Books To Celebrate This Week’s Perseid Meteor Shower!

The Perseid meteor shower is active this week. This annual summer sky show brings hundreds of shooting stars overhead. With a clear night sky, dozens of bright meteors will be visible each hour.

Meteor showers happen as our planet moves through a debris field left in the wake of a comet or asteroid. Earth intercepts this field during its annual orbit. In the case of the Perseids, those tiny stones come from a long-ago passage of the comet.

Here are some books for families to share to understand comets, asteroids, and meteors. Go out together at night and take in the sight! Reserve the print copies today for Curbside Pickup! If you’re new to Curbside Pickup, please carefully read these instructions

*book descriptions are from the publishers

Rocket Says Look Up! written by Nathan Bryon ; illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Showers, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone.

Meteor Showers by J. A. Kelley

An illustrated introduction to meteor showers that explains the differences between a meteor and a shooting star, how meteors travel through the Earth’s atmosphere, and related topics.

Comets, Asteroids, and Meteorites by Roy A. Gallant

An introduction to the celestial phenomena of asteroids, meteoroids and meteorites, and comets.

Call me Ahnighito by Pam Conrad and pictures by Richard Egielski

A huge meteorite describes how it lay half-buried in Greenland for centuries until it is finally excavated by members of a Peary expedition and begins a new journey.

Meteors by Melissa Stewart

Part of the National Geographic Kids Series

Blast off on a trip to discover the fascinating world of meteors. In this image-packed book, kids will learn all about these objects hurtling through space and into our atmosphere. Written in an easy-to-grasp style to encourage the scientists and explorers of tomorrow!

Comets and Meteors: Shooting Through Space by Chana Stiefel, Part of the Inside Outer Space Series

What has a head, two tails, and shoots across the sky? A comet. Coming from the far edges of the solar system, most comets travel around the Sun, while meteors appear as flashing streaks of light in the night sky. Explore these amazing celestial wonders as they zip through space! This book looks at the difference between comets and meteors and their effects on Earth. The physical characteristics of each are identified in detail. This book won’t come crashing down! It’s filled with fun facts that give additional information on this exciting science topic. This book allows students to use observations of the Sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Read more about space in our past Shoot for the Stars blog post.

Here be Dragons: Middle Grade Edition

You’ve seen the list of YA titles featuring dragons, but there are so many more stories to explore! So, check out these middle grade novels (and one graphic novel) featuring dragons.

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and physical book.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (previously mentioned in the YA Books in Space book list)

Rick Riordan presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook, hoopla ebook, and physical book.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives – and eventually her own.

Accessible as a hoopla ebook and physical book.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (See also other Middle Grade Adventure Stories and other books by Grace Lin!)

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and physical book.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan by catching and training a dragon. Can Hiccup do it without being torn limb from limb?

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook and physical book.

Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman

Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives.

So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Family or not, Rayna is Anders’s only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away.

To rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all.

Accessible as a hoopla ebook/audiobook.

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she’s not his grandmother—but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they’ll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don’t let them out of the bag, and don’t feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends Vikram and Kavita have broken both rules! Will Jax get the baby dragons delivered safe and sound? Or will they be lost in Brooklyn forever?

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook/audiobook.

3…2…1… BLAST OFF! Bedtime Moon Stories for Kids

In the early evening, kids and parents can look for moonrise and see what phase the moon is in and what color it appears. But imaginary stories about the moon are wonderful also, and perfect for bedtime. Learn about the moon in both stories and nonfiction for young readers. No special equipment needed, but binoculars can help! 

*all descriptions are publisher’s material

Moon written by Julie Lundgren

In Moon: Earth’s Satellite, readers will learn about Earth’s moon, other moons in our solar system, and the patterns and phenomena that they cause. Filled with fun facts, young learners will love exploring the scientific information and drawing conclusions about life now and in the future. The Inside Outer Space series takes readers on an intergalactic journey that unravels the mysteries of the universe. Each 24-page book informs readers in grades K–3 on the Sun, Earth, planets, and stars, while also igniting imaginations about the unknown. Stunning photographs and diagrams engage readers, while text-based questions aid in reading comprehension. 

