Dr. Daniel Wallace is a human factors engineer for the U.S. Navy. He is active in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to children through demonstrations and teaches a science camp for a week every year at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Colonial Beach, VA. He is now in his 14th year as a member of the Westmoreland County Public School Board. He is also a musician, playing violin in the praise and worship band at his church.
We are very happy that he has agreed to share some of his favorite books with CRRL readers. To begin, here are favorites from his childhood:
Caroline Herschel had a very hard life early on. Born into a family of royal musicians in what is now Germany, two childhood illnesses left her face pockmarked and her body stunted. Her mother treated her very much as a servant while worrying that no man would ever want to marry her. In the 1700s, this was a real concern, for it was hard for women to make enough money to survive on their own. Caroline's life was pretty miserable as she was expected to do exhausting housework, including knitting stockings for everyone, over and over again.
Fortunately, Caroline’s older brother William wanted to help her. He had moved to England where he was working as a choral conductor and piano teacher. William had the idea that Caroline could learn to sing and be paid for it, and that is exactly what she did. But that is not where her story ends.
A boy and his mother are canoeing on a pond in the Adirondack Mountains. It is peaceful place, maybe even dull. Or, is it? The boy asks his mother, “What’s down there?”
So many things! His mother tells him about them, from the minnows, crayfish, and bullfrogs to beavers hunting “delectable roots” found in the mud and otters clawing for freshwater mussels.
And, over the pond? A great blue heron catches one of those minnows for his dinner. A moose munches a mouthful of waterlilies. As the sun sets, mother and son paddle back to shore and head for home. In the dark, life goes on at the pond. Raccoons come out to prowl, and catfish glide as they seek their suppers in the cool of the night.
Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Pond does several things very nicely. First, it tells a soothing story, perfect for bedtime. But it also introduces an ecosystem, making the science of living things and the secrets found below a pond’s surface very accessible, and it manages to do so without sounding like a textbook.
Rosie the Riveter is an icon, well-known for representing the scores of women who worked in munitions factories during World War II. Andrea Beaty gives a subtle nod to the original Rosie—and the powerful women she represents—in Rosie Revere, Engineer, her follow-up to Iggy Peck, Architect. Rosie Revere is a born engineer who loves creating intricate and unusual machines using parts she has salvaged from the trash. Her inventing has been a secret, though, ever since the day her Uncle Fred laughed at her snake repellant hat.
The CRRL is celebrating these “fin-tastic fish” at Fabulous Friday STEM classes in July for grades K-6. You will find out how sharks help maintain healthy oceans, range in size and shape, are threatened with extinction, and more. This is one of many activities that will help you complete the Shark Week mission and earn a badge and points for Summer Reading prizes.
England Run Branch
Friday, July 7, 2:00-2:45
Friday, July 14, 3:00-3:45
Friday, July 14, 2:00-2:45
Friday, July 21, 3:00-3:45
Salem Church Branch
Friday, July 21, 2:30-3:15 and 4:00-4:45
DK Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution worked together to create a fascinating book for kids (and adults) who are fascinated by the world around them. The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table makes what could be a dull subject very shiny indeed.
Sure, you have your basic periodic table for quick reference. But every element gets its spotlight, with truly interesting facts and many intriguing photos. Take iridium. It’s a shiny black metal that’s 22 times as dense as water. That’s heavy. You can find it in meteorites, compasses, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
Discovery Tables are back, all summer long! Drop into the Headquarters, England Run, Salem Church, Snow, and Porter branches for a rotating series of self-guided, discover-it-yourself STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities. Grades K-6.
When? June 15-25, June 29-July 9, July 13-23, July 27-August 6, August 10-20, during operating library hours.
-Gears, Gears, Gears! Gear up your engineering skills with simple mechanics.
-Build It Up! Design and build a unique structure using everyday items.
-Magnetic Magic! Use your imagination to create and build with colorful magnetic shapes.
-Sharks, Let's Get Chummy! Interesting facts about these misunderstood creatures.
-Shake It Up! Learn how scientists measure the magnitude of earthquakes.
This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. (catalog summary)
Have you read our Rappahannock Read, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly? If you have and you're looking for more titles like Hidden Figures, check these out! These selections include: history of the Space Race and women's achievements in science and other fields of STEM.
The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. (catalog summary)