The Science of Defying Gravity, by L.G. Reed, (Sept. 2020, Keyes Canyon Press), $14.99, ISBN: 978-0985007447
Eleven-year-old Cassie is dying to go to Space Camp, but there’s a problem: she’s not that great of a student, especially in science. She wants to go to Space Camp to learn how to make movies in space, though, and with her dad out of work, there’s no money to send her. She’s determined to win a scholarship, but that means she needs to turn around her grades and her study habits and win the school Science Fair! Once Cassie turns to her best friend, Wylie – a model student – for help, she starts realizing that science may be kinda cool after all.
I enjoy a good STEM novel as a way to empower and inspire my library kids. Giving them characters that they can relate to can really get that spark going. Here, we have Cassie, who isn’t your typical Space Camper. She doesn’t love math and science, but she wants to make movies. In space. She’s even making her own documentary to journal her journey to Space Camp! We see her develop first, an understanding of study habits, then an interest in science, and finally, the desire to learn more. That’s got to reach kids out there. There’s also some good mentoring going on, with the Society of Women Engineers making an appearance. With a good story, pacing, dialogue, and characters that kids will want to get to know, and nice information about the scientific method and developing good study habits, this is a nice addition to STEM novels like Stacy McAnulty’s The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, Michael Buckley’s NERDS series, and Hilary Homzie’s Kate the Chemist books, written with Kate Biberdorf.
Want to learn more about Space Camp? Check out the Space Camp website, or try some Space Camp at Home activities from Steamsational.