Kids Book Lists

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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.

 

Hey Kids,

Sometimes it's hard to challenge expectations and pre-conceived notions to become who you are. Read on for many examples of people who defied stereotypes and limitations to be authentic. And don't forget to check out part 1 for even more great books about being yourself.

Bear Hugs,

Thorndyke

Boys do not cook, and girls cannot play sports--but in this book the pictures tell a different story.

This story imagines what it was like when Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass got together for a cup of tea and discussed their struggle for civil rights.

Thorndyke the Bear Dressed as a Stereotypical Pilgrim

 

1619 was a very busy year in and around Jamestown, Virginia. The business of getting a colony up and running was in full swing, and more than a decade after the first colonists arrived, they were still hard at work. Some of the momentous tasks taken on during the latter half of 1619 include beginning official self-governance, the landing of the first documented Africans in Virginia, the beginning of an official recruitment drive for colonial women, and the stated intention of beginning an annual Thanksgiving tradition. The schedule would have looked something like this:

  • From July 30 - August 4, 1619, the first representative legislative assembly took place in Jamestown.
  • In August of 1619, Africans were brought to Virginia and sold.
  • In November of 1619, the Virginia Company began actively recruiting females to provide stability to their colony.
  • December 4, 1619, settlers arrived at Berkeley and presumably held the first official Thanksgiving celebration.

 

These milestones resonated through our history and still impact what the United States is today. Investigate the 400-year-old history of our nation, its government, and its people. The following suggested titles might help you get started.

What was Jamestown? This book covers the first settlers, the problems they faced, and how Jamestown led to the larger colonization of the American continent. 

In 1918 Michigan passed a Constitutional Amendment to recognize women's right to vote. Nationally, the 19th Amendment wouldn't pass until the following year and wouldn't be official until the year after that.

The 19th Amendment clarified that the right to vote could not be denied based on sex, and was passed on June 5, 1919 and ratified by 36 states on August 18, 1920. The last state to ratify this amendment was Mississippi in 1984.

Celebrate this milestone by checking out one of the following titles and learning more about the global fight for women's suffrage. Titles geared for younger audiences are at the top, but may interest older readers.

Follow suffragettes Nell Richardson and Alice Burke's cross-country journey to campaign for women's right to vote.

Explore the history of women's suffrage, highlighting the contributions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and such other reformers as Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone.

Grandparents come in all shapes and sizes and ages and personalities. Although National Grandparents Day isn't until September, why wait to celebrate?

Check out a grandparent story to share: there are suggestions below. Or take a few minutes to call or write to your own grandparents, reach out to a friend who happens to be a grandparent, or spend some time remembering the grandparents you've known.

After disappointingly receiving a lemon tree from her grandma on her birthday, a young girl doesn't know what to do with it other than care for it and wait, but her patience eventually pays off.

A plan for Pops by 1968- Heather Smith
Also available in: e-audiobook

Lou visits his two grandfathers--Grandad, who is interested in technology, and Pops, who loves rock and roll--every Saturday, but things change when Pops falls and will have to use a wheelchair, so Lou comes up with an idea.

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