George's Secret Key to the Universe
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George's Secret Key to the Universe (George #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,734 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George's parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published 2007)
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George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy HawkingIf You Lived Here by Giles LarocheBalloons Over Broadway by Melissa SweetChemistry by April Chloe TerrazasSnowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Best Children's Nonfiction
1st out of 166 books — 45 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingEclipse by Stephenie MeyerThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Best Books of 2007
193rd out of 572 books — 643 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 22, 2008 John rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: children-ya
Wow, what a disappointment. Hawking stoops (in both the avian and, to judge from the result, aristocratic senses of the word) to conquer a young audience, and lands hard on his beak.

This SF tale is festooned with science lessons, and is plainly intended to convince young readers of the importance of knowing the laws of physics--yet those laws are blown off over and over as the story goes along. Furthermore, there are these huge gaps in internal logic--for instance, young George's parents are suc...more
This book will teach the budding elementary school aged geek some of the newest theories about black holes. It will teach adults about Stephen Hawking's playful mind and sense of humor.

This book was written for those pre-geek second and third graders who read all the astronomy books in the j520 section of the library and then pester their parents, teachers and school librarians about the big bang, black holes, comets and life on other planets. I've done stints in elementary school libraries and...more
This is a banal and rudimentary story that shamelessly exploits Stephen Hawking’s reputation in order to increase sales. It tells the story of a young boy from an anti-technology family who goes on a wild ride through the universe with help of his neighbour’s supercomputer. This whole book is excessively didactic. The whole point seems to be to ram it down readers’ throats that science is wonderful and people who oppose technology are ignorant fools. The portrayal of the anti-science family is w...more
Pleasant adventure, with lots of humor and scientific information. I loved the actual photos of astronomical objects, and also the cute illustrations.
Lucy Hawking is a great speaker. I managed to attend a talk by her that was aimed at children 8-12 but was interesting for an adult as well. It is not easy to boil the immense ideas of physics and the nature of the universe down in to chunks that children can understand. After listening to Lucy Hawking speak I went straight out and bought this book. I have spent a couple of weeks readying a couple of chapters a night to my five year old boy. The fiction part of this this book is simple enough fo...more
What an easy way to study science in a intresting book. During the reading I learned things that I never thought would. Educational science was the principal idea of Lucy and Stephen the authors of this book. We should take care of our planet because if we dont it will be better difficult for us humans to find another place to leave. George secret key to the universe is a book that helps us reflect in our actions towards our planet. A lot of information is being transmitted to us thanks to the...more
I really thought this one was terrible. The science was interesting, but too much like science fiction, so that it seemed like fantasy. The writing was good enough, but some of the themes were disturbing. I think the ending was supposed to be a coming-together of all the different factions, but it message of the book seemed to be that environmentalists are against all technology and innovation, and that it’s okay if we destroy this planet because science can find us a new one.

I would love someon...more
Steve Rogers
When his pet pig disappears into his neighbor's garden, George stumbles into a house that has supposedly been abandoned for years. He soon discovers that there are in fact people living there called Eric and his daughter, Annie, who are both obsessed with science. George is unaware that this new friendship with these mysterious occupants will soon change his life forever, as he begins a journey that will take him across the universe and back again.

Eric has a computer called Cosmos. Cosmos is the...more
The adventures of George as he explores the universe with an unlikely computer named Cosmos; science lessons included.

I'm on the fence about this book. Plainly, it is meant to clothe the miracle of physics into language that children can understand but the laws of physics themselves are blown off at almost every plot point.

Then there's the part where a person gets sucked into a black hole but the super-computer speeds up time and sucks him back out again, putting him back together, particle by p...more
Warnie B.
I probably only liked this book 2-stars worth, but Hugh Dancy's reading ups it by a star, because that, at least, was pretty great. At the beginning, I loved this. It had a real fairy-tail-like quality to it, and it actually seemed very smart and funny. Only once we got to Eric's house, things quickly deteriorated. For me, at least. I found the lecture aspects of the dialogue really irritating, and the whole idea of Cosmos, this magical computer that can send you into outer space, a little too c...more
So the bf does physics and astrophysics at uni and he talks science. I am quite bad at science and there was no one happier than me when I did my last science class at uni, so when I saw this book I thought 'Stephen Hawking, yukky sciency stuff in junior novel form? This should be fun' Now I know a tiny tiny bit about planets and stars (The magic school bus was probably the first one to explain it in a way I understood when I was little and I took a cosmology class at uni and I didn't do so terr...more
Lisa the Librarian
Jan 24, 2009 Lisa the Librarian rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kids interested in science and/or space
Co-written by renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter, author, Lucy Hawking. The story is a fun adventure that explores the vastness of space and explores our solar system along with the daily drama of middle school.

I have mixed feelings about the portions of the book that were obviously contributed by Stephen. The facts were interesting and informative and helped the understanding of the universe. BUT the layout was a bit distracting. (Like those side bars and fact boxe...more
Kristy Powers
My 7-year-old really liked this chapter book. It's by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, and although it's fiction, it includes pages of data and full-color photos and images of space. It's a fun story. The writing is not the best I've read. Bits of the story annoy me. The sets of parents in the book are basically ridiculed for their different styles of parenting and the characters are pretty flat. BUT, it's still a good read for this age and has my child begging for more from STEPHEN HAWKING. So it's a...more
Ryan Patrick
I read this out loud to my kids. The plot of the story isn't very interesting, from an adult perspective, but my kids enjoyed it well enough. The science was interesting enough and will hopefully spark some further interest - this isn't meant to be the only science book your kid ever reads but the first of many. It teaches some basic cosmology and explores black holes in a little more detail. A friend of mine mentioned that this book had been compared to Sophie's World, but from what I understan...more
Anna Koumara
4,5 stars for this book, that I am actually professionally interested in it, and not read it just for fun.
We all know who Stephen Hawking is, he is known for his popular science books (like the Brief History of Time), but this actually a children's novel.
I think that these kind of books may bring more kids to science and make them want to follow science and engineering courses in college.
So, the heroes are George and Anna, two kids who are totally interested in the secrets of the Universe, as t...more
My mom sent this book to my son a few years ago, and as is true with most books recommended to him, he ignored it. (He's an avid reader, but only if he chooses the book himself.)

