General Science and Teaching

Classical, Classy, or Corny Science Books- Reading for Pleasure Thread

Hi Everyone,
I am inspired by Adah to begin a new thread about our personal-professional book reading. She shared a book at another thread that (just by the title) made me want to go right out and buy. We all have probably read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. That is one of our science classics. I would love to hear what books others are reading or have read that promote science teacher literacy and are just "great reads" for pleasure. Thanks ahead of time for sharing.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86513 Activity Points

Hi Carolyn,

I really enjoy reading Kathy Reichs' books. She writes a series about a forensic anthropologist that the TV show Bones is loosely based on. They are great books and science thrillers! You can get more information on her books at the Kathy Reichs website.

Enjoy!
Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Hi Carolyn,

I really enjoy reading Kathy Reichs' books. She writes a series about a forensic anthropologist that the TV show Bones is loosely based on. They are great books and science thrillers! You can get more information on her books at the Kathy Reichs website.

Enjoy!
Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Hi! I with Maureen. I love the Bones series but I also read Patrica Cornwell, Robin Cook and Michael Palmer. I read all sorts of medical mysteries and learn a whole lot about anatomy and such while enjoying a fiction reading. Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

Hi! I with Maureen. I love the Bones series but I also read Patrica Cornwell, Robin Cook and Michael Palmer. I read all sorts of medical mysteries and learn a whole lot about anatomy and such while enjoying a fiction reading. Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

Here are a few math related that I've enjoyed as well.
Check out The Number Devil by Hans Enzensberger if you like numbers and number sense and Flatland (bizarre, but pretty cool).

Also in the spirit of Silent Spring, Sand County Almanac, Desert Solitaire, and one of my favorites (maybe because I'm from Idaho) is Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge.

Wendy Ruchti
Wendy Ruchti
24565 Activity Points

My 9-year-old daughter just read the Number Devil as her silent reading book for school. I love that book and was pretty impressed with her perseverance. She really got the math, too. Love that kid.

Also, I love Stephen Johnson. My ex-AP recommended The Ghost Map, which is about the cholera epidemic in London in 1848(?). The minute I finished that book, I began again because I was so interested in the details. Johnson has also written others, some of which I own but haven't read yet. One I keep trying to read is called Emergence, about connections—like crowd study, flocks, ant colonies, slime mold—and other things that are many in number but act as one. I'm fascinated, but can't find the focused time.
I just finished a book for kids called Empty World, by John Christopher. A mysterious Plague spreads around the world in a matter of months, killing EVERYONE within a week of exposure. Soon, there are no people around AT ALL. The main character manages to find a couple of other people. It's fascinating.
I also love the Ember books: The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold. It is way post-apocalypse, with a hidden city which is running out of the supplies set up for them so the human race could continue. Amazing.
I could go on and on. I'm going to like this thread. (And I'm not all end-of-the-world-ish all the time.)

Ann Allison Cooke
Allison Cooke
6380 Activity Points

I am currently reading a book with my Design and Engineering classes called, “Hurt Go, Happy”, by Ginny Rorby. The book is geared toward the middle school to freshman level. Joey is deaf and her mom won’t let her learn American Sign Language. As a result she is a pretty lonely girl. Eventually she makes friends with an elderly neighbor, Dr. Charles Mansell who has a chimpanzee, Sukari. Sukari signs and Joey learns how to sign to communicate with the chimp and a relationship is formed. Dr. Mansell dies and Sukari is given to Joey, which mom is not at all happy with. I won’t spoil the plot because the book absolutely is one of the best I’ve ever read. Suffice it to say there is a strong protagonist in Joey, bonds of friendship and loss as well as Sukari becoming involved in animal testing. As you read you will discover the title has meaning and as it is uncovered in the story, you are brought to tears. My 7th and 8th graders often say this is the book that changed their lives in terms of animal rights, honoring and respecting peers that are different and discover the world sometimes just isn’t fair, especially when you are an animal. I am attaching the Amazon website for those of you whose interest I’ve piqued. http://www.amazon.com/Hurt-Go-Happy-Ginny-Rorby/dp/B003156CU8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303340869&sr=8-1

