Monday, July 10, 2017

Non-Fiction Monday: Voyager's Greatest Hits: the epic trek to interstellar space by Alexandra Siy

Voyager's Greatest Hits: the epic trek to interstellar space by Alexandra Siy. 74 p. Charlesbridge, June, 2017. 9781580897280. (Review from gifted finished copy.)

I finished a unique debut novel the other day called See You in the Cosmos. In it, the main character, an eleven-year-old boy named Alex is obsessed with space in general, but with the journey of the Voyagers and their payload, the Golden Record, in particular. Carl Sagan is his hero. He has even named his dog, Carl Sagan. I was reminded that I had this book sitting on my tbr pile and pushed it to the top. The two books make for a great fiction/ non-fiction pairing.

Voyager's Greatest Hits is a beautiful book from the covers, which open up to reveal a Voyager rocket seemingly headed to the center of swirling stars (It is not captioned, so I don't know if it's real or photoshopped but it sure is pretty.) to the endpages. The front endpages show a close-up of the label on the Golden Record - "The Sounds of Earth." Side 1. NASA. United States of America. PLANET EARTH! Etched in the black section surrounding the label are the words, "To the makers of music. All worlds. All times. The back endpages feature the directions for playing the record. In between are chapters called Tracks. Clever subheadings break up the chapters, excuse me, tracks. Some of them are song titles, such as Rocket Man or On the Road Again, or just plain fun, like, Slingshot in Space, or The Junk on the Bus. 

Each chapter is well-organized and chock-full of information from the historic discoveries through the ages that paved the way for Gary Flandro to consider the problem of gravity-assist rocket trajectories in 1965 (p.5) to the conception needing a whole lot of math to the collaboration of scientists all over the world to its construction and launch. There are plenty of well-captioned, full-color photos that intrigue and boggle the mind. The tone is light and conversational. Backmatter includes an author's note, glossary, websites and books for further reading, source notes and an index. 

This book is a great addition to any school, public or STEM classroom library!

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