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Explosive Summer Reads

Explosions can be both cool and terrifying. If you're not interested in the hazards of explosive science experiments, try one of these titles where you can experience different kinds of explosions and high-pressure situations from a distance. Titles intended for older audiences are at the bottom of the list.

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, and became very wealthy from his invention. Saddened by its use for harmful destruction, Nobel left his fortune to create yearly prizes for those who have rendered the greatest services to mankind: The Nobel Prizes.

With poetry that is equal parts accurate and entertaining -- and illustrations that are positively out of this world -- this book will enthrall amateur stargazers and budding astrophysicists as it reveals many of the wonders our universe holds. Don't let your head explode with the awesomeness within.

Also available in: e-audiobook

Profiles many noteworthy scientists, sharing lesser-known facts about their favorite activities, relationships, and eccentricities. To be honest, there aren't a LOT of explosions, but there are a lot of cool scientists who discovered ideas that exploded their contemporary world views. 

We dream of space by Erin Entrada Kelly
Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

Cash, Fitch, and Bird Thomas are three siblings in seventh grade together in Park, Delaware. In 1986, as the country waits expectantly for the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, they each struggle with their own personal anxieties. For more about The Challenger, check out The Challenger Disaster.

Boom! by 1962- Mark Haddon

There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end one way . . . with a BOOM!

Howl's moving castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Also available in: e-audiobook | video

Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl. Features some explosive magical battles.

Also available in: e-audiobook

Examines the history of the atomic bomb, discussing the discovery of the behavior of uranium when placed next to radioactive material, the race to build a bomb, and the impact of the weapon on societies around the world. But in a fun and engaging way.

Meet the World War II female scientists who worked in the secret sites of the Manhattan Project. Recruited not only from labs and universities from across the United States but also from countries abroad, these scientists helped in--and often initiated--the development of the atomic bomb, taking starring roles in the Manhattan Project. 

In 1984, while grappling with her parents' divorce and her mother's remarriage to an African-American man, sixteen-year-old Laura wins a walk-on role in the nuclear holocaust movie being filmed in her Arkansas town, but when the scripted nuclear explosion occurs, nobody seems to know if a real nuclear bomb has detonated or not. Inspired by a real event.

Monsters are real. But so are heroes.

And the explosions are absolutely someone else's fault.

Under pressure by Robert Pobi

A series of deadly explosions rock the city of New York and with too many victims and no known motive, the F.B.I. turns once again to Dr. Lucas Page. A serious thriller, but with explosions.

A case of exploding mangoes by Mohammed Hanif

Intrigue and subterfuge combine with bad luck and good in this darkly comic debut about love, betrayal, tyranny, family, and a conspiracy trying desperately to happen.

Lords and ladies by Terry Pratchett

It's a dreamy midsummer's night in the Kingdom of Lancre. But music and romance aren't the only things filling the air. Magic and mischief are afoot, and it all begins with an explosion.

A heart-pumping exploration of the biggest explosions in history, from the Big Bang to mysterious activity on Earth and everything in between.

Also available in: e-book | audiobook

The riveting, tick-tock account of the largest manmade explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb, and the equally astonishing tales of survival and heroism that emerged from the ashes.

A puzzling series of dental explosions beginning in the nineteenth century is just one of many strange tales that have long lain undiscovered in the pages of old medical journals.