Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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GENERAL DISCUSSIONS > educational fiction beyond historical fiction

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Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) What I want is scientific fiction. Not SF, but a MGbook that teaches biology, botany, chemistry, geology, geography physics, or math, or even art or language arts, in a fictional narrative. Like The Phantom Tollbooth, or The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure.

I suspect I could find a few by digging around on Listopia or the web, but I'd like especially to know of any that any of you have actually read & enjoyed.


message 2: by Christine (last edited Jan 24, 2015 05:57PM) (new)

Christine | 28 comments George's Secret Key to the Universe George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy Hawking might be worth looking into. It is Written by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking. There are two additional titles in the series.


message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia Flaherty | 15 comments The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly contains some good science, but there is a lot of other content too. It's a great book, and worth a read, but may not be scienc-y enough.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is indeed a wonderful book, with some science. Thanks for remembering it!

I'll have to look at the Hawkings' books, thank you Christine.


message 5: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
It's a delicate balance for a work of fiction to do that without feeling like a thinly disguised textbook (I actually felt that way about Phantom Tollbooth, which I never read until my kids were that age).

There are a lot of books that by their settings teach a fair bit of history and geography, but sometimes it's tricky to sort out the fact from the fiction.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Danny Dunn, Scientific Detective books, iirc, were fun, and the science was as true as the author's research could make it to be, I believe.


message 7: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments Thinking about this one, Cheryl . . . thought of the Magic Treehouse series, for younger readers, but I think most of those focused on Geography/history.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Oh, and your terrific Librarian on the Roof! A True Story almost qualifies, as it's an account of an heroic action by a not-famous person in the modern (not historical) era.


message 9: by M.G. (last edited Jan 26, 2015 05:17AM) (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments Thanks Cheryl!

I've been wracking my brain over your question -- a lot of agents and editors are asking for these kinds of manuscripts, so there is definitely opportunity for writers in this niche.

A book I've been wanting to read by Clare Vanderpool (author of Moon Over Manifest) is Navigating Early. I've heard it uses the concept of pi as a theme or backdrop for the book, but I'm not sure how big a part of the overall story it is.

Also, there is the The Absolute Value of Mike, which contains some math concepts, although it's not a big part of the story.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) I'm glad to hear that the demand exists, that I'm not the only one interested.

I know some stories that mention math & science peripherally, too, and if I remember what they are I'll add them here. Thanks for any titles you do remember, and I'll look into Navigating and Mike.


message 11: by S. (new)

S. Smith | 30 comments Cheryl wrote: "What I want is scientific fiction. Not SF, but a MGbook that teaches biology, botany, chemistry, geology, geography physics, or math, or even art or language arts, in a fictional narrative. Like [b..."

Cheryl, I think my book Treasure https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... qualifies for what you are looking for. However, I'm the author, so I suppose I'm biased :). I wrote it while I was teaching middle school and consulted with the 6th grade science and gardening teacher to make sure the botany elements were okay. I just changed this book to free a few weeks ago (amazon, ibooks, nook, etc.), so feel free to take a look at it.


message 12: by Brenna (new)

Brenna (brenna_pappert) try Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith's Nick and Tesla series, I believe there are 4 of them I believe. If you google Bob Pflugfelder, he goes by Science Bob and is actually a science teacher.

Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove: A Mystery with a Blinking, Beeping, Voice-Recording Gadget Glove You Can Build Yourself


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Thanks folks!


message 14: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (hollyshort) The Nick and Tesla series is good. My favorite it still Simon Bloom the Gravity Keeper. There is one print sequel, Octopus Effect, then there's a third title that is only an ebook.


message 15: by R.S. (new)

R.S. Mellette (rsmellette) | 3 comments Hi Cheryl,

I know it's bad form to hock my own book, but I've felt the same way for quite sometime. I also got sick of seeing vampires, werewolves and witches in the sci-fi (or Science Fiction if you prefer) section. That's why I wrote Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand. The lead characters use quantum physics, computer programming/math theory, and microbiology to create a magic wand.

Basically, I poured in my love of science into a book about magic. :)


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Intriguing - thank you.


message 17: by Christine (new)

Christine | 28 comments Have you seen this website? Neat stuff there for stem themed fiction:
http://stemread.niu.edu


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) I've not - thank you for the link.


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