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Mars 2020 Launch

“An edge-of-your-seat adventure story about the relentless team who gave us our first in-depth look at the Martian landscape. Filled with awesome pictures from NASA and the author's personal collection, this is a stellar addition to the Scientists in the Field series about the planet, Mars.”


- Grade 7 to 9 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:


It’s so exciting to have another Rover Exploration mission set to go to the Red Planet! NASA’s MARS 2020 mission is set to launch on Thursday, July 30, 2020. The launch window ends August 15, 2020 if they are to meet the planned landing date on the planet of Mars of February 18, 2021. (For more information: ) With the mission just days away, we chose to highlight Alexandra Siy’s book, Cars on Mars-Roving the Red Planet, as our S.T.E.M. book for July and August. The MARS 2020 mission includes the launch of a new Rover, Perseverance and a Helicopter called Ingenuity to the planet. Good for Grades 5-8, it is a great resource for learning about robotics as well as the planet Mars and space exploration.





From Booklist – Gr5 to Gr8


“*Starred Review* In 2004, two unusual robots landed on Mars: Spirit and Opportunity. Controlled by scientists at NASA, the golf-cart-sized, remote-controlled rovers roll slowly across the planet's terrain, collect, and analyze geological samples, and transfer data (including pictures) back to earth. Although the rovers were designed to last for 90 days, they continue to work more than five years later. In this welldesigned book, Siy provides a clearly written overview of the rovers' explorations on Mars. The inclusion of many quotes from astronomer Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the Mars rover mission, offers a scientist's point of view on day-to-day challenges and rewards of the project, which succeeded in finding traces of water in the planet's geological record. The book's fine paper quality allows for excellent reproduction of the well-captioned illustrations: photos taken on earth, color and black-and-white images from Mars, artistic conceptions of space scenes, as well as a clearly labeled diagram of a Mars rover. Appendixes include a bibliography, a glossary, a brief source note, and a page of additional information with pointers to related Web sites, including one that tracks the current status of Spirit and Opportunity. Handsome and informative.” --Phelan, Carolyn Copyright © 2009 Booklist. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal – Gr5 to Gr8


“Dubbed Spirit and Opportunity in a naming contest won by a nine-year-old, the two golf-cart-sized rovers sent to Mars in 2003 were designed to last for three months. Battered but game, they're still inching along all these years later. Here Siy not only pays affectionate tribute to their longevity-titling her final chapter "Shake off the dust, recharge at the rest area, and continue indefinitely"-but also describes and explains in exact detail their most stirring discovery: strong evidence that water once "drenched, dribbled, dripped, doused, trickled, gushed, and poured" on the Martian surface. An array of large illustrations includes a labeled diagram that identifies all of the rovers' scientific gear, plus color photos, photo composites, and (carefully identified) artists' conceptions of Martian vistas, craters, rocks, and even microscopic features. Closing with plenty of useful end matter and a full-page planetary portrait, this title will sweep readers up in an exploratory mission that has come closer than any other so far to finding sure signs of extraterrestrial life.- John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.” --John Peters, New York Public Library, NY – Copyright © 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. All rights reserved.

“In his debut picture book, Motum brings the story of NASA's beloved Mars rover Curiosity to life in vivid color. Full of eye-catching retro illustrations, this book is sure to fascinate budding space explorers and set inquisitive minds soaring. Full color.”



– Grades 3 –7 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:


BOOKS ABOUt National Inventors

“Beware of Mrs. Pluggins, the scary computer teacher. She has an electric personality, and might just shock you with it! YIKES!”


–Grade K to 1–

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:

“The magic school bus always teaches you lessons while making it exciting and quite zany. In this particular story, they are teaching you how to use computers, how computers work, and also why they are good to know about. The students in Ms. Frizzle's class go on another fieldtrip, this time into a computer. The class wants to find an easy way to do all of their jobs before school starts, so they use the help of a super computer and Carlos' brother, Mikey-a very computer savvy person. When they start to program the computer to do their jobs for them, they are in for a surprise. Ms. Frizzle decides the best way for them to learn about the computer I s to actually go inside of the computer. They are then taken on a wild ride in the mind of a super computer. This book teaches about computers, and a good way to learn the hands on way. The book, for younger kids, might be boring because of its length and storyline, but I think it's a good book for children who want to learn about computers.”


Grades 1 to 3


—Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



Brevard County Library link to locate this book: 

“A House With No Mouse uses rhyme and whimsical, yet vivid, cartoon-style illustrations to explore how common it is to live in a house with no (computer) mouse. Most importantly, this rhyming picture book informs readers of all ages that there are places in any community to use computers, including clubs, schools, and libraries.”


