About the Holiday
When children hear, see, and live what’s in the news, they want to know more about the whos, whys, and hows—and they want to know what they can do. Through picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels young readers and adults find ways to understand, interpret, and discuss issues in the world today. Many books from picture books on up inspire readers to stand up for others, be a friend, use their talents to help those in need, and make a difference in their own unique way. This month gives readers a great opportunity to discover books that can answer questions, empower children, and make the world a better place for them to grow up in.
This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer
Written by Joan Holub | Illustrated by Daniel Roode
Like the best school career day ever, ten of history’s and today’s greatest scientists line up in front of the chalkboard to talk about their work. First they reveal that secret to their success—the scientific method: “Asking why. Then making a guess. Asking how. Then proving with tests.” First up is Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered gravity. Little ones will learn that he also found the color spectrum and “figured out three rules for how objects move.”
Next to take center stage is Maria Sibylla Merian, a painter who through her art explained wonders of the insect world, including “how caterpillars turn into butterflies through a change called metamorphosis.”
Even the youngest readers may recognize Albert Einstein with his disheveled white hair. They’ll be amazed to learn that he devised a formula to explain how “energy and mass are the same thing in different forms.” He also found that nothing is faster than the speed of light.
Katherine Johnson can look back on a stellar career as a mathematician who “solved hard math problems on paper” before computers were used “so that space heroes like John Glenn could safely orbit the Earth.” Kids who love animals will want to meet Jane Goodall who “studied chimpanzees / and made friends with them / among Africa’s trees.” And starry-eyed kids who look to the skies will want to hear about Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium who “helps us understand / how our universe works / and how it began.”
Four more scientists step up to tell their stories. To close out the book, little readers will find a double-spread portrait gallery of seventeen more, complete with one-sentence descriptions for their contribution. Readers will find that the final frame has been left open for… them?
Joan Holub distills the scientific method and the biographies of ten influential scientists into short, clear nuggets of information that even the youngest readers can appreciate. A four-line rhyming verse introduces the scientist on the lefthand side while one or two facts on the right-hand side expand on their work. The engaging tone and variety of sciences and scientists represented will entice discoverers-in-the-making to learn more.
Daniel Roode cartoon-inspired but readily recognizable portraits of each scientist will charm readers as each is portrayed working with the subject of their experiments or set on a backdrop of their specialty. Clothing and hairstyles give kids a sense of each scientist’s place in history. Roode’s vibrant colors and dynamic illustrations in addition to the bright smile each scientist wears celebrates the sciences while applauding the discoveries made by women and men dedicated to advancing knowledge and creating the future.
For little ones who are curious about the world around them and how it works, This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, part of the This Little series, which includes This Little Explorer, This Little President, and This Little Trailblazer, is a smart, innovative choice for home, classroom, and public library shelves.
Ages 3 – 5
Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534401082
Discover more about Joan Holub and her books on her website.
National Book Month Activity
We all know that cooler weather means shock season will soon be here. But you don’t have to wait until the fuzzy socks and fleecy blankets come out to have some fun with static electricity. Using a blown-up balloon can be a dramatic way to show kids what’s going on with the electrons that are at the center of this phenomenon.
Babies and young children should be supervised by an adult while playing with balloons.
How does it work? Static electricity is generated when there is an excess of electrons on one object giving it an electric charge. These electrons are attracted to an object with fewer electrons and will jump to it when placed close by.
How do you produce static electricity? Just rub the blown-up balloon on your shirt, on your hair, on a blanket or other surface. Then try these experiments!
Generate static electricity on a blown-up balloon then hold it near your hair and watch it go a little crazy!
HANG A BALLOON
Generate static electricity on a blown-up balloon and gently place it on the wall and watch it hang all by itself.
This bit of balloon magic will amaze you! Generate static electricity on a blown-up balloon. Turn on a faucet to a thin stream of water. Hold the balloon near the stream of water and watch it bend toward the balloon.
You can find This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer at these booksellers
Picture Book Review