phd mama

from diapers to deconstruction


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Astronaut Adventures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We keep returning to different variations and offshoots from our original space unit, “Our Place in Space.” We’ve also done “Earth, Moon, and Stars,” but this time we focused on the folks who make space travel possible. There’s science and biography here as well as some science fiction—all with a focus on astronauts and spaceships. The image above shows the LEGO set my elder daughter got for Christmas: Women of NASA. It’s incredibly inspiring to read about the work required to make these characters’ dreams of space possible, and I have a feeling we’ll be looking to the stars in another list soon.

  1. ABC’s from Space by Adam Voiland
  2. Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann
  3. Astronaut Handbook Meghan McCarthy
  4. Astronaut Scott Kelly: My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly and André Ceolin
  5. The Best Book of Spaceships by Ian Graham
  6. Black Stars in Orbit: NASA’s African American Astronauts by Khephra Burns and William Miles
  7. Buzz Aldrin: Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin and Wendell Minor
  8. Catstronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington
  9. Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds and Ryan O’Rourke
  10. Footprints on the Moon by Alexandra Siy
  11. Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
  12. National Geographic Little Kids’ First Big Book of Space by Catherine Hughes and David Aguilar
  13. Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin and Wendell Minor
  14. Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and Stasia Burrington
  15. Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelly and C.F. Payne
  16. Mousetronaut Goes to Mars by Astronaut Mark Kelly and C.F. Payne
  17. My First Book of Space, Developed in Conjunction with NASA by Rosanna Hansen and Robert Bell
  18. Sally Ride: Life on a Mission by Sue Macy
  19. This Is the Way to the Moon by M. Sasek
  20. To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space by Carmella Van Vleet, Dr. Kathy Sullivan, and Nicole Wong
  21. Who Was Sally Ride? by Megan Stine
  22. Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Adventures by Chris Barton and Don Tate
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Inventors and Inventions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we enjoyed the stories of specific inventions and inventors (the paper bag particularly stuck with my kids), one of the most interesting parts of this study was the process. Even in the fantastical accounts of inventing, the inventors had to work through the scientific method, endure failures, and recover from setbacks on the way to making amazing things. The stories below include biography, history, science, and fiction, but they all emphasize the importance of persistence in problem solving.

  1. Watch The Absent-Minded Professor
  2. All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine by Monica Kulling and Bill Slavin
  3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
  4. Watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  5. Watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  6. Eat My Dust! Henry Ford’s First Race by Monica Kulling and Richard Walz
  7. Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd
  8. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmeah and Melissa Sweet
  9. How Nearly Everything Was Invented by the Brainwaves
  10. Incredible Inventions poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
  11. Invention by DK Eyewitness
  12. The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford by Suzanne Slade and Jennifer Black Reinhardt
  13. In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up by Monica Kulling and David Parkins
  14. Inventor McGregor by Kathleen Pelley and Michael Chesworth
  15. Leonardo and the Flying Boy: A Story about Leonardo Da Vinci by Laurence Anholt
  16. Listen Up! Alexander Graham Bell’s Talking Machine by Monica Kulling and Richard Walz
  17. Mad Margaret Experiments with the Scientific Method by Eric Braun and Robin Boyden
  18. Play Hasbro’s Mousetrap
  19. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis and Gilbert Ford
  20. Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci by Gener Barretta
  21. Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta
  22. Oh, the Things They Invented! All About Great Inventors by Bonnie Worth, Aristides Ruiz, and Joe Mathieu
  23. Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming and Boris Kulikov
  24. Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy
  25. Watch Robots
  26. Robots, Robots, Everywhere! by Sue Fliess and Bob Staake
  27. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
  28. Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
  29. Wendel’s Workshop by Chris Riddell
  30. Watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory


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An Epic Adventure in Greece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our unit study of Greece turned out to be a long one because there are so many great stories out there. While I started with and wanted to include some contemporary stories about Greece, my children were enthralled by the mythological tales. This list is a mix of modern and mythological, with more emphasis on the latter, though there’s a bit of science, math, and geography in here too. I always feel that a list has been successful when my children incorporate it into their play, and even after finishing this one, my younger daughter still runs around the yard shouting “I have the strength of Hercules!” Our captivation with these stories from a place rich in history and culture speaks to the enduring strength of Greece.