– Grades Pk to 2 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:



“Ka-splash! Head to the river, where a frolicsome bunch of otters play all year round in a nonfiction story sprinkled with facts — and loaded with fun.  It’s spring, and a litter of baby river otters emerges from a den . . . to play! Follow the otters through the seasons as they chase one another, slide down a mud bank, jump in a pile of leaves, and learn to swim. Even while catching fish for their dinner or grooming themselves in the snow, otters love to play — and Jonathan London’s lively text and Meilo So’s fluid watercolors invite you to share in the joy.”


–Grade K to 4–

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:

Sea Otters are a member of the weasel family and their fur contains over a million pieces of hair in just one square inch. They are the smallest marine mammal in North America, but they play a huge role in the marine ecosystem. Otters eat many of the animals that consume giant kelp, which helps to ensure that the kelp forests maintain healthy levels. These healthy kelp forests then help to provide both food and shelter for other animals in the marine ecosystem. We chose Utterly Otterly Day – written by Mary Casanova, and illustrated by Ard Hoyt as our new S.T.E.M. book because it presents educational information about otters to children in a way that they can relate to. This book tells the story of Little Otter and his journey throughout his day as he encounters predators and realizes that he needs his family after all. Good for Grades PK-3.




A Review from School Library Journal


Grades PK to 3


“Little Otter speeds through his day at breakneck pace, from the moment he wakes up and rouses his sleepy family to his spine-tingling sunset escape from a hungry cougar. In between, he eludes a falling tree, an eagle, a snapping turtle, and an angry fisherman. After each escape, he tells himself that "he's a big otter now," and swims away with typical preschooler bravado. His close call with the cougar leaves him shaken, however, and he retreats to the safety and comfort of the den. As he accepts some parental snuggles, he admits that "He needs his family—/no matter how big he grows." Alliteration and onomatopoeic phrases ("whippidy, slippiddy," "swishily swashily") combine to give a sense of the hustle and bustle of Little Otter's day. Sketchy watercolor drawings with multiple perspectives lend a feeling of constant movement, while the recurring image of a yellow butterfly ties the story together. As Little Otter falls asleep, he dreams of being carried away by a swarm of them, demonstrating that he is bold even in his sleep…”


—Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



Brevard County Library link to locate this book: 

“When an otter falls in love with a fish, can he dare to follow his heart? A delicious ode to nonconformity from a stellar picture-book pair. The day Otter found love, he wasn’t looking for it. He was looking for dinner. But then he gazed into the round, sweet, glistening eyes of Myrtle the fish, and he knew. "Impossible," he said. "I am in love with my food source." As for Myrtle, her first desire was: Please don’t eat me. But soon her heart awakened to a future she could never have imagined. The inseparable duo played hide-and-seek and told each other stories, but everyone said that was not the way of the otter. Could their love (and Myrtle) possibly survive? Aided by Chris Raschka’s illustrations in a fresh faux-naïf style, James Howe tells a warm, witty tale about finding kindred spirits in the oddest of places-and having the good sense to keep them.”


– Grades 1 to 4 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:



“An exhilarating introduction to the moves and history of airplanes. ‘White Clouds Blue Sky above Eagles fly…’ Cougars, Panthers, Camels, and Mosquitos. What do these animals have in common? Their names identify the historic airplanes that take flight at the spectacular airshow event. In simple, poetic words and skillfully reread illustrations, Anastasia Suen and Cecco Mariniello introduce the world of flight to children. Youngsters can follow their favorite airplanes as they take off and soar, swoop, creep, and leap about the pages of this book. So climb on board and come for a ride, but don’t forget to bring a jacket. It gets chilly in the skies!” 

–Grade K to 2-

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.

“Vivid colors dominate the paintings contrasted on opposite pages. . . For budding plane enthusiasts, the names of the actual planes are provided.”

– Grades PK to 1 –

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.

“A collection of biographies of ten American adventurers including Robert Peary, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, and Christa McAuliffe.”

– Grades 6 to 9 –

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.




“Richly textured and brightly colored illustrations fashioned from torn and cut papers attract attention to this simple story. Young Benny has five new pennies and is given five different ideas on how to spend them. His mother advises him to look for something beautiful; his sister suggests something nice to wear. Benny's brother tells him to buy something good to eat, which is   similar to the input given by his dog and cat. Clever Benny is able to fulfill all five requests and, in the process, gives a basic introduction to money and spending. The text's appealing repetition of phrases with slight variation in rhymes, together with the three-dimensional-like illustrations, makes this a perfect choice for story time read alouds.”

