The Hub met author and former elementary teacher Kourtney LaFavre via Twitter when she sent out an all-call for author visit ideas. So we knew she loved kids, classrooms, and teachers! Next, one of our favorite Iowa STEM festival presenters, NASA Ambassador Dan Hoy, connected and shared some thoughts.
Then we decided, during these cold winter days, doing a blog on a STEM book about the warm and lovely SUN would be a perfect addition. Her book, If Sun Could Speak, is published by Clear Fork Publishing and available for pre-order now with a March 13 release.
In it, Sun takes on a larger-than life voice to guide us through a day, a year, the history, and the solar system. Most page turns also serve as a two-level read. The narrative voice is quick and spunky, but Kourtney adds another layer for readers who want to study the pages and take time for a deeper dive. Comic-book type frames add details in fun ways. When science terms are used, she takes care to add an explanation in simple terms.
Kourtney was gracious enough to to stop by the blog and tell us more about her book in her own words.
If Sun Could Speak is a first-person account that sheds light on the facts, history, and myths about its existence. Sun is out to impress and inspire readers to wonder and search for discovery. It’s a witty STEM-infused exploration of the center of our solar system.
The inspiration for this book idea came from my childhood. I think I was about five or six when I first discovered that the sun doesn’t actually rise and set. I had assumed that the sun was moving up and down in the sky, because the word RISE means to move upward.
That was the definition that my five year old self understood, and five year old brains are very literal. It totally blew my mind that it was the earth’s movement that created sunrises and sunsets. And I felt upset that I was mislead to believe inaccurate information.
I was frustrated whenever I heard people say anything about the sun RISING. That’s where the concept of a book told from the sun’s perspective began, to clear up any misunderstandings about the sun.
The character of the Sun has two goals when talking to readers. One is to share information about who Sun is and what Sun does. And the second is to inspire readers to wonder and search for discoveries.
Some of the most interesting things I learned while researching for this book were the different myths from other cultures about how the sun came to be. The most challenging was trying to take such large ideas and put them into words in a way that would make the ideas accessible to children. I enjoyed reading and learning about some of the people throughout history whose ideas influenced what we think and know about the sun.
FROM A TEACHER’S PERSPECTIVE
As a former elementary teacher, I’m very excited about how this book can be used as a teaching tool. It’s jam packed with not only science information, but history and myths as well.
I hope that the biggest take away from “If Sun Could Speak” is to plant the seed that there are remarkable things happening all around you.
I hope that it encourages readers to look around and ask themselves, “Why is this happening? How did it come to be?” The search for truth never ends as long as you keep seeking. Science isn’t just what you know, it’s also a way to think. So while this book can be used as a tool to teach facts about science, history, and myths, it’s also a catalyst for scientific thinking. There will be a downloadable educator’s guide and Pinterest board available on my website. “If Sun Could Speak” provides opportunities to connect with the Disciplinary Core Idea of Next Generation Science Standards for grade K-4 including earth’s systems, earth’s place in the universe, and energy.
Some of my favorite STEM books for kids that I recommend as a companion:
- The Planet Gods: Myths and Facts About the Solar System. Jacqueline Mitton and Christina Balit
- The Solar System: Out of This World With Science Activities for Kids. Delano Lopez and Jason Slater
- Ada Twist, Scientist. Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
- Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, Dr. Dominic Walkman and Ben Newman.
- Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings. Douglas Florian
- What Do You Do With An Idea? Kobe Yamada and Mae Besom
- Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth. Oliver Jeffers.
ORDER THE BOOK:
IF SUN COULD SPEAK will be available March 13, 2020. You can preorder here: https://kourtneylafavre.com/book/
I’d love to connect with readers! Here’s where you can virtually find me:
Website printables: https://kourtneylafavre.com/printables/