  1. The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Athens by Lisa Manzione and Kristine Lucco
  2. Aesop’s Fables illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
  3. Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Osborne
  4. Be Patient, Pandora! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli
  5. The Best Book of Ancient Greece by Belinda Weber
  6. Christmas in Greece by World Book
  7. Color Crayola’s Greek Flag
  8. Count Your Way through Greece by Jim Haskins, Kathleen Benson, and Janice Lee Porter
  9. Cupid and Psyche by M. Charlotte Craft and K. Y. Craft
  10. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
  11. Echo Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer and Josée Masse
  12. Favorite Greek Myths by Mary Pope Osborne and Troy Howell
  13. The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides by Susan Reynolds and Daniel Minter
  14. The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki
  15. Greece by C.I.A. World Factbook
  16. Hercules by Robert Burleigh and Raul Colón
  17. The Hero and the Minotaur: The Fantastic Adventures of Theseus by Robert Byrd
  18. Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca
  19. I Am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein
  20. I Have an Olive Tree by Eve Bunting by Karen Barbour
  21. The Iliad by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer
  22. King Midas and the Golden Touch by Charlotte Craft and K.Y. Craft
  23. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky and Kevin Hawkes
  24. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
  25. Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz, Amy Shrodes, and Sue Cornelison
  26. The Odyssey by Homer and Manuela Adreani
  27. The Odyssey by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer
  28. The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony Manna, Soula Mitkakidou, and Giselle Potter
  29. Pandora by Robert Burleigh and Raul Colón
  30. Pegasus by Marianna Mayer and K.Y. Craft
  31. Pegasus, the Flying Horse by Jane Yolen and Li Ming
  32. Mice, Morals, & Monkey Business: Lively Lessons from Aesop’s Fables by Christopher Wormel
  33. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale by Anthony Manna, Christodoula Mitakidou, and Giselle Potter
  34. Mythological Monsters of Ancient Greece by Sara Fanelli
  35. The Pomegranate Seeds by Laura Geringer and Leonid Gore
  36. The Rabbit and the Turtle by Eric Carle
  37. Watch Rick Steves’ Greece & Turkey
  38. This is Greece by M. Sasek
  39. The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War by Emily Little and Michael Eagle
  40. Usborne Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery and Linda Edwards
  41. What’s Your Angle Pythagoras? A Math Adventure by Julie Ellis and Phyllis Hornung
  42. Who Was Alexander the Great? by Kathryn Waterfield and Robin Waterfield


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Aloha, Hawaii!

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I started this list because of all the buzz about Moana; while I realize that film is not totally rooted in Hawaiian culture, I wanted my children to have a deeper understanding of the rich history of one of the Polynesian islands than a single film (however dominant in the marketplace) could provide. What follows is a list that delves into the historical, geological, and mythological stories of Hawaii. There are stories that focus on native peoples, colonialism, Pearl Harbor, and President Obama, as well as tales that tell of contemporary, everyday life on the islands. There are stories of the volcanoes and wildlife that make the islands unique. And there are, of course, stories from the mythological tradition (many about Maui that, my elder daughter noted, did not make it into the Disney movie). As always, I appreciate the interdisciplinary approach of this list and the way it illustrates a place with a rich history that is by no means confined to the past.

  1. A is for Aloha: A Hawai’i Alphabet by U’ilani Goldsberry and Tammy Yee
  2. The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Maui! by Lisa Manzione and Kristine Lucco
  3. Aloha Is… by Tammy Paikai and Rosalie Prussing
  4. Children of Hawaii by Frank Staub
  5. Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan and Lillian Hsu-Flanders
  6. Goodnight Hawaiian Moon by Dr. Carolan and Joanna F. Carolan
  7. Grandma Calls Me Beautiful by Barbara Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
  8. Listen to Hawaiian Playground by Putumayo Kids Presents
  9. Hawai’i: The Aloha State by Jill Foran
  10. Hawaii: The Aloha State by Emily Oachs
  11. The Hawai’i Snowman by Christine Lê and Michel Lê
  12. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by M.C. Hall
  13. How Māui Slowed the Sun by Suelyn Ching Tune and Robert Yoko Burningham
  14. Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono
  15. The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Ka’iulani of Hawai’i by Fay Stanley and Diane Stanley
  16. The Legend of the Kukui Nut by Robert Brandon Henderson and Mark McKenna
  17. Legends of Landforms: Native American Lore and the Geology of the Land by Carole G. Vogel
  18. Little Princess Ka’iulani in Her Garden in the Sea by Ellie Crowe and Mary Koski
  19. Māui and the Secret of Fire by Suelyn Ching Tune and Robert Yoko Burningham
  20. The Menehune of Naupaka Village: A Hawaiian Fairy Tale by Christopher Sur and Gary Kato
  21. The Musubi Man: Hawai’i’s Gingerbread Man by Sandi Takayama and Pat Hall
  22. Pearl Harbor by Stephen Krensky and Larry Day
  23. Pele and Poli’ahu: A Tale of Fire and Ice by Malia Collins and Kathleen Peterson
  24. Pele and the Rivers of Fire by Michael Nordenstrom
  25. Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai’i by Gerald McDermott
  26. A President from Hawai’i by Dr. Terry Carolan, Joanna Carolan, and Elizabeth Zunon
  27. Punia and the King of Sharks: A Hawaiian Folktale by Lee Wardlaw and Felipe Davalos
  28. South Pacific Mythology by Jim Ollhoff
  29. The Story of Hula by Carla Golembe
  30. The Surprising Things Maui Did by Jay Williams and Charles Mikolaycak
  31. Tales of Tutu Nene and Nele by Gale Bates and Carole Hinds McCarty
  32. Tsunami: The True Story of an April Fools’ Day Disaster by Gail Langer Karwoski and John MacDonald
  33. The Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai’i by Jama Kim Rattigan and Carla Golembe
  34. Young Princesses around the World: A Story Based on the Real Life of Princess Liliuokalani of Hawaii by Joan Holub and Nonna Aleshina
  35. Who Is Barack Obama? by Roberta Edwards and John O’Brien


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Earth, Moon, and Stars

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[Disclaimer: Based on my daughter’s artwork, above, an asteroid will obliterate the earth, rendering this list unnecessary.]