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

“Please Stop Laughing at Me, One Woman’s Inspirational True Story”, Jodee Blanco. This is wonderful story of a woman that was tormented by school mates. Blanco describes how she was bullied all through her school years to the point of actually transferring schools only to have it begin all over again. As you read, you feel the pain Blanco suffered as a student and for me, I could see the faces of many of my own students as I continued through the pages. Ultimately Blanco goes to her high school reunion terrified of how she might be received. In the end her peers don’t remember ever tormenting her and in fact treat her as a long lost friend. This has been a great story to read to my 7th and 8th graders especially in light of all of the cyberbullying that is going on these days. http://www.amazon.com/Please-Stop-Laughing-Me-Inspirational/dp/1440509867/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303343271&sr=1-2 “Agatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story”, Carmen Agra Deedy and Laura L. Seeley, is absolutely, hands down my favorite book of all time. Seeley does an excellent job in her illustrations. The illustrations are rich in color and detail, so much so, that every time I read the story to my niece and nephew they point out even more things in the picture they didn’t see before. Agatha is the grandmother we all wish we had. As she imparts her knowledge, she has a saying that she shares, “Everything comes from something, nothing comes from nothing.” My favorite part of the book is when Agatha gets her treasured feather bed. Six naked geese, who are cold from losing their feathers, confront Agatha who promises a solution in three days. There are great plays on words, “A little down in the mouth”, the ducks register at the “Down Town Motel”, that cause you to chuckle throughout the story. While touted as a book for ages 4 – 10, I have read it to my middle school kids who thoroughly enjoy it. Many have never had an adult read to them, so they really enjoy the moral as well as the “really cool pictures.” http://www.amazon.com/Agathas-Feather-Bed-Another-Goose/dp/1561450960/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303342700&sr=1-1 And finally, let me not forget to mention “The Legend of Thunderfoot”, by Bill Wallace. This is a story of an outcast roadrunner, who while he ignored his parents’ advice, had a run in with a rattle snake that left him with feet so swollen, that on naming day, his parents called him Thunder. Thunder is made fun of by some of his peers, making Thunder feel like he is different and not worthwhile. The story takes us through a series of adventures where ultimately Thunder is befriended by a clever gopher tortoise who helps him find his true value in life. While the book is listed as a book for grades 3 – 6, my middle school kids got a lot out of the moral of the story. http://www.amazon.com/Please-Stop-Laughing-Me-Inspirational/dp/1440509867/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303343271&sr=1-2

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

Sandy's books reminded me of an old old favorite: Whales to See The, by Glendon Swarthout, Kathryn Swarthout. It is about a teacher of a small self-contained class of kids trying to take them on a whale watch boat. The kids' voices and that of their tireless and determined teacher ring so true that they don't even seem to be the voices of kids with learning differences, but just the nervous, self-critical child in all of us. It's very out-of-print, but I see one on eBay. If you can, get a copy and read it. It's wonderful.

Ann Allison Cooke
Allison Cooke
6380 Activity Points

Wow! Thank you all for the great ideas for my summer book bag. I can't wait to start reading the Refuge, Wendy. I need to find out why an Idahoan would have it as a favorite!
I have compiled a pdf of the entries so far to make it easier for anyone who wants to take the list we have created so far to the book store or library. Keep those "Great Books" coming. I will have a lot of time on my hands this summer!
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86513 Activity Points

Here is the list to date:

Attachments

Great_Reads.doc (0.03 Mb)

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86513 Activity Points

Thank you so much for the list. I didn't know anything about Glenn Swarthout except for Whales to See The.
There are many wonderful children's books on nature, many by Jean Craighead George, whom I adore. Also, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (and many others by him). My first cooperating teacher read The Black Pearl to our fourth grade. They were rapt. The King's Fifth, for another example, is an amazing book about a young cartographer traveling in Mexico and the American Southwest in the time of Cortez. He is seeking gold, as are most of the others, and learns much on the way. There is a ton of Earth Science in the book.
I'm so loving this thread.

Ann Allison Cooke
Allison Cooke
6380 Activity Points

A book I read last year that was both a fun read and a good review of all kinds of general science topics was The Cannon: A whirligig tour of the beautiful basics of science. by Natalie Algier.

I have been mostly reading science history in the summer like Heavenly Intrigue by Gilder and Gilder about Kepler and Brahe; The Children's Blizzard by Laskin about the 1888 blizzard in the Great Plains and its effect on developing a reliable weather service; and The Book Nobody Read about Copernicus; or books by Jared Diamond or Charles Mann. This summer's read is The Selfish Gene by Dawkins - I need more biology in my life :)

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

I too am a Kathy Reichs fan. I am currently reading Spider Bones. Virals is sitting on my table waiting for me to get there. Patricia Cornwall is also in my pile. I will get there eventally.

I wonder if anyone has actually used any of these books in their science classes in conjunction with a forensics unit??

