Monday, May 02, 2011

Space Books for Kids

ATTENTION EVERYONE! This coming Friday is Space Day (officially speaking.) I have a giveaway to offer here at the end of the week but I wanted to also put you on notice of this day. Last year our family went up to Portland for the weekend where we enjoyed the Space Exhibit at OMSI. A newborn isn't going to allow for that this year, but we're still planning on acknowledging the day. This year I knew to be more prepared for it and DK Publishing sent me a few titles to check out. As you are (hopefully) preparing for some space-related fun with your kids, you might want to check into these titles.

(Any long-time reader around here knows that we are Creationists. I'm going to offer up the disclaimer on all of these books that they are written from the "Big Bang" perspective. I think that's fairly typical for most mainstream books and I just want to say that upfront instead of mentioning it for each title. I think there is still useful information to glean from the books and DK Publishing generally does a fabulous job at putting together eye catching and quality materials. That said - let's move on.)

One Million Things: Space is handily divided up into the following five sections: universe, stars, the solar system, exploration and space travelers. Working your way from the big picture to the smaller details, this book is filled with photographs and facts about things like the Radio Galaxy, Seyfert Galaxy and, of course, our own Milky Way. There are short paragraphs of facts on any variety of space issues, making this book a good one for browsing and picking up bits and pieces of information. For example, on the page about eclipses there are photographs accompanied by brief descriptions of a solar eclipse, a shadow on the earth, viewing an eclipse, eclipse myths, rings and beads, orrery and a red moon. Laid out in something of a busy manner, this book is great for reluctant readers and learners and, again, is also very fun to browse through.

Amazing Space Q&A is laid out exactly like you would expect - in a question and answer format. The page spreads in this book are less "busy", I would say, and more straight forward and related to the questions posed per page. For example on this one, there is a page spread dealing with the question of, "How hot is the Sun?" There are an additional 6 questions on this page, all relating to the sun including "What causes a solar eclipse?"

I personally like the way this book is presented and laid out (after you get past questions such as "How loud was the Big Bang?") and find it to be informative and engaging. I have a reader who likes to be asked questions of books and then find out the answers to said questions and so I think this book has marvelous appeal in teaching and instructing.

DK's Encyclopedia of Space, by Heather Coper and Nigel Henbest has been "fully revised and updated" to reflect the infamous change in Pluto's status. This book is a wealth of information and is accurately titled an encyclopedia! That is the best description for it. Colorful photographs and illustrations with plenty of text explaining what things like optical and invisible astronomies, the Earth (it's surface, atmosphere, moon, lunar influences, etc.), the planets, life of stars and the list goes on and on. I think this book is a handy and interesting reference guide for youngsters who delight in all things space.

The Greatest Intergalactic Guide to Space Ever . . . by the Brainwaves would have greater appeal to reluctant readers or those who like cartoons. Filled with "Brainwaves" (little people who are running about the pages, exploring the galaxy), this is a busy and fast-paced book. There are more illustrations in this book than actual pictures (although those do exist as well.) It takes a more "entertainment driven" approach, if you will, to offering an education on various planets. For instance, the page about Mars is entitled, "Vacation on Mars" and has the little Brianwaves dashing about, learning various facts. I can't say this one is my favorite (it's just too busy for me!) but it is a different style and I can see how it would have great appeal to certain types of readers.

Lastly, we have the Amazing Pop-Up Space Atlas which was an instant hit with Bookworm1 (age 4 1/2.) Pop-up book!? Oh, yes please.

He was somewhat disappointed to discover that there was only one pop up image - a huge display of the planets which comprises the first page of the book. (So don't get your hopes up as he did that there will be pop-ups throughout the book. There aren't.) However, there are pull-out slides on each page spread which you can withdraw from the pages to learn even more information about each individual planet. There is also a Q&A sampling on each page, asking the reader 6 questions per planet. "How many moons orbit Mars?" "How long would it take an aircraft to fly to Neptune?" This book does have great appeal, it just wasn't exactly what we were expecting when we opened it up! Nevertheless, this one goes on our "recommended" list because it is very well done and quite nicely put together.

We owe a great big THANK YOU to DK Publishing for sending the above books our way so that we could check them out in preparation for our own celebration of space day. We hope you find a few of them useful yourself!

Do you have plans to acknowledge or celebrate Space Day this coming Friday or weekend? If so, do share your plans! I'd love to hear about them.


Annette W. said...

Well, now that I know about space day, maybe we can do something...our books are very limited though...but a craft? Probably!

Gidget Girl Reading said...

thanks for the reminder I better get my space craft and book ready :)

those books look great.

Stephanie Kay said...

What fun books!! We would love to celebrate Space Day but we already have a lot going on this week. maybe next year.

apowers32 said...

How exciting. We homeschool and are studying space. My son is into anything at all space related so we'll have to check out some of these books. Hopefully it is clear and we can celebrate space day by getting out the telescope.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know about Space Day. Peter has a couple of really good Space books. When we came home from Disney World in January, my parents stayed down there and went to the Kennedy Space Center. We'll have to go back and take Peter; he is fascinated.

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