Fuse #8

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Earth Below Us, Drifting Falling. Floating Weightless, Coming Coming Home.

I was speaking with an editor the other day when, while discussing an upcoming sci-fi novel, the topic of science in children's books came up. Thus it was that I was told about the site Science In Kids Books. It's hosted by one Ms. Marianne Dyson, a former NASA Flight Controller. She reviews children's books for scientific accuracy saying, "I hope that the book reviews below will help young people (and educators) choose nonfiction books that are accurate, and science fiction books that will not fill their heads with misconceptions such as that a lack of air produces weightlessness." For a fee she'll even take a gander at your manuscript, just in case you mentioned something mistakenly nutty like, "the moon has a dark side." So just in case you were wavering on whether or not Earth To Stella had any legitimate scientific basis, here's the place to check up on it. Nice lengthy reviews too. Just my cup of tea.

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At 2:55 PM , Blogger Charlotte said...

Thanks for the link! I enjoyed the somewhat acerbic tone of the reviews very much!

At 2:55 PM , Blogger Charlotte said...

Thanks for the link! I enjoyed the somewhat acerbic tone of the reviews very much!

At 10:47 AM , Anonymous Adam said...

I have to admit I found Ms. Dyson's site to be a little persnickety. Maybe we read different reviews–-I was drawn to the least positively rated books, too see what Dyson's objections were. Checking for scientific accuracy those books which purport to present serious science, or which present a mix of serious science and sci-fi sounds great, but that's not all Dyson is doing here.

In a typical review, she writes about FIRST GRADERS FROM MARS #4, an early reader about learning not to be bossy. This book is clearly just using space and aliens to engage readers and make the more mundane lessons go down easier. Nonetheless, Dyson questions the amount of biodiversity among the first graders, specifically mentioning the coloring of a blue and purple alien as unlikely to confer an evolutionary advantage. And she worries that the book will give kids an unrealistic view of Mars as a hospitable, rather than hostile, environment. I don't think early readers are in any more danger of learning lessons about the Martian environment from this book than they are of learning that frogs and toads walk unpright and wear clothes from reading Arnold Lobel. She presents all her objections with good humor, but they still come across as honest objections to me.

Again, I think it's a good idea for a website--I just think she's overreaching a bit.

At 7:02 AM , Anonymous College Term Papers said...

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