Kids Book Lists

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Kermit Versus Thorndyke Smackdown

 

Hey Kids,

Ever wondered whether a mosquito could take on a great white shark? Me neither. But now that you're thinking about it, how do a mosquito and a great white match up? If you're curious about this and other animal matchups, check out some of the books below. 

Bear Hugs,

Thorndyke

This title has lots of different matchups, if you just can't make a choice.

For over two hundred years, lighthouses have served as a beacon of light on American coastlines. The lighthouse symbolizes safety and security for ships and boats at sea. On August 7, 1789, Congress signed into law an act establishing federal control and support of lighthouses. But in 1939, the United States Coast Guard took over. Lighthouses have declined due to the expense of upkeep and modern navigational systems. The oldest lighthouse in the nation is the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in Boston, Massachusetts. It was built in 1716 and is still operational. The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan and it keeps watch over Lake Huron at the entrance of the St. Clair River. Want to learn more? Check out these resources about lighthouses from our collection!

Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses by Dianna Higgs Stampfler

Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, with more than 120 dotting its expansive Great Lakes shoreline. Many of these lighthouses lay claim to haunted happenings. Former keepers like the cigar-smoking Captain Townshend at Seul Choix Point and prankster John Herman at Waugoshance Shoal near Mackinaw City maintain their watch long after death ended their duties. At White River Light Station in Whitehall, Sarah Robinson still keeps a clean and tidy house, and a mysterious young girl at the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse seeks out other children and female companions. Countless spirits remain between Whitefish Point and Point Iroquois in an area well known for its many tragic shipwrecks. Join author and Promote Michigan founder Dianna Stampfler as she recounts the tales from Michigan's ghostly beacons.

With rare archival blueprints and stories of daring adventure, Lighthouse captures the romance and awe-inspiring history of these isolated, life-saving towers, along with the incredible feats of engineering and invention it took to create them. Beginning in the 18th century and ending in the mid-19th century, this book examines these iconic buildings from every angle, chronicling the evolution of lighthouse design; the tremendous obstacles overcome during construction and upkeep; the thrilling tales of heroism and mercilessness of the seas; and the daily lives of the dedicated and often long-suffering keepers. With over 350 illustrations, this seasonless gift book provides the tales and original architectural plans for beloved lighthouses found throughout the world, including Eddystone, Sandy Hook, Montauk Point, Stannard Rock, Borkum Grosser, Green Point, Tillamook Rock, Cape Hatteras, Erie Harbor, and many more.

A decade ago on this day August 6, 2009, John Hughes passed away suddenly after suffering a fatal heart attack while on a walk in New York City during a visit with family. He was just 59 years old. Born in Lansing, Michigan and grew up in Grosse Pointe, Hughes began his career as an author of humorous essays and stories for the National Lampoon. He wrote and directed some of the funniest and most iconic movies capturing suburban teenage life in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of those films, now considered classics, would also launch careers of actors including Michael Keaton and members of the Brat Pack group. These films made a huge impression on our generation and in popular culture back then. And they're still relevant today. Enjoy!

He allegedly wrote Ferris Bueller's Day Off in four days, Planes, Trains and Automobiles in three days, The Breakfast Club in two days, and Vacation in a week. He never went to film school or studied cinema. And he spent most of his incredible career in the Midwest, far from the Hollywood Hills. John Hughes was indeed one of the most prolific and successful filmmakers in Hollywood history. He helped launch the careers of Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Macaulay Culkin, and Judd Nelson. He made John Candy a household name. In this first illustrated tribute to the legendary filmmaker, author Kirk Honeycutt offers a behind-the-scenes look at the genius that was John Hughes--from his humble beginnings in direct mail to his blockbuster success with classics like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Home Alone. Honeycutt also explores the darker side of John Hughes: his extreme sensitivity, his stormy professional relationships, and the devastation Hughes experienced after the death of his closest friend, John Candy. Featuring fresh interviews with Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Steve Martin, and Jon Cryer, and a foreword from Home Alone director Chris Columbus, this is the must-read for fans of John Hughes.

John Hughes wrote and directed this quintessential 1980s high school drama featuring the hottest young stars of the decade. Trapped in a day-long Saturday detention in a prison-like school library are Claire, the princess (Molly Ringwald); Andrew, the jock (Emilio Estevez); John, the criminal (Judd Nelson); Brian, the brain (Anthony Michael Hall); and Allison, the basket case (Ally Sheedy). These five strangers begin the day with nothing in common, each bound to his/her place in the high school caste system. Yet the students bond together when faced with the villainous principal (Paul Gleason), and they realize that they have more in common than they may think, including a contempt for adult society. "When you grow up, your heart dies," Allison proclaims in one of the film's many scenes of soul-searching, and, judging from the adults depicted in the film, the teen audience may very well agree. Released in a decade overflowing with derivative teen films, The Breakfast Club has developed an almost cult-like status.

Neil Armstrong was born on this day, August 5. He would have been 89. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the moon. It was back on May 25, 1961 that President Kennedy made a bold announcement before Congress to send an American safely to the moon and back before the end of the decade. At approximately 4:18 pm EDT, Neil Armstrong contacted NASA and said, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." About 6 hours later, with more than a half billion people watching on their black-and-white tv sets, he climbed down the ladder from the lunar module and proclaimed, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." If you want to learn about this great man, here's some resources to get you started!

When the alarm went off forty thousand feet above the moon's surface, both astronauts looked down at the computer to see 1202 flashing on the readout. Neither of them knew what it meant, and time was running out...ON JULY 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. One of the world's greatest technological achievements-and a triumph of American spirit and ingenuity-the Apollo 11 mission was a mammoth undertaking involving more than 410,000 men and women dedicated to winning the space race against the Soviets. Set amid the tensions of the Cold War and the upheavals of the sixties, and filled with first-person, behind-the-scenes details, Shoot for the Moon is a gripping account of the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that came before it. From the shock of Sputnik and the heart-stopping final minutes of John Glenn's Mercury flight to the deadly whirligig of Gemini 8, the doomed Apollo 1 mission, and that perilous landing on the Sea of Tranquility-when the entire world held its breath while Armstrong and Aldrin battled computer alarms, low fuel, and other problems- James Donovan tells the whole story.

The first men who went to the moon by Rhonda Gowler Greene

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the nation: land astronauts on the moon by the end of the decade. The Apollo program was designed by NASA to meet that challenge, and on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin. Apollo 11's prime mission objective: "Perform a manned lunar landing and return." Four days after take-off, the Lunar Module "Eagle," carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the Command Module "Columbia," and descended to the moon. Armstrong reported back to Houston's Command Center, "The Eagle has landed." America and the world watched in wonder and awe as a new chapter in space exploration opened. Through verse and informational text, author Rhonda Gowler Greene celebrates Apollo 11's historic moon landing.

 

If you enjoyed reading about Luciana Vega, the American Girl of the Year who goes to space camp in 2018, you might enjoy these other books about astronauts, space adventures, and robots.

Fiction

Lily Lupino yearns to be an astronaut, so when KosmoKidd crash-lands in her Brooklyn kitchen in 1949, she will do almost anything to prove herself to him and his crew.

On July 18, John Glenn would have turned 98. John Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962 and later served as a United States Senator from Ohio. In 1998, NASA invited him to join the team aboard the space shuttle Discovery and at the age of 77, he became the oldest human ever to do so. He never gave up on his dream or fascination with flight. John Glenn was part of an elite group of astronauts known as the Mercury 7 who became national heroes. That historic mission was immortalized in the 1983 movie, The Right Stuff, starring Ed Harris as the iconic John Glenn. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 95. Godspeed, John Glenn.

The time was the late 1940s. World War II had just ended and the United States was entering into a new kind of war, a Cold War. New technology and the development of high-speed aircraft became one of the centerpieces of this new kind of conflict. The race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union had just begun. Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book, The Right Stuff tells the heroic story of Chuck Yeager (the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound), the Flying Fraternity and the Mercury Astronauts – the first Americans in space. The bravery and daring exploits of these men captured the imagination of the American public during the 1940s and 1950s,and The Right Stuff re-creates these breathtaking events in emotionally riveting and suspenseful detail. 

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers, that made The Right Stuff a classic.

