:
The poetic language on each page just draws you into the sense of exploration. In the back matter, Miranda explains the science behind each poem. She also provides an extended return address for anyone who would mail a letter to another world (in this or any other universe), and tells how long it would take for that letter to be delivered at the speed of light. Though, she warns, Space Mail does not guarantee delivery.

Rocket Science: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fundamentals of Spaceflight 
by Andrew Rader; illus. by Galen Frazer 
64 pages; ages 10 - 14
‎Candlewick, 2020

Author Andrew Rader is an aerospace engineer, so he knows his rocket science. He opens the book with an explanation of gravity – which is good, because so many of us depend on gravity to keep our planet orbiting around the sun. After a quick introduction to the solar system, it dives into the meat of the material: how rocket engines work, orbits, guidance and navigation. We learn how to get to the moon – and to Mars – and then look at some of the space vehicles headed out beyond the asteroid belt. A fun map at the back shows where “selected spacecraft” are located in our Solar System. A great reference so we don’t crash into them as we blast towards the outer reaches of space… There’s also a glossary and some websites for further exploration.

Beyond the Books:

Write a poem about a planet or something else in space. Or write about living on an alien planet. If you need inspiration, here’s photos of places on Earth that look otherworldly.

Check out images from Mars  at the NASA website.

Try one of the activities posted at the NASA Space Place for kids

Head over to Sally's Bookshelf for a fun new book about the Mars rover, Opportunity ~ and lots more activities. Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers.

1 comment:

  1. Sue, these are indeed great books to combine with Good Night, Oppy! What a fun way to spend the weekend.