Skip to content

1

Kids ask the funniest questions. Sometimes they also ask the most insightful ones. For STEM Friday, let's look at a new title that highlights cool questions from kids, Why Don't Cars Run on Apple Juice?: Real Science Questions from Real Kids by Kira Vermond and illustrated by Suharu Ogawa from Annick Press.

This is a Q-and-A book with a twist. After writing down questions asked by children who visited the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Canada, Kira Vermond queried scientists and educators to provide accurate, meaningful answers. The resulting book is a fascinating look into science -- and also into the minds of children -- that is likely to ignite some passions for further exploration.

Overall, it is a well-curated assortment. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you sneeze in space? Or how whales sleep (without drowning)? Have you ever stayed awake at night wondering if rats burp? The answers are here and some of them might just surprise you.

The collection can be used a couple of different ways. Some children are going to want to read it cover to cover. Others will want to pick and chose a few areas that interest them, for example if they are looking for topics for a science fair project.

Vermond helped make it easier to access the information by grouping the questions into five broad categories:

  • About the earth
  • Living things
  • Human bodies
  • Solar system, stars, and space
  • Big ideas

Those who want to choose can go to the "Contents" page where all the questions are listed and find the most relevant. For example, because I study ants I picked the question that asked why we humans have different faces and ants don't (on page 25).

The answer was spot on. Ants do have different "faces," even within a single colony.

For example, this ant has a heart-shaped face and long, hook-shaped mandibles (jaws),

whereas this one has a triangular face with huge eyes that take up most of it's head. This gives me an idea...

Why Don't Cars Run on Apple Juice? will likely entice reluctant readers to learn about STEM, and at the same time serve as an inspiration or jumping off point for budding scientists. Explore a copy today!

Activity suggestion:

Each question has the potential to be expanded into a lesson or experiment.

Age Range: 7 - 11 years
Publisher: Annick Press (September 10, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1773213024
ISBN-13: 978-1773213026

Disclosure: ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

2

For STEM Friday we have the combined natural history comic and leveled reader for kids, We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey.

Kids of all ages are attracted to cartoons. The art helps tell the story and the humor makes it fun to read.

However, that doesn't mean cartoon illustrations shouldn't be taken seriously. This book has an underpinning of solid scientific facts. For example McCloskey shows the anatomy and life cycle of earthworms,

emphasizes the importance of earthworms in their natural habitat -- as food for other animals, for their role in the decomposition of plant waste, and as aerators of the soil --

and includes discussions of earthworm behavior.

Earthworms are great!

On repeat readings, you will likely notice other details that make We Dig Worms a special experience. At the beginning of the book (end papers), a worm is coming out of its burrow. At the end, the worm goes back into its burrow. Also, the illustrations are done on paper grocery bags to emphasize the theme of recycling. There is a lot to observe and talk about.

As if that weren't enough, in the back matter are tips and suggestions for parents and teachers on how to read comics with kids, with emphasis on going "for the shared pleasure." Wonderful!

We Dig Worms is a resource that young readers will want to return to again and again. Pick up and enjoy a copy today!

Suggested activities to accompany the book

Looking for a project on earthworms? You might want to consider vermiculture (worm composting). Providing a safe habitat for worms, feeding them, and being able to observe them closely can lead to valuable learning. All it requires is a container, bedding (like shredded newspapers and paper bags), vegetable food scraps, and worms (available at bait shops and from worm farms).

See:

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: TOON Books (April 14, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1935179802
ISBN-13: 978-1935179801

Disclosure: This book and the copyrighted illustrations were provided by the author. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

If you gaze up at the night sky this weekend you might see some "shooting stars" from the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower.

Going out to look for meteor showers at night can excite an interest in space and astronomy.

It will likely raise questions, too. For example, have you ever considered that some of the stars you see while stargazing at night may have planets circling them? The new picture book Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley and illustrated by Jessica Lanan introduces young readers to idea that planets exist outside our solar system while at the same time exploring the things that make the Earth special.

Although "Goldilocks" in the title might give you the idea that this is a work of fiction, it is actually well-researched, detailed nonfiction. Readers learn about exoplanets, telescopes, the magnetic field, and much more.

What really makes the book work is that readers are guided on their path to discovery by a young girl who is shown in most of the illustrations (see the cover). As she moves on her journey from a park through a visit to a planetarium and back home to look at the night sky, the illustrator creates a story line that children relate to and understand. This is picture book nonfiction at it finest.

Just Right is guaranteed to thrill budding astronomers. It is also perfect for units on planets or space. Look up a copy today!

Age Range: 5 - 9 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (January 29, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1250155339
ISBN-13: 978-1250155337

Check out our growing list of children's books about planets and the solar system at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.