Tag Archives: Mars

Calling all thinking girls

14 Aug

My brother in law’s friend one described someone (Debbie Gibson?)  as “the thinking girl’s Tiffany”. The phrase has stuck with me through the decades. It recently popped back into mind with David D. Levine’s Arabella of Mars.

This is such a fun book, full of the adventure and the chaste romance you would expect of a Regency novel, but it is set on Mars. Thinking girls just want to have fun, too!

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Publisher’s Summary:Since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, he proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in a flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother Michael with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected. She disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of theDiana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company, where she meets a mysterious captain who is intrigued by her knack with clockwork creations. Now Arabella just has to weather the naval war currently raging between Britain and France, learn how to sail, and deal with a mutinous crew…if she hopes to save her family remaining on Mars.

Arabella of Mars, the debut novel by Hugo-winning author David D. Levine offers adventure, romance, political intrigue, and Napoleon in space!

It reminded me of a lot of books and series I like. It has the “dress up as a boy and go on an adventure during the Napoleonic wars” adventure of the Jackie Farber seriesIt has adventure in space like Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. It is an alternative history like Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series. And, it is by a local Portland author.  Although I started y talking about thinking girls enjoying this book, I can think of a number of boys in last year’s class that would enjoy reading Arabella of Mars. 

This might be one of my favorite  reads of the summer and I think it would be highly appropriate for the kids I teach. It might be one of my first book talks of the year.

 

 

 

Martian Chronicles

23 May

The  4th graders are learning about Lewis & Clark and the Oregon Trail, so I have a stack of books about journeys and explorations for them. In keeping with the theme of exploration, I used two books about Mars exploration with them and both were huge hits. I opened by reading aloud You Are the First Kid on Mars  by Patrick O’Brien.

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So many reasons to love this book. I uses the future conditional verb tense. It is written in the 2nd person singular. The illustrations are amazing and the content is based on fact. We had some good discussions comparing the voyage of pilgrims in boats and the overland trip on the Oregon Trail to the 4 month trip to Mars. They had so many questions about Mars and space travel! It was awesome.

Fortunately, I had some backup in The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of SPIRIT and OPPORTUNITY. 

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Written by Portland author, Elizabeth Rusch, the book explains the design and mission of the two Mars rovers. The text is lengthy but understandable, focusing on the Steve Squyres, the principal investigator on the mission. The photography is literally out of this world! Elizabeth Rusch was one of our keynote speakers at the 2013 Oregