Buzz Aldrin, WELCOME TO MARS – Book Recommendation

If you aren’t familiar with the Nat Geo kids publications you should be. I came to them late as an adult, but as a kid I devoured their adult magazines anyway (mostly on the toilet, as one does.) National Geographic Kids is a children’s magazine published by the National Geographic Society. Its first issue was printed in September 1975 under the original title National Geographic World; currently National Geographic produces a separate magazine for classroom use called “National Geographic Explorer,” in four separate editions for different grades). The magazine was published for twenty-six years as National Geographic World, until the title of the magazine was changed in 2002 to National Geographic Kids. Now they produce books in addition to the magazines.

marsTitle: Buzz Aldrin, WELCOME TO MARS, Making a Home on the Red Planet

Written by: Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson

Published by: National Geographic Kids; September 1st, 2015

Themes/Topics: planet Mars, astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, future, space travel

Suitable for ages: 8-14

 

Opening:

Mars has been
flown by, orbited,
smacked into,
radar examined,
and rocketed onto,
as well as bounced upon,
rolled over, shoveled,
drilled into, baked, and even blasted.
Still to come:
Mars being stepped on.

-Buzz Aldrin

Synopsis:

World-famous astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, the second person ever to have walked on the moon, teams with award-winning author, physicist and one of NASA’s first female flight controllers, Marianne J. Dyson to bring you a futuristic, optimistic look at space travel and the colonization of the Red Planet. In Welcome To Mars: Making A Home On The Red Planet, they explore the idea of humans settling on Mars in concrete ways that children will relate to. Young readers are invited to participate directly in the narrative on an incredible and informative journey to Mars as some of its first settlers.

Buzz Aldrin lays a foundation first with facts about Mars, detailing its qualities and possibilities. Then he travels into the realms of the possible future: plans to build homes, grow produce, explore leisure activities on this planet etc.

The book incorporates real photography and digital illustrations throughout and they enhance but never overwhelm the enthusiastic writing. Aldrin’s passion is evident on every page and will ignite readers’ interest in the Red Planet. Author side-bars, interesting fact boxes, diagrams and primary source documents all add to the visual appeal. There are also fun activities and experiments every few pages, which children can do with adults, such as observing Mars or comparing the size of Earth and Mars.

Why I like This Book:

Do you remember how dry so much nonfiction was when you were a kid. This is no longer the case for books like this published by National Geographic Kids. This is a visually-appealing, well-structured, easy to access book for young and not so young readers fascinated with space travel and the possibility of living on other planets. Teachers, librarians and caregivers will want to snap this one up as kids will have a blast with all the possibilities presented to them. Buzz and Marianne make it all sound so possible and the reader can’t help but be caught up in the book’s enthusiasm and potential.

Activities/Resources:

  • If you can make classroom time or homeschooling time, or are looking for a great craft project for your kids over a couple of weekends, I would have groups create their models of an inhabited Mars.
  • The movie The Martian (PG-13) was released to good reviews on October 2nd, and the timing of this book’s publications is, I am sure, no coincidence.
  • The NASA website has lots more information about Mars.
  • Along with the suggested experiments, the book also includes a timelines and map of Mars and concludes with website lists, a glossary, credits, and an index.
  • Buzz Aldrin’s website with book signings and more information.
  • Marianne J Dyson shares more on her website.

NB: Book received from publisher in exchange for un unbiased review.

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3 Responses to Buzz Aldrin, WELCOME TO MARS – Book Recommendation

  1. Gave our great granddaughter a subscription to National Geographic Kids and she loves it. This sounds like a great read. I know it would have captured my imagination as a child — and adult. Today, I think anything is possible and can’t help wonder if the books and movies are preparing the way for future generations. Wasn’t Buzz Aldrin one of the founders of the Institute for Noetic Sciences? If so, I heard him speak 20 yrs ago. Remember him talking about his seeing UFOs. If so, it’s great he’s writing fiction for teens about space and future communities. I might just have to get this one. Excellent review.

    Am back now and catching up.

  2. Joanna says:

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for your enthusiasm and response. I think it may have been Edgar Mitchell who was a founder of the Institute for Noetic Sciences. A subscription to Nat Geo Kids is such a super gift.

  3. That sounds like they are great poets too. How fabulous it is written by real astronauts. I must check that out. Thanks, Joanna

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