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April 21, 2006 Edition

Aristotle Leads the Way: the Story of Science, by Joy Hakim

Combining history, philosophy, mathematics, and many other sciences, Hakim has created a fascinating overview of what science has said about our world and how we live in it. Starting with a chapter on creation myths, she goes on to investigate calendars, counting, clashes between religious and scientific thinkers, and much more, all illustrated with an eclectic mix of classical paintings, line drawings, modern art, charts, and graphs. (middle school readers and older)

Mosquito Bite, by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel

Did you know that when mosquitoes first hatch, they hang upside-down in water and breathe through siphons in their tails? And that for a few days, they don’t have mouths? Get up close to a mosquito without itching afterwards with this book filled with extraordinary photos of mosquitoes in various stages of life. Whether you find it creepy or fascinating, I guarantee that you’ll see mosquitoes in an entirely new way. (3rd graders and older)

Dino Dung, by Dr. Karen Chin and Thom Holmes, illustrated by Karen Carr

Most people try to avoid looking at animal poop, but Dr. Chin, a paleontologist, studies it. Her specialty is fossilized dinosaur dung which tells her a lot about what the climate was like, what animals lived in the area, and who ate what when the dung was fresh. How? Pick up this book and find out for yourself! (early chapter book readers and older)

Bone Detective: the story of forensic anthropologist Diane France, by Lorraine Jean Hopping

This biography spotlights an amazing and dedicated woman who studies bones to find out what happened to the people they once were. France is a member of NecroSearch, a group of scientists who help law enforcement solve murder cases. Using a variety of techniques, she has helped identify murder and accident victims and unravel historical mysteries. (middle school readers and older)

Are We Alone? by Gloria Skurzyunski

If there is life on other planets, how will we know? Most likely, it won’t be anything like us – will we be able to recognize it as life? This book interviews scientists who are conducting a variety of research ranging from investigating radio signals to studying extremophiles (organisms that live in places that used to be thought uninhabitable) that point towards what life on other planets could be like. Though it maintains a healthy skepticism towards flying saucers, there is no outright dismissal – instead, the book is full of optimistic, science-based wonder at what might be. (4th graders and older)

Guinea Pig Scientists, by Leslie Dendy and Mel Boring

Scientists don’t always test their theories on animals or other people – sometimes they use themselves as guinea pigs. Some scientists did permanent damage to themselves through their experiments; some even died, but even they added to the expansion of human knowledge. This fascinating book details experiments with infectious diseases, bad air, radioactive substances, and isolation. (5th graders and older)

If You Decide to Go to the Moon, by Faith McNulty, illustrated by Steven Kellogg

This is the book to read before you board your rocket ship and head for the moon – it’s got info on everything from what to pack, to how to drink your orange juice, and what to look out for on the trip. Full of sensory information (the heaviness of takeoff, the unusual brightness of the moon from a distance and its silvery-grayness close up, and the silence when you suit up and go for a moon walk), this beautifully written and factual book makes a great introduction to the idea of space travel. (preschool and older)

Science Verse, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

I’ve included this send-up of science canon just for fun – don’t expect hard facts here, just twisted but familiar verse to tickle everyone’s funny bone. Look for poems about black holes, a song about the food chain, and even a jump rope rhyme about states of matter. There’s even a cd included so you can hear Scieszka and Lane voice their creations.

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