nonfiction nuggets…extraordinary kids who loved science

the kid who named pluto cover imageThe Kid Who Named Pluto and the Stories of Other Extraordinary Young People in Science, by Marc McCutcheon, illustrated by Jon Cannell

When Robert Goddard was a young boy, frequent illness caused him to miss a great deal of school.  He used the time to read and imagine.  His inventor father, pleased with his son’s curiosity, kept him supplied with equipment — a telescope, a microscope, and a miniature lab which proved to be quite explosive!  Goddard continued to pursue scientific experimentation and musings into his high school years, doggedly pursuing his dream of space travel despite zero encouragement from the scientific establishment.  In the end, of course, he became “one of the greatest aerospace engineers in history.”  We call him the father of space flight.

Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard

At age 11, Venetia Burney took all she new of mythology, mulled it diligently, and came up with an exceedingly clever name for the planet that had just been discovered.  When she submitted her idea to the scientists at Lowell Observatory, they were delighted, and named the planet, Pluto.  Want to know why she chose it?  You can find out in this book.

Did you know that Isaac Asimov was a voracious reader who wrote gobs of stories beginning at age 11 and was published, finally, after years of hard work, at age 18?

Or that Philo Taylor Farnsworth was just 14 when he came up with the design for the first television?

Venetia Burney

Venetia Burney

This fascinating, energizing book tells the stories of nine young people who did not think science was only for their elders!  Their curiosity and tenacity led them into amazing fields of work — discovering sea monster skeletons, creating elaborate secret codes, developing Braille type — as teenagers and at even younger ages.  It is thrilling to read about the particular, uncommon interests each one possessed from a young age, and how they persevered — reading, writing,  studying, experimenting, building, digging — with such passion until they achieved their dreams.

Each story is fairly short — 4 to 10 heavily illustrated pages — and very engagingly written.  Page layouts, llustrations, colors, photographs, all work together very nicely to make the book look as appealing as it reads.  A nice list for further reading is also included.

Especially if you have a child intrigued by any scientific area, this is a captivating read.  However, philo farnsworth postage stampits enthusiastic portrayal of pursuing dreams at  young ages cuts across any boundaries.  Arts, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, social activism, you name it — the sky’s the limit for young people.  Read this book with your mid-elementary age kids, and let the dreaming begin!

Here’s an Amazon link:  The Kid Who Named Pluto: And the Stories of Other Extraordinary Young People in Science