It's not every day I get two well-known science guys to hang out on my blog. So today I'd like you to welcome Alexander Graham Bell and Sir Isaac Newton. Granted, they lived 200 years apart, but book magic brings them alive today.
Themes: nonfiction, science, invention
Alexander Graham Bell Answers the Call
by Mary Ann Fraser
32 pages; ages 6-9
From the beginning, the world all around spoke to Alexander Graham Bell. And he listened.
He listened to the hustle and bustle of traffic on the streets, and the sound of the wind blowing through wheat. And because his father was a speech therapist and worked at home, Alec listened to the sounds and chants of the students. Which may have influenced his work as a teacher for the deaf, and his desire to invent a way for people to communicate over long distances.
What I like about this book: I love that the end papers show the history of the telephone and the informative charts Mary Fraser drops into the text (one shows how the ear works). And I like how she shows him growing up within a family where hearing and deafness were part of their lives. Fraser shows Alec discovering vibrations and then putting his discovery to use to communicate with his mom. What I like most of all is that the invention of the telephone took time and met with failures along the way. But Alec didn't give up.
by Kathryn Lasky; illus. by Kevin Hawkes
48 pages; ages 4-8
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2017
On Christmas Day over three hundred years ago, in a village in England, a baby was born too early.
He was so tiny that no one expected him to live. But he did, and he was immensely curious. While a student, he boarded with the village apothecary. The shelves in the shop were crammed full of jars with fluids and powders, spiderwebs, and leeches. This is where he learned chemistry.
One day he was in a jumping competition. Being small, he waited for an extra-strong gust of wind to give him the boost he needed to get the longest jump. So he began his study of physics. He carved sundials, made models, and spent his days thinking - even when he was supposed to do farm work!
What I like about this book: It takes us right inside of Newton's life and times. Kathryn Lasky tells us straight out what's true and what's "story". There was an apple, she says, and it did indeed fall - but probably not on Newton's noggin. She helps us see his thought process as he experiments with light and gravity.
Beyond the books:
Make your own telephone. All you need are plastic cups, string, paperclips, and a sharp pencil. Here's how to do it.
Test sound waves with a spoon and some string (and maybe a ruler, too). Easy-to-follow instructions and even some ideas for further investigation here.
Create a water prism to break sunlight into the colors of the rainbow. All you need is a bowl of water, a small mirror, a sheet of paper, and a sunny window. Here's how to do it.
Check out more biographies of scientists over at Archimedes Notebook.
Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and
resources. We're also joining others over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event in which bloggers share great
picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of
Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from the publishers.