Much more to come here.  When my oldest daughter was in middle school she started to peel away from fiction and favor nonfiction books, science in particular and books about the history of NASA.  There are some students who just don’t enjoy fiction.  She turned out okay, is completing her PhD in Medical Physics and Bioastronautics at MIT.  She’s the one who got me reading science nonfiction and astronaut and scientist biographies.  I still can’t get her to read fantasy . . . sigh.

Nick ArnoldHorrible Science series: Blood, bones, and body bits, Chemical Chaos, Disgusting Digestion, Fatal Forces, Nasty Nature, Ugly Bugs

When I was an elementary librarian, a parent from England told me about these books.  Written in factoid plus short paragraph form with silly illustrations, these are fun science books.  They read almost like a comic, but not.  Great for elementary through middle school and very informative.

Leslie Dendy and Mel BoringGuinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine

This book is written like a story collection and is quite interesting.  The authors focus on a few cases that have detailed records.  One chapter is titled, “The Sad Story of Laughing Gas” and explains how two dentists experimented on themselves inhaling different gasses in an attempt to deaden pain.

Jeanette Farrell Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease

The author explains seven diseases and advances in the treatment of the disease.  She covers, smallpox, leprosy, plague, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, and AIDS.  Each chapter is presented with straight forward information that is very interesting.

Jeanette Farrell Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives

Each chapter opens with a quote.  The chapter on the joys of cheese and the lovely microbes that create this wonder opens with, “Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality. – Clifton Fadiman”.  Cheese, bread, chocolate and other foods that utilize microbes to come into being are covered in such an enthusiastic manner.

Ira FlatowThey All Laughed . . . From Light Bulbs to Lasers: The Fascinating Stories Behind the Great Inventions That Have Changed Our Lives

Each invention is covered in a mere few pages.  Included are the discovery and invention of Velcro, Teflon, Vaseline, and Silly Putty.  The book does not have to be red in its entirety.  I intended to read a few chapters here and there and ended up reading the entire book.  Good for use with the study of inventions.

Stephen HawkingThe Universe in a Nutshell                         

When my daughter was in high school, we drove several hours to Texas A&M University to attend a lecture given by the esteemed Dr. Stephen Hawking.  Every seat in Rudder Auditorium was sold and the audience was the quietest I have ever witnessed with everyone intently listening to every computer generated word.  I took notes – that is how I concentrate and learn.  During that evening and the ride back while my daughter further explained physics principles, I felt smart.  During those few hours, I actually understood Dr. Hawking and physics.  Unfortunately, the newly found knowledge quickly leaked out of my sieve of a brain.  My daughter is still into physics and finishing her PhD in Medical Physics and Bioastronautics at MIT.   When I want to feel smart, I get out the lecture notes and reread The Universe in a Nutshell to try to recapture the evening of brilliance.  He wrote A Brief History of Time before The Universe in a Nutshell.  I think the Universe in a Nutshell is intended to be a very little bit more for the layman and has many more illustrations that help explain the concepts.

Deborah Noyes One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals – The Human-animal Bond in Myth, History, Science, and Story

That title is long enough to explain exactly what this book is about!  The first part of the book delves into the history of our relationship with various species and the second part examines our bond today and tomorrow.  The majestic photographs of the animals are a bonus.