Fifteen years ago on this day, July 1st, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft reached the orbit of Saturn. It took 7 years to get there from Earth and it stayed in orbit for 13 years. The orbiter (Cassini) and lander (Huygens), which were named after astromers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens, reported back valuable data about the planet, its icy moons and wondrous rings. Its last act of service was known as The Grand Finale. The spacecraft  made a flyby of Titan, then dived between Saturn's rings before its final plunge. Intrigued? We got a dvd for that!

Almost everything we know today about the beautiful giant ringed planet comes from Cassini, the NASA mission that launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. Since then, the spacecraft has been beaming home miraculous images and scientific data, revealing countless wonders about the planet, its rings, and 62 moons—including some that could harbor life. As the mission approaches its final days in 2017, it attempts one last set of daring maneuvers—diving between the innermost ring and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Aiming to skim less than 2,000 miles above the cloud tops, no spacecraft has ever gone so close to Saturn and hopes are high for incredible observations that could solve major mysteries about the planet’s core. But such a daring maneuver comes with many risks. Join NASA engineers for the tense and triumphant moments as they find out if their gambit has paid off, and discover the wonders that Cassini has revealed over the years.

On this day, June 28th, Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1971. He is an entrepreneur, inventor, engineer and visionary. And that's not all! He's also the co-founder Tesla Motors which is an American automotive company specializing in electric car manufacturing and sustainable energy. As of May 2019, his net worth is over $19.3 Billion. Mr. Musk also founded SpaceX, an Aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company. SpaceX is the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Last year, it launched the first object to orbit around the sun. They are working on interplanetary spaceflight. Sounds like a mission! Want to learn more? Here's some books that may inspire your interest in space travel. 

The historic quest to rekindle the human exploration and colonization of space led by two rivals and their vast fortunes, egos, and visions of space as the next entrepreneurial frontier. The Space Barons is the story of a group of billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program. Nearly a half-century after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, these Space Barons-most notably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen-are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, and send humans even further than NASA has gone. These entrepreneurs have founded some of the biggest brands in the world-Amazon, Microsoft, Virgin, Tesla, PayPal-and upended industry after industry. Now they are pursuing the biggest disruption of all: space. Based on years of reporting and exclusive interviews with all four billionaires, this authoritative account is a dramatic tale of risk and high adventure, the birth of a new Space Age, fueled by some of the world's richest men as they struggle to end governments' monopoly on the cosmos. The Space Barons is also a story of rivalry-hard-charging startups warring with established contractors, and the personal clashes of the leaders of this new space movement, particularly Musk and Bezos, as they aim for the moon and Mars and beyond.

Hamish McKenzie tells how a Silicon Valley start-up's wild dream came true. Tesla is a car company that stood up against not only the might of the government-backed Detroit car manufacturers but also the massive power of Big Oil and its benefactors, the infamous Koch brothers. 
The award-winning Tesla Model 3, a premium mass-market electric car that went on sale in 2018, has reconfigured the popular perception of Tesla and continues to transform the public's relationship with motor vehicles--much like Ford's Model T did nearly a century ago. At the same time, company CEO Elon Musk courts controversy and spars with critics through his Twitter account, just as Tesla's ever-increasing debt teeters on junk bond status. As McKenzie's rigorously reported account shows, Tesla has triggered frenzied competition from newcomers and traditional automakers alike, but it retains an edge because of its expansive infrastructure and the stupendous battery factory it built in the Nevada desert. The popularity of electric cars is growing around the world, especially in China, and McKenzie interviews little-known titans who have the money and the market access to power a global electric car revolution quickly and decisively. "Insane Mode" started off as a feature on the dual-motor Tesla Model S, which gave the car Ferrari-like acceleration, but it's also the perfect description of the operating cycle of a company that has sworn it won't rest until every car on the road is electric. Here is a story about the very best kind of American ingenuity and its history-making potential. Buckle up!

 

If you enjoyed reading about Molly McIntire, the American Girl character from Illinois in 1944, and her adventures at summer camp, you might enjoy these other books about camping, World War II, and other fun topics.

Fiction

Secrets from the sleeping bag by Rose (Barbara Rose) Cooper

During four weeks of summer camp Sofia Becker writes all the juciest information in her notebook, so she can continue her blog when she returns home.

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