- Published: 21 January 2020
- ISBN: 9780241418864
- RRP: $26.99
Stephen Hawking was arguably the world’s most respected scientist and certainly one of the iconic figures of our lifetime. What a loss to us his brilliant mind was – and further, what an absolute inspiration to any who followed his career.
Curated by his equally brilliant daughter Lucy this is a collection of essays which will take readers on an exploration of the universe from its beginning through the marvellous advances made in space exploration and travel and more. Readers of a scientific bent will thoroughly enjoy this especially as it combines both amazing facts and stunning colour photographs.
Particularly if, like us, you have a Science component to your ‘at home’ learning you will find this a wonderful addition for readers from middle primary to middle secondary who are investigating space. It certainly is on our agenda and this one will stay at home a while to cater for this.
Despite it’s scientific content the essays are written in a very accessible style and the many topics investigated which range from the physical explanations of the universe to earth science to robotics and future predictions.
Highly recommended for curious minds from around 10 years upwards.
Penguin Random House
This is just a wonderful heart-warming book on many levels and has introduced me to not only a new author but new information.
Libby Malone is 12 years old and passionate about science so much so that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up. Her favourite scientist is the over-looked Cecilia Payne – first woman Astronomy Chair at Harvard and the first person to postulate the theories on what stars are made of – work which was discounted but then appropriated by men in the field.
Libby also has Turner Syndrome – a condition of birth that has affected her physical development in many ways – but about which she is pretty pragmatic although she does sometimes wish she had a friend other than the school library.
Her older sister Nonny, whom she adores, is now married and living away from the family but returns when her husband has to go away to work and she is pregnant and needs to have a safe haven. Libby worries over Nonny’s baby and the fact that Nonny and Thomas are struggling financially. Her mind races with ‘what ifs’ and so she inspired to take up a challenge that could change their lives and help them secure a home of their own. She determines to enter a new Women in STEM competition initiated by the Smithsonian and of course she has the perfect subject in her much revered Cecilia.
At the same time new girl Talia arrives at the school and like Libby she also stands out from the crowd mostly because she is Samoan. The pair forms a tentative but increasingly stronger friendship which sees them both encourage and support each other through crises and challenges, and ultimately rejoice together.
This has much of the same deep ‘feels’ as books such as Wonder and will appeal to upper primary/early secondary students in just the same way. Libby encounters and triumphs over the petty meanness of both the ubiquitous school bully boy and an even more odious adult, editor of her school history textbook. She and Talia both pursue their goals with determination and singular focus and both have the measure of success they both need to affirm their chosen paths. And of course, the arrival of baby Cecilia, though not without its dramas, is the magical icing on Libby’s cake.
The warmth and love of family and special friendship, self-pride and identity are all well teased out concepts in this novel and the reader feels immense connection with the characters.
I would recommend it highly for readers from around 10 years upwards and certainly if you have kiddos who have loved Wonder then this would be a natural to add to their ‘If you liked…’ list.
It’s taken a long time to get this beauty into my hands but at last I have been able to savour it’s wealth of information and there are two reasons why it’s most timely to be able to review it now.
One is that the esteemed author has just picked up the Educational Publishing award for a student resource – jolly well done Peter! Secondly, the school holidays are approaching which is frabjous news for some of us (educators) but perhaps not so much for parents who may be dreading the ‘I’m borrrrrrrrred’ refrain and this volume will prove to be the perfect choice for any curious reader of around ten years upwards.
With his habitual diligence, dedication to accuracy, passion for science and nature and an unerring ability to engage and interest his audience, Peter takes his readers on a wide-ranging virtual field trip from the beginnings of Earth to the current concerns of climate change. Throughout youngsters will be treated to fun facts, easy to understand explanations, fun and interesting projects to complete themselves as well as a veritable treasure trove of earth science information.
Peter’s particular passion for sharing his knowledge and often quirky snippets is well known amongst his friends (much to our continued delight and amazement!) but it is his commitment to bringing science to young people that is absolutely one of his most stellar qualities.
As is to be expected from all the NLA’s catalogue this a quality production all round with styling, illustrations, diagrams and layout all completely ‘en pointe’ and children will thoroughly revel in dipping into their favourite sections. As long as parents don’t mind a little digging, observing, tracking or requests for outings to places of natural interest, all holiday ‘woes’ will be solved and who knows? may well be fostering a life long love of all things scientific.
I highly recommend this for readers from around ten years upwards though the age is fluid – any able reader will relish it and that includes curious, interested adults.