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34175 Activity Points

It is the end of the semester and I asked some of my students who have been reading with me for the past three years to help me put together these offerings...remember my kids are 3rd - 5th grade - [i] YA fiction[/i] DIVE series and EVEREST series by Gordon Korman PEAK by Roland Smith [i] sci fi to inspire great discussions and research:[/i] The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury (short story) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill quick fixes... Anything from the Everyday Science Mysteries series by Richard Konicek-Moran [i] Fantasy that makes an impact on how we see the world[/i] Eldest by Christopher Paolini (2nd in series - sequel to Eragon) nonfiction A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson [i] Poems and folktales[/i] Footprints on the Roof, poems of the Earth by Marilyn Singer When The World Was Young, compiled and edited by Margaret Mayo

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Hi All,

I will keep this list going !

One of my favorite books is the childhood memoir by Dr. Oliver Sacks.
Uncle Tungsten:Memories of a Chemical Childhood

You may know Oliver Sacks as the distinguished neurologist and author of the book Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat but in his childhood he was fascinated by chemistry of metals and chemical reactions. The title refers to his Uncle whose factory produced tungsten -filament light bulbs.

This is a great read if you are interested in a young inquisitive mind exploring his science passion.

Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
44573 Activity Points

Great choice Arlene! I will add the Dork in Disguise series for anyone looking for classroom read alouds for the 4th - 6th grade set. These are fantastic books and one of my best conspirator/teachers and I have pulled incredible class discussions and experiments from the pages.

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Canon, too, Tina. Thank you for mentioning that one. It is definitely an excellent pick. I am visiting the sights and sounds of New Mexico right now,and yesterday I was in Santa Fe. I learned of a book (I understand it is a classic) - a historical fiction work - that I am going to see if I can check out of my library when I get home. It is called Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. I know it's not sciency, but I am sure I could learn about the "old technology" of the mid 1800's as I read it.
Has anyone read it yet to give me a heads up?
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86513 Activity Points

One of my all time favorite books, you know the kind you go back and read every year or so, is The Eight by Katherine Neville. It wasn't written for young readers although I could see some high school students get into it. It is a book written about two timelines, one during the French Revolution and one during the very early days of OPEC. It is about the legend of Charlamagne's chess set which was fabled to endow unlimited power on the owner of the entire set. Here's the great part. Everything associated with the story is based on patterns of eight. Therefore, music, computer science, and chemistry combine to further a plot rich in history. I don't recommend this book to everyone because, like Wendi's Flatland, it is far out (I enjoyed that one too though). I got it years ago while at a conference with a colleague who was ignored for the entire cross country flight from San Fran to DE I was that intrigued by it. It has resurfaced because of recommendations of fans and because Neville wrote a sequel (I think by force as the sequel does not have the detail or passion of its predecessor) I also like Neville's first book A Calculated Risk which shows the promise she had at that time as a writer. In a more directly science-y vein i enjoyed Galileo's Daughter, Longitude which describes an interesting hierarchy/snobbery of scientists vs. inventors in addition to the development of a way to determine longitude while at sea during sailing days. The book Mauve describes the accidental development of the first synthetic pigment.I believe that there is some NSTA PD or book about pigments that is new. I'm so glad that I have a list of books to check out. Another favorite author is elderly and not writing much so Amelia, Vicki and Jacqueline are no more, Joan Hess is leaving Arly hanging, and Annie Darling just isn't the same since she moved out of her treehouse.

Bambi Bailey
Bambi Bailey
9515 Activity Points

Shoot! I forgot the Reluctant Mr. Darwin. It's cool and talks about how the butler and his son helped him test seed dispersal in the bathtub.

Bambi Bailey
Bambi Bailey
9515 Activity Points

Bambi! I just found a copy of The Eight last month - used to teach with it and it just came to mind one night. It is a fantastic book you are right! For anyone who has not read this - it is a very quick read and its one of those books where you can see young readers catching on to the patterns and timelines while they are reading. Just great!

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Hi All, A book one of my participants in my Earth the Solar System course recommended and I am considering reading this summer is Galileo's Daughter http://www.galileosdaughter.com/book.shtml'' target="_blank">http://www.galileosdaughter.com/book.shtml' target="_blank">http://www.galileosdaughter.com/book.shtml It is written by Dava Sobel , author of the book Longitude. [i]Dava Sobel is an award-winning writer and former New York Times science reporter who has contributed articles to Audubon, Discover, Life and The New Yorker. She has also been a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine, writing about scientific research and the history of science. Ms. Sobel has maintained an interest in Galileo since childhood and her latest book, Galileo's Daughter, fulfills her ambition to plumb the renaissance scientist's life and times, and to reveal his relationship with his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, a Poor Clare nun. In researching this book, she traveled to Italy four times and translated original documents, including more than 120 letters from Suor Maria Celeste to her famed father. [/i] Has anyone read this book? My best, Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
44573 Activity Points

