By Twenty-First Century Books Editorial Director Domenica DiPiazza
As TFCB’s editorial director, I love seeing each new season’s books on parade, and Fall 2017 is no exception. This season, the imprint has a fantastic lineup of STEM teen nonfiction books. STEM integration is a vital part of K-12 education, and helping students discern fact from fiction is more important than ever. These are definitely books to add to your collection.
This title by Karen Romano Young follows cetologists as they investigate the whale life cycle, behavior, habitat, and threats to survival. Readers meet individual whales and researchers, learn about high-tech tools for studying whales in their natural environment—think submersibles—about whales in pop culture and literature, and about how to get involved in saving whales. Two species are endangered. Do you know which ones?
This has to be the book that stretched my mind the most this season. Author Sara Latta makes the science of black holes seem, if not easy, at least accessible. Plus it’s fun and sometimes even funny. For example, who wouldn’t laugh after learning that Danish physicist Niels Bohr is said to have noted that if you can understand quantum physics without getting dizzy, you haven’t understood it at all. (Depending on the source, this idea is quoted slightly differently.) Believe me, I was dizzy while I edited the book!
Okay, so I also got dizzy reading this book about how to reverse the warming of the planet. It covers everything from sun shields to cloud seeding to massive olivine-spreading projects to carbon capture technologies. Author Jennifer Swanson tells me the scientists in the field were eager to talk to her, so there’s plenty of primary source information in this book.
Author Melissa Koch takes readers into the world of additive manufacturing technology. You know, all the goo and filaments and bioinks and sintering and printer heads and platforms and amazingly creative people that it takes to design and 3D print toys and food and clothing and cars and motorcycles and cell-based tissues and orthodontics and so much more. Learn about the entrepreneurs in the field—including Alexis Lewis, a teen girl who designed and printed a lifesaving kit for people trapped in fires. Discover how it all got started (in Chuck Hull’s kitchen!) and where it’s likely to go. And visit your nearest media center or local library. There may be a 3D printer there already.
If you’ve seen the movies Her (2013) or Ex Machina (2015), you have a sense of where AI can take us. In fact, AI is already here. Think about all the smart things your car can do for you or the self-driving tour bus you maybe rode in the nation’s capital this summer. Stephanie Sammartino McPherson’s book takes readers back in time to learn about the roots of AI technology, the science of AI, and the ethical questions that come out of AI technology. It’s engaging, thoughtful, must-have reading for your library.
What teen nonfiction books have you been reading lately? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!