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Planetary science

Fishman, Seth  A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Greenwillow

2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book. Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg. Fishman and Greenberg engagingly highlight the wondrousness of numbers, stars, and just about everything about our home planet. Fishman exchanges science writing’s traditional stiffness for a confiding tone. Greenberg, too, eschews physical correctness in her kinetic digital art: she presents kids who hoist the earth, fly around the world, and otherwise defy the laws of physics in order to illustrate the ideas presented.
Subjects: General Science and Experiments; Astronomy—Earth; Numbers

Aguilar, David A.  Seven Wonders of the Solar System
Gr. 4–6, middle school     80 pp.     Viking/Smithsonian

Astronomer Aguilar provides a fresh look at the solar system, focusing on features that interest researchers. In-depth discussions about the system’s formation, the importance of water, and possible life beyond Earth are woven into the descriptions of planets and moons. Colorful, dramatic images of planetary surfaces and outer space are included. Instructions for building a replica Mars volcano are appended. Reading list, websites. Ind.
Subjects: Astronomy; Astronomy—Solar system; Astronomy—Planets

Brown, Don and Perfit, Mike  Older Than Dirt: A Wild but True History of Earth
Gr. 4–6     104 pp.     Houghton

An extended conversation between a science-savvy groundhog and a new-to-Earth’s-history worm features a comprehensive overview of the geological past of our planet. The graphic format, light tone, and amusing repartee keep up the pace over the course of an impressive number of geology topics. Concrete examples and illustrations that combine science and humor make for an effective presentation of content. An appendix briefly addresses global warming. Timelines. Bib.
Subjects: Earth Science; Earth science—Geology; Astronomy—Earth; Graphic novels; Cartoons and comics; Humorous stories; Animals—Groundhogs; Animals—Worms

Latta, Sara  Black Holes: The Weird Science of the Most Mysterious Objects in the Universe
Middle school, high school     120 pp.     Twenty-First Century

This fact-filled yet conversational discussion covers the history of physics and astrophysics then details current research on black holes, including their structure and formation, gravity waves, Fermi bubbles, and the telescopes and technologies used to investigate distant objects. Biographical profiles of scientists are found throughout the text; photographs and diagrams help to explain the high-level concepts. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Astronomy; Astronomy—Black holes; Astrophysics

McAnulty, Stacy  Earth!: My First 4.54 Billion Years
Gr. K–3    40 pp.     Holt     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-250-10808-1

Illustrated by David Litchfield. This sweetly humorous picture book presents facts about the earth as told by Earth itself. Touching on its formation, place in the solar system, and inhabitants, the mixed-media illustrations depict a winsome Earth with a variety of facial expressions and accessories. The story briefly (and lightly) discusses pollution and conflict before ending positively. Factual back matter is included. Bib.
Subjects: Earth Science; Astronomy—Earth

From the September 2018 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book: 2018 BGHB Nonfiction Awards Edition. See more on the 2018 BGHB Award winners and honor books here.

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