It was recently recommended to me by thoughtful booksellers at our local indie children's bookstore when I asked them for a good fiction book on space. Judging it by the fact that it needs to be accurate about space, and that it might be engaging to readers of a wide age range, this book is a clear winner. It does exact...more
When I went to the library the other day, I saw this book sitting on the middle-grade shelf. I still remember getting a few sample chapters of this book in England in a magazine, yet I never got around to reading it. As I am obsessed with physics and learning about space, I thought this would be a good book to read and I can safely say I absolutely adored it!

George's Secret Key to the Universe is about George, a little boy who is the son of two eco-friendly, planet saving activists who think sci...more
Recommended! Kind of like the Magic Tree House books, but it teaches science and outer space, instead of history or biographies. Both my 6yo daughter and I found it very interesting, compelling, and readable! (I read it out loud to her.)

George and his parents live in England and his parents are very into saving the Earth and eschewing technology. They have told him to stay out of the backyard of the house next door, which, apparently, is abandoned. The previous owner, an old man, went mysteriou...more
Carla Cove
Great book! I read this when our eldest son was 8yo and he still remembers much of the science he learned from it. I just finished reading this book to our 5yo and he was forever begging for the next chapter and telling all his friends about the story!! Very engaging and wonderful ideas generator.
my boys really loved this, they looked forward to bed time and loved all the facts and details. Great book and really well written.
Lori Cotton
Excellent book. My 8 year old read it, loved it, and is asking for more. It served as a well written introduction to Hawkings' research.
Melati Ramadhani
This book will be easily understood by children, because the language and the story is simple and well-told. This book also provide many illustrations, which relax the eye.

However, the simplicity doesn't reduce the fun of reading this book. The scientific theory about big bang which is being the the part of the story in this book, is easy to understand, even for children. Every school library should have this book on their bookshelves.

The author did a great job in making a complex scientific the...more
To begin with, I only read this book because it was nominated for (and has now been chosen as) an elementary selection for our county's Big Read type program. It's not one I would have likely picked up otherwise.

The book is a mix of science and science fiction and is about George, the son of hippy-ish parents who take living green to the point of using almost no modern technology. George becomes friends with his new next door neighbor Annie and her scientist father. Annie's dad has possession o...more
Yudhistira Perdana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
George's Secret Key to the Universe (Includes the Latest Ideas about Black Holes!) is a children's novel written by Lucy & Stephen Hawking. Yes, the Stephen Hawking. Having enjoyed and even marginally understood A Brief History of Time, I thought this would be a hoot.

As it turns out, the story and writing style are for a younger audience than the youth fiction I enjoy, Furthermore, the characters' frequent pauses to deliver information in spoken lecture format diminishes their credibility an...more
Given that English journalist and novelist Lucy Hawking has co-written her first children's book with none other than her father, the great theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, it is no wonder that it marries scientific fact with pure adventure fantasy.

Young George is the son of hippies who "enjoy dancing around maypoles, going on eco protests or grindng flour to make their own bread". Simce they don't subscribe to modern conveniences or anything involving science, George's life is pretty dull...more
It is so exciting to pick up a book with little expectation, only to be blown away by its originality, humor, and presentation. When I heard that Lucy Hawking and the renowned Stephen Hawking had coauthored a children’s book, I admit I was a little skeptical as to whether this title would connect well with its audience. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. George’s Secret Key to the Universe put me in mind of Judy Moody’s humor combined with Franny K. Stein’s passion for science and adventu...more
Avi Rosenfeld

I’m reading a book called George’s Secret Key To The Universe, by Lucy and Stephen Hawking.

This book is a science fiction novel and is a very interesting book that will keep you reading.
The book is a little over 300 pages but do not worry it is too interesting that you will not notice the many pages.

Georges secret key to the universe is a book about a boy named George Greenby who meets his new neighbors Annie, Eric, which is Annie’s dad, and the super computer Cosmos. With the help...more
I take pride in the fact that my kid has read his first Hawking book at age 7.

George's Secret Key to the Universe definitely succeeded in keeping Max interested and entertained. He was impressed at how we're made from the stuff of stars and he loved finding out how black holes work. He also now knows a little about the planets and the solar system and thinks that science in general is probably a fairly cool thing to learn more about.

For my part, I also learned a few things--how particles can esc...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Age Range:10-13
George’s well-intentioned parents have raised him in an eco-sensitive bubble; determined to save the planet they eschew modern conveniences and distrust scientific advances. George’s isolation from technology comes to an end when he tracks his run-away pet pig to his odd, new neighbors’ house and meets a scientist and Cosmos, the most powerful computer in the universe. Soon George is literally hurtling through space, learning enough about physics to save a life, thwart a self-inte...more
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Lucy Hawking is a novelist who has also written several children's books in collaboration with her father, physicist Stephen W. Hawking.
More about Lucy Hawking...
George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt George and the Big Bang The Accidental Marathon Jaded The Illustrated a Brief History of Time

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