A Kite for Moon written by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, and Matt Phelan

Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, A Kite for Moon is the perfect children’s book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing.

What would it be like if the moon was your friend? Find out as you walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. And then blast off with your little one as you zoom to the moon together!

The story begins when a little boy, who is flying his kite, notices a sad Moon. He sends up kites to her, writing notes promising he will come see her someday. This promise propels him through years of studying, learning, and training to become an astronaut. Until… he finally goes up, up, up in a big rocket ship with a fiery tail!

A Kite for Moon, written by New York Times bestselling author of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple, is a heartfelt story about a young boy’s fascination and unlikely friendship with the moon.

Available on hoopla as an ebook, audiobook, movie, and Read Along.

Earth’s Moon written by Christina Hill, part of the Science Readers: Content and Literacy Series

While only 12 people have actually had contact with it, many songs and movies have featured this shining object. But it’s not a superstar, or even a star at all. It’s our moon. From tides and tracking time to gravitational pull on orbits, the moon affects life here on Earth. Take a trip to the moon through the fact-filled pages of this book! Third-grade students will enjoy learning about the physical features and phases of the moon, tides, lunar calendars, and more through this high-interest informational text filled with vibrant photographs. Aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, a hands-on “Think Like a Scientist” lab activity is included at the end of the book, providing students with an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the text. Helpful diagrams, including the eight phases of the moon, and text features, such as a glossary and index, are also included to improve content-area literacy and support STEM instruction.

Sing to the Moon written by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl, and Sandra van Doorn

For one little Ugandan boy, no wish is too big. First he dreams of reaching the stars and then of riding a supernova straight to Mars. But on a rainy day at his grandfather’s house, he is brought down to earth with a bump. Do adventures only happen in galaxies far away or can he find magic a little closer to home? A touching story of a grandfather’s love for his grandson and the quiet pleasures of a rainy day.

Moon Phases written by “Baby Professor”, part of the Introduction to the Night Sky Series 

Take a look at the night sky, what do you see? You see the moon wax and wane; and you probably want to know why. So this book will help you understand that. Here, your child will be introduced to why the moon changes, and what these changes are called. 

Also from Baby Professor, try The Faces, or Phases, of the Moon, part of the Children’s Astronomy Books series.

If I Were the Moon written by Sheree Fitch, art by Leslie Watts

A timeless bedtime book that “beautifully captures that perfect moment when a child is tucked up in bed, spellbound by the voice of an older sibling or an adult sharing a special book” (Books in Canada).

With lyrical text, lit up by soft and gentle illustrations, If I Were the Moon makes its triumphant return to print in a beautiful hardcover just in time for its twentieth anniversary.

Breakthroughs in Moon Exploration written by Elsie Olson 

Did you know that twelve Americans have set foot on the moon? Or that the moon has mountains, one of them taller than any found on Earth? Striking photos and fast-paced, newspaper-like text explore everything readers could ever want to learn about the moon. Read all about ancient and odd moon theories, human exploration of the lunar surface, and plans for future missions. Examine the moon through the eyes of studious scientists and daring lunar explorers!

To the Moon written by Jodie Sheperd, illustrated by Mike Byrne

Neil’s imagination takes him on a trip to the moon. Join him as he explores mountains and hills, spots a famous astronaut’s footprints, and collects space rocks. Find out more about that big round object in the night sky!

Explore more space-themed ebooks for kids on Overdrive/Libby as well as more children’s ebooks, audiobooks, and even some music and movies (both fiction and nonfiction) on hoopla. To learn more facts about space, check out hoopla’s Aeronautics, Astronautics & Space Science collection or the Space and Astronomy section of the Gale Elementary Database. 