This list repeats a little of “Our Place in Space,” but it’s primarily an extension of that content because my kids are really into space. In addition to using some great, clear nights to use our telescope, we developed this list to enhance our understanding of space with stories about the earth, moon, and stars. Some of the texts are scientific non-fiction; others are myths and legends; others still are historical and biographical. I love the way these different kinds of stories intersect across disciplines and reveal so many different perspectives of the world, our place within it, and our role in the big picture of space.

 

Earth

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids by Seymour Simon

Watch The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That: Space is the Place

Destination: Space by Seymour Simon

The Earth Is Painted Green: A Garden of Poems about Our Planet edited by Barbara Brenner and illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Earth: Our Planet in Space by Seymour Simon

Earth Tales from Around the World by Michael J. Caduto and Adelaide Murphy Tyrol

First Earth Encyclopedia by DK Publishing

Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Watch Nutmeg Media’s Living Sunlight

On Earth by G. Brian Karas

Our Solar System by Seymour Simon

Planet Earth/Inside Out by Gail Gibbons

Watch DK Eyewitness’s Planets

The Planets by Gail Gibbons

Saturn by Seymour Simon

What Makes Day and Night by Franklyn M. Branley and Arthur Dorros

You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth by Patricia Lauber and Holly Keller

What’s So Special about Planet Earth? by Robert E. Wells

 

Moon

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann

Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher and Kate Kiesler

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty and Steven Kellogg

The Man Made of Stars by M. H. Clark and Lisa Evans

The Moon by Seymour Simon

Moon by Steve Tomecek and Liisa Chauncy Guida

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons

Moonday by Adam Rex

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle

Phases of the Moon by Gillia M. Olson and Jo Miller

Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons by Joseph Bruchac, Jonathan London, and Thomas Locker

What the Moon is Like by Franklyn M. Branley and True Kelley

 

Stars

How the Stars Fell into the Sky: A Navajo Legend by Jerrie Oughton and Lisa Desimini

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

Jump into Science: Stars by Steve Tomecek and Sachiko Yoshikawa

Our Stars by Anne Rockwell

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee

The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklyn M. Branley and Edward Miller

 


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Daydreams and Downpours: A Cloud List

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Our clouds list is a spin-off from our “Whatever the Weather” study. There’s a bit of science here mixed with a bit of silliness as the literary and poetic interpretations of clouds come into play. While some of the weather descriptions get a bit whacky in the resources here, we appreciated the way that science and art intersect. Clouds help us read the weather, but they’re also the province of daydreamers, and the items below pay homage to both of those roles.

  1. The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola
  2. Cloud Dance by Thomas Locker
  3. The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool and Alison Jay
  4. Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham, and Juan Winjgaard
  5. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
  6. Clouds: Compare and Contrast by Katharine Hall
  7. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
  8. Watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  9. It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
  10. Little Cloud by Eric Carle
  11. Once Upon a Cloud by Claire Keane
  12. Weather Clues in the Sky: Clouds by Belinda Jensen and Renée Kurilla


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Whatever the Weather

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My kids particularly liked Bel the Weather Girl from this list, and I appreciate her book’s efforts to inform while demystifying weather events that often seem scary. The resources below are largely practical, with the definitions of key weather terms, the science behind the storms, and the strategies for reading the weather and staying safe. All our talk about forecasting and storms also brought up some interesting points—like the way meteorology gives us so much critical data to live our daily lives in ways that weren’t possible before advanced forecasting. It’s easy to take all this information for granted, but our list helped us understand a little more of the complex science of weather and its effects on our lives every day.

  1. Boy, Were We Wrong about the Weather! by Kathleen Kudlinski and Sebastià Serra
  2. Everything Weather by Kathy Furgang and Tim Samaras
  3. Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll by Franklyn Branley and True Kelley
  4. The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad
  5. Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today? All about Weather by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz
  6. On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World’s Weather by Marilyn Singer and Frané Lessac
  7. A Party for Clouds: Thunderstorms by Belinda Jensen and Renée Kurilla
  8. Raindrops on a Roller Coaster: Hail by Belinda Jensen and Renée Kurilla
  9. The Sky Stirs Up Trouble: Tornadoes by Belinda Jensen and Renée Kurilla
  10. Spinning Wind and Water: Hurricanes by Belinda Jensen and Renée
  11. Watch Tell Me Why: Water & Weather
  12. The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow and Margaret Bloy Graham
  13. W is for Wind: A Weather Alphabet by Pat Michaels and Melanie Rose
  14. Weather by Seymour Simon
  15. Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons
  16. What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda DeWitt and Carolyn Croll