Kids Book Review: “Beyond the Solar System”

It is probably a safe bet that even as children, Universe Today readers gazed at the night sky with awe and wonder. Did you wish upon the first star light, star bright in the sky? Cultures across time have spun tales around constellations – images projected on the night’s expanse based on our perceptions. As science and technology progressed we realized the vast depths of space are truly full of wonder. There’s an incredible array of amazing things to be discovered, researched and understood.

Beyond the Solar System: Exploring Galaxies, Black Holes, Alien Planets, and More; A History with 21 Activities by Mary Kay Carson is an informative and detailed book for both young and old alike. It is written for children and for the inquisitive child within us. The attention grabbing chapters span from space-time tricks and quasars to frothy galaxies. Even as an adult, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection.

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The images within the chapters are well appointed. For example, at the beginning of the book during a journey from prehistory-1600 you’ll find a fantastic Library of Congress image of the Great Bear constellation, joined by the British Library’s ancient Chinese Star Map, that dates back to the 600’s A.D. This reviewer will definitely be trying some of the activities explained among the chapters such as “Make a 3-D Starscape” found on page 32. This craft project demonstrates the artificial grouping we’ve given our constellations and shows that they are actually comprised of stars great distances from each other and us.

Perhaps the best review of this book comes from my 8 year old daughter. For the past week, she has been reading this book in the car while travelling to school. A recent morning’s question from the back seat was “What’s a pulsar?” She’s excited to try all of the activities; first up will be making a radio picture found on page 82 or turning a friend into a pulsar by spinning them in a chair with two flashlights on page 89. In addition to her “two thumbs” up eagerness to read this every morning, she simply stated “I love this book.”

I extend a thank you to the author for creating a fun, educational STEM source that attracted not only the attention of my science oriented 14 year old boy, but also my daughter, who is as equally bright, capable and curious about the world around her.

Eva Gallant

Eva Gallant,@GallantRI, is self employed living in Rhode Island with her family. She studied engineering and psychology in college. As a child she wanted to become an astronaut and finally caught a shuttle launch in person on the last launch ever. To this day science and space fascinate her on a daily basis.

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