YA Books in Space

Sometimes you just want to leave Earth and all its problems behind, and stories set in outer space are perfect for that. But, space isn’t without its own problems, with alien invasions and intergalactic academies. So, explore the final frontier with us with these YA books set in space!

*All book descriptions are from the publisher.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa’s chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm.

A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates.

A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder.

An alien warrior with anger management issues.

A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering.

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

NOBODY PANIC.

The Disasters by M.K. England

Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours. But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy.

Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run, Nax and his fellow failures plan to pull off a dangerous heist to spread the truth. Because they may not be “Academy material,” and they may not even get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook and hoopla audiobook.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, and hoopla ebook.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (a Cinderella retelling)

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Accessible as an Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, and hoopla audiobook.

And if these titles have you looking up, check out our post on stargazing and outer space resources.

Shoot for the Stars: Resources for Stargazing and Learning About Outer Space

A Boston Globe article from May 6 highlighted a family-friendly quarantine activity that is out of this world: stargazing! The current lockdown has led to a reduction in light and air pollution, resulting in better conditions for observing the night sky. Caity Sullivan, education associate at the Charles Hayden Planetarium of the Museum of Science, outlines some tips and tricks in the article for at-home stargazing with your family, including free star-viewing apps and what to look for in the night sky.

Though you can’t visit the Hayden Planetarium in person, Sullivan and the folks at the Museum of Science have made it possible for the Planetarium to come to you! Check out their Facebook page for Virtual Planetarium events — you can view past presentations and stay informed about upcoming events, including livestreams of what to view in the night sky. If you miss the presentations, take a look at the Museum’s handy May Sky Chart & Viewing Guide — May is a great month to start backyard stargazing as there will be a rare Mercury sighting the week of May 19th!

For even more space-related fun, listen to Pulsar: A Podcast from the Museum of Science. Their episode on Living in Space, featuring Sullivan, is a must listen, as well as their namesake inaugural episode, All About Pulsars. And for young astronomers, learn about our universe through hands-on activities, such as the Museum’s Our Place in Space family STEM activity and Boston Children’s Museum’s treasure trove of Beyond the Chalkboard NASA-inspired activities, including inventing your own constellations, building paper rockets, and keeping a sky observation journal.

Want more galactic goodness? Check out these fiction and nonfiction titles for all ages — some of many available on Overdrive/Libby with your library card number — to keep your whole family shooting for the stars:

8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie
Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty (audio) 
Stars! Stars! Stars! by Bob Barner
Fly Guy Presents: Space by Tedd Arnold
Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists by Andrea Beaty
Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) and its companion Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Space by Mary Pope Osborne

Junior Genius Guides: Outer Space by Ken Jennings
How to Be A Space Explorer by Lonely Planet Kids
Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly (audio)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

And for some further space exploration, check out encyclopedic text about the solar system in Salem Press, or take a peek at our selection of Great Courses videos about astronomy and the mysteries of the universe:

Our Night Sky
Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe
The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know
The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries
The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy

Happy stargazing!

Homeschool with hoopla!

While home during shelter-in-place, it is practical to keep new digital learning resources coming in to help with burnout and boredom. Check out all of the Abbot Public Library’s e-collections and digital resources online. Today we are spotlighting homework help on hoopla.

Parents can borrow any of these picture and chapter ebooks as “Bonus Borrows.” They do not count toward the five borrows a month limit. Use your Bonus Borrows for supplementing nonfiction books for kids. The collection of ebooks covers diverse subjects, from astronomy to zoology, and is geared to grades K-5. Update homework help with fresh, factual materials.

Below are some engaging examples:

Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Engineers by Andrea Beaty
Cooking Class: Global Feast! By Deanna Cook
Junk Drawer Algebra by Bobby Mercer
How Plants Grow by Donna H. Rice (also available as a Read Along)
The Solar System by Laura Hamilton Waxman, part of the Early Bird Astronomy series

You can also check out the School Closed? collection on Overdrive or through Overdrive’s Libby app for more books to keep kids learning while at home, as well as other activities for kids that were posted on the blog!