Ahh, I see that Bambi has recommended Galileo's Daughter as well as Longitude : )
Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
44573 Activity Points

Caryn - It's great to hear from another Neville fan. I recommended it to a friend of mine who laughed at me because she lived next door to Neville at one point and has a signed copy! She is very thorough in her research for books, and i appreciate it. Arlene - I read Longitude on a cruise - it seemed right although others laughed at me at the time. Because i enjoyed Longitude, I read Sobel's next book Galileo's Daughter. They are both fascinating although I like Longitude better because I learned so much from it. I had read about Galileo before so there were fewer surprises. I haven't even gotten a chance to pick up any of the books I'm interested in getting, but after this shift, I'm going to go online with my e-reader and get at least one. Happy reading everyone!

Bambi Bailey
Bambi Bailey
9515 Activity Points

Here is a nice annotated list of science books. I posted this in the other reading thread too

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68555 Activity Points

Sorry here is the list

Attachments

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68555 Activity Points

Thank you, Pam, for sharing the fruits from another book discussion thread. I will link this thread to that one, as well. I was amazed at how few duplications there were between the two lists. Since several additions are posted since my first pdf compilation, I decided to create an updated list. To find out what our thread participants have said about the books, you will have to read the postings. Their rave reviews will make it hard for you to decide which book to read first! Please find the update list attached here. Enjoy!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86513 Activity Points

As a pre-service teacher, I’m so excited to see such an extensive list of books about science! I absolutely love to read, and I hope to be able to pass on my love of reading to the students in my future classroom. This list is something I will save and keep on hand until that time comes, so I can integrate literature into my science classroom. Integration can help students so much in tying everything together, so this is really a treasure of a tool. Thanks, everyone, for sharing all your wonderful suggestions. This will be so useful for me in the future, and I can't wait to read some of these books!

Vicky Jenei
Vicky Jenei
395 Activity Points

What a great post Carolyn! I have to agree with Vicky. As a pre-service teacher, who is an avid reader, I hope to pass my love for reading onto my future students. I am very interested in reading Galileo's Daughter by, Dava Sobel. I love books that tie in interdisciplinary units, in this case, science, history, and even art. I have started an extensive collection of children’s books, mostly geared toward the primary grades. I am looking to further my collection by adding books for middle school and junior high school aged students. What do you all recommend? I am looking for various series books that are trade books, as well as fictional books, related to science and hopefully tying into other disciplines. The list provided throughout this post has me excited to get reading! It can be hard to find the time to read for pleasure when we are knee-deep in schoolwork, but we must make time for ourselves! Thanks again for the great post and list of summer reads!

Tiffany Brewczynski
Tiffany Brewczynski
430 Activity Points

I found Einstein's paper on Relativity as a free download at Project Gutenberg. That's very classy.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86513 Activity Points

I recently read Gail Carriger's Soulless, the first in the Parasol Protectorate Series. It's geared for young adults, but the idea of a "parasol protectorate" cracked me up, so I picked up the book and loved it.

The book is a combination of paranormal and steampunk. For those not familiar, steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, usually set in Victorian times, that combines steam-engines and modern technology with Victorian-style. Think Will Smith in Wild Wild West, Captain Nemo, or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Anyway, the concepts got me interested not only in history (a lot of steampunk literature also includes alternate history) but also in the development of technology during Victorian times - and there's so much to choose from. Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell (what would today's cell phones have looked like in the 1800s?), Thomas Edison (that's a list and a half), Louis Pasteur, and on and on. Before, these were just names, dates, and inventions for me to memorize. Suddenly they were cool!

I'm anxious to blend this with engineering design processes in the classroom. I wonder how kids would react if asked to design an iPod using what was available back then? How far could their imaginations stretch - it wouldn't work, obviously, but how close could they get in theory and design?

And there's your glimpse into the clockwork design of my brain! :)
Kendra

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

Kendra - this is such a cool idea - thank you so much for that post!!! I have a class that is "time traveling" back to look at watershed inventions and technologies - and we have a totally steampunk spin on it. What ages would you really recommend the book for? These are academically gifted 10 year olds. Last year we read Maximum Ride and riffed off of it for all sorts of life science discussions.

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Caryn - I would LOVE to see what your class comes up with! Please post some pics/descriptions if you can!

Soulless would be a little too much for 10 year olds. There are some love scenes that go too far for that age group - but would make high schoolers giggle like crazy.

Love this idea!
Kendra

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

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