Non-Fiction Review: Beyond the Solar System by Mary Kay Carson

Beyond the Solar System by Mary Kay Carson

Age Range: 9 and up

Paperback: 144 pages

Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2013)

Genre: Non-fiction

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating: 5 of 5 stars


Humans have gazed into the night sky for thousands of years and wondered, What are those twinkling lights?
Though the sun, moon, and planets moved across the background of stars,
the stars themselves appeared immovable, forever fixed in
constellations. Only when astronomers began taking a closer look did
anyone realize what a fascinating, ever-changing universe lies beyond
our solar system—red giant and white dwarf stars, spiral galaxies, wispy
nebulae, black holes, and much more.
            In Beyond the Solar System,
author Mary Kay Carson traces the evolution of humankind’s astronomical
knowledge, from the realization that we are not at the center of the
universe to recent telescopic proof of planets orbiting stars outside
our solar system. In addition to its engaging history, this book
contains 21 hands-on projects to further explore the subjects discussed.
Readers will build a three-dimensional representation of the
constellation Orion, model the warping of space-time caused by a black
hole, see how the universe expands using an inflating balloon, and
construct a reflecting telescope out of a makeup mirror and a magnifying
glass. Beyond the Solar System also includes minibiographies of
famous astronomers, a time line of major scientific discoveries, a
suggested reading list, a glossary of technical terms, and a list of
websites for further exploration.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author:

Mary Kay Carson is an
award-winning children’s nonfiction author. She has written more than
thirty books for young people about wildlife, space, weather, nature,
and history. Her recent non-fiction titles include Emi and the Rhino Scientist, about the Cincinnati Zoo’s famous rhino mom; Exploring the Solar System, recipient of the 2009 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Children’s Literature Award; The Wright Brothers for Kids; Inside Tornadoes; and the Far-Out Guide to the Solar System series. The author also gives presentations at schools and libraries about space, animals, history, and writing. 


My Thoughts:

I know I probably get a little over zealous when it comes to non-fiction
books, but I really can’t help it. Beyond the Solar System was just so
fascinating! I took my kids to NASA and that also helped with my (and
their) interest in the subject of the universe.  

The book starts off with the earliest explorations into the stars and continues on through the years until it reaches the present day.  So it is written like a history book.  An AMAZING history book.  I had no idea how interesting the stars could be until I read this!

This book is written well, so it kept me interested the whole way through.  There are activities that kids (or adults) can do to enrich the experience.  The activities were fun, but I couldn’t do all of them because I didn’t have access to some of the items needed in order to complete them.  Even so, this is a really informative book that every library, school, and budding
astronomer should have.

On a related but rather different note, don’t you just love the author?  It makes me so happy that Mary Kay Carson has written so many books about science.  I think I will have to feature her for a Friday Favorites  meme. 🙂 

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given.  The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Leave a Reply

  1. I love books about space and this one looks fabulous. I love that it kept you and your kids interested. We have so much to learn about space. 🙂 Can't wait to check this one out.

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm loving it. This book looks wonderful and I am sure my son would enjoy it. He loves anything to do with space. It's going straight on our 'to-read' list.