Monday, June 13, 2011

Ask a Youth Librarian, and Ye Shall Receive

Inspired by A Wrinkle in Time, I started thinking about what other young adult novels have scientists in them (not necessarily accurate/realistic ones). Unfortunately, being a fantasy buff, the list on my shelves was pretty short. Though, as Arthur C. Clarke put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Being unable to come up with a good list, I took advantage of my social network, and so I asked a youth librarian. Here are some of her suggestions:

Fever Crumb, by Philip Reeve
Alchemy and Meggy Swan, by Karen Cushman (Haven't read this one, but two of her other books, Catherine Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice were favorites)
Science Fair, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Kiki Strike series, by Kirsten Miller (mad scientists!)
The Leviathan Series, by Scott Westerfield (I've read these, and loved them! They're also steampunk books, so there's lots of swashbuckling airship action too. Darwin is also a total celebrity. Third one is due out in November. It also talks a bit about mechanics, which is fun.)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
Higher Institute for Villainous Education, by Mark Walden
The Relic Master Series, by Catherine Fisher
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, by M.T.Anderson
Double Helix, by Nancy Werlin
Living on Impulse, by Cara Haycak
Tentacles, by Roland Smith
The Gadget, by Paul Zindel

For teenagers, I recommend Fluke, by Christopher Moore, which is goofy and bit raunchy for younger kids, but (very loosely) based on real whale researchers. The second half gets very strange, but teenage boys will like it. This is hardly an exhaustive list, but if you're looking for books with scientists in them, it's a place to start!

Summer time is apparently reading time: for adult recommendation, check out the list growing at Uncertain Principles, and of course, his book, How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

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