–Ages 4 to 6-

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.

“A great combination of a lesson learned while having fun. The 21st Street Sluggers decide to hold a car wash to raise money for new T-shirts for the play-offs. CJ becomes the self-appointed bookkeeper, collecting $3.50 from each customer and making change while the rest of the team does the actual washing. Change is made in numerous ways and profits are tallied both in totals and by types of coins. In the end, the money is raised and the kids are wet. Colorful illustrations both enhance the story line and elucidate the math lesson with clear tabulations for the money counting and change. Follow-up activities and a reading list are included.”

–Grades 2 to 3- 

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.

When both children and adults alike hear the word “math,” they often do not have positive feelings. However, math is an essential part of everyday life, whether you are purchasing a toy that you really want or paying bills. Reading stories about math are a great way to gain a child’s attention and keep them focused on learning something they may not particularly love. Harriet Ziefert’s book, You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime is the perfect fit for connecting an interesting story with learning math skills, which is why it is our S.T.E.M. book of the month for October. Ziefert covers essential topics such as spending, saving, and earning which make this book great for Grades 1-3.    

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.

“In this bright and bouncy concept book, the Pigs turn their house upside down looking for spare change so that they can go out to dinner. Readers are invited to count along as the porkers dig out cash from the socks drawer, pennies from under the bed, quarters from the closet, and a five-dollar bill from the washing machine. Answers are hidden in the illustrations. The Pigs' reward is a trip to the Enchanted Enchilada. The whole menu is reproduced, complete with prices, so readers can figure out what the family can afford to eat and how much money they will have left over. A final page recaps all the amounts and shows the multiplication and addition necessary to find the answers. The vibrant illustrations are done in yellow, turquoise, pink, orange, and green. Those hues, along with the cacti in the yard and the Mexican restaurant, give the book a Southwestern flair. The Pigs are wildly dressed, from the daughter's fishnet stockings to the father's floppy black-and-white bow tie. After they have heard the story once, children will enjoy going back and studying the pictures. An entertaining tool for reinforcing math skills that should be especially useful in whole-language curriculum.

–Grades 1 to 3-

Brevard County Library link.
Click here to locate this book.

OTHER stem books

AUGUST stem books


July 20, 2019, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the first man walking on the Moon! How amazing to be here today, living on the “Space Coast” of Florida and experiencing this historical event. We can only imagine what it was like for those who “lived” it in real-time. All kinds of celebrations commemorating the event have taken place or are planned, especially at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In fact, that first moonwalk by a person, our very own astronaut, Neil Armstrong, is such a huge historical occurrence for the entire world, that there are even exhibits and shows to see in other countries! For example, NASA partnered with the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia to host an exhibit specifically chronicling manned space flight there, while honoring Andrew Thomas, a recently retired NASA Astronaut who was born in Australia. There are many, many books, mostly non-fiction and biographical, written about the missions leading up to the moonwalk and beyond. We chose our highlighted book for the month to be, Margaret and the Moon – written by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Lucy Knisley. This children’s book is about Margaret Hamilton, who was great in math and after her studies, she is recognized as the person who handwrote programming code that would allow the spacecraft computer used for the Apollo missions, and ultimately the one that landed a man on the moon, to solve any problems it might encounter. Facts are presented with colorful, fun illustrations added in, making it a great read-aloud for younger children and independent reading or reading with support for children up to 3rd grade.

Neil Armstrong

Meet the Famous Astronaut

This is a biography of Neil Armstrong that is written specifically for children.

– Upper Grades–

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:

Summary: “In 1961, President Kennedy issued a challenge: before the end of the decade, the United States would land a person on the moon and return him safely to Earth—a bold proclamation at the time given that only one US astronaut had ever been to space, for just 15 minutes. To answer President Kennedy’s call, NASA embarked on the Apollo missions: a complicated, dangerous, and expensive adventure involving 400,000 people. Before the missions were over, NASA astronauts had made eleven Apollo flights, six of which landed on the moon, and eight astronauts had lost their lives.The Apollo Missions for Kids tells the story of this pivotal era in space exploration from the perspective of those who lived it—the astronauts and their families, the controllers and engineers, and the technicians and politicians who made the impossible possible. The book includes a timeline, resources for further study, and places to visit to see Apollo mission artifacts, along with 21 hands-on activities to better understand the missions and the science behind them.” – Grades 4-6 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book: 

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