Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Mission Control, This is Apollo

Mission Control, This is Apollo

Mission Control, This is Apollo

This is the story of the Apollo space program. Apollo is the name NASA gave to the missions that put men on the moon.

The book is full of interesting (and funny!) stories about how the space program developed. If you read it you will find out how the scientists, engineers & astronauts figured out how to make everything work.

Since the author interviewed 28 astronauts, the book is full of inside stories based on their memories. Because the words are right from the astronauts you get a really personal sense of what it was like to work on the Apollo project and to be a person that actually walked on the moon. You can read stories that only the astronauts would know.

By telling the story of each Apollo mission, from Apollo 1 to Apollo 17, you can see what they learned each time. For example, at first they were really worried about the astronauts bringing germs back to earth. After the Apollo 11 astronauts brought back space dust that could be tested, the scientists could prove that no germs can live on the moon because of the intense heat, intense cold and radiation from the sun. By Apollo 14, they weren’t worried about moon germs anymore.

The book has lots of diagrams and photos as well as paintings done by Alan Bean, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 and the fourth man to walk on the moon. After Mr. Bean retired from being an astronaut he became an artist. You can see his pictures for yourself on his website. His paintings are fantastic, plus, he is not painting from his imagaination – he actually saw and walked on the moon.

Don’t miss the Apollo Archive links below to images and audio from the Apollo Missions. Listening to the astronauts’ actual words is really something. The whole group: the scientists, engineers, astronauts…I admire this team of smart, confident team players that could make something like landing on the moon actually happen. Even 40 years later it’s still a marvel. Author: Andrew Chaikin

One other thing…on the book jacket there is a picture taken in April 1969. The picture is of Alan Bean during his training for the Apollo 12 mission. The other person in the picture is a 12 year-old boy, Andrew Chaikin - this book’s author! And now here they are 40 years later writing a book together. I love it when a kid’s dreams come true!

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The Day-Glo Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers

  • Bob and Joe Switzer were just two boys having fun; riding in airplanes, practicing magic tricks and inventing stuff. They liked to problem solve by thinking up interesting solutions to problems.

Joe liked magic tricks and read in the magazine Popular Science about how ultraviolet lamps, called black lights, made some substances glow in the dark. The brothers made some glow-in-the-dark paint and figured out ways to use them to jazz up Joe’s magic act. Then they figured out something really unique, how to get colors to glow in the daylight -  and a legend was born.

You see day-glo colors all the time now, on signs or in markers or even on clothes, but none of that was possible until Bob and Joe got curious and then got to work. I loved reading about these guys! Author: Chris Barton

  • Read an Interview with the Author, Chris Barton
  • The Day-Glo Brothers Activity and Discussion Guide
  • There are things in nature like flowers and minerals that are fluorescent – these things glow at night. The Switzer brothers figured out how to make things glow in daylight. See How Day-Glo Works.

     

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    The Kids Guide to Paper Airplanes

    The Kids Guide to Paper Airplanes

    The Kids' Guide to Paper AirplanesIf you love airplanes, ask a grownup to take you to the Indianapolis Air Show at the Mt. Comfort Airport this weekend, June 5-7, 2009. On the website you can see all the different kinds of planes and activities that will be going on there. You can see the Blue Angels, historic airplanes and a lot more.

    If you can’t go to the airshow and just love airplanes, try out some of the paper creations in this book. The directions are really clear with color photographs to help you make the folds correctly. The planes start out easy and get harder and harder as you move through the book. The last plane requires 18 folds! The author even includes some tips for getting these planes to fly far.

    Another book you might like: Super Simple Paper Airplanes

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    Komodo Dragons NEW at the Indy Zoo

    Komodo Dragons NEW at the Indy Zoo

    The Komodo Dragon is the largest living species of lizard. These lizards can grow to be 6-10 feet long! The Komodo Dragon lives on islands in Indonesia. People in Indonesia call them “land crocodiles.”  Nothing on the islands preys on Komodo Dragons, so they can grow BIG and LONG. And if that isn’t impressive enough, they have teeth like sharks and poisonous spit! You can get an up close look at them all summer at the Indianapolis Zoo. (Keep your fingers out of the cage, though, OK?!)  The exhibit, called Dragons of Komodo, opens today, May 23, 2009 and will stay until September 7, 2009.

    National Geographic/Denver Zoo Video:

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    Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

    Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

    Chasing Lincoln's KillerYou probably already know that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while he watched a play at the Ford Theater and that the man who shot him was John Wilke’s Booth. Did you know, though, that Booth made a run for it? Did you know he had helpers? And some of them were women? This is the story of how the law tracked each of these people down. At the time of Lincoln’s death, there was no such thing as DNA fingerprinting or ballistics tests for firearms. The lawmen had to piece together what happened and who was involved by interviewing people, following hunches and figuring out who was telling the truth. I like history books that make history interesting by telling a story with real live characters in it. This book is like that.

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