Reviewed by Coralee Smith
Associate Professor Elementary Education and Reading
“What Does Space Exploration Do for Us?” What a great anticipatory book title and what a great book for young scientists and readers. Here they will discover what space exploration does for us! In fact, after my granddaughter and I read the title of the book, we were immediately propelled into an in–depth conversation, trying to list what space exploration has done for us. Her list began with "Space exploration helps me know more about the planets." I have to embarrassingly admit, my list was brief, but then I began to wonder what space exploration has done for us. As we unfortunately exhausted our ideas for our lists, my granddaughter declared, “There is a way for us to find out more. We need to read this book now!”
Who could ask for a better situation to set the stage for a young reader (and grandmother) to desperately want to find out more than to read this book? We were enticed! Our leading question for reading this book perfectly aligned with the title, “What Does Space Exploration Do for Us?” One of the first things we discovered is that space exploration helped us understand about space and the universe using photographs. Then we were intrigued with the section on space products that we used every day. The products included GPS systems, lasers for surgery, development of virtual reality for video games, memory foam for sports helmets, pillows and mattresses, soles for sport shoes, and even deicer for plane wings. Except for the deicer and laser surgery, my granddaughter became so excited because she has experienced and used every single one of the space products that we read about in this book. She was amazed that her Lacrosse helmet protective inset and her mattress came from advances in space exploration.
After we read, discovered, and discussed how advances in space exploration touch our daily lives, she asked, “So, who really does this?” This was definitely an aha! moment that all teachers, parents, and grandparents hope for. As we turned the pages, the next section was about the international space exploration cooperation between multiple countries, including the International Space Station and the European Space Agency. One highly interesting section to her concerned the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that forbids any country from claiming areas in space, including the moon. “We all own the moon!” she simply stated.
This book is one of those rare books that leads a young scientist and reader by his or her mind into wanting to find out more by reading and then providing that “more” in a spiral, natural way based on arousing questions. We highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to discover what space exploration does for us. This book is thought provoking and informative, while at the same time it is written for young scientists and even grandmothers who need to know more.
Review posted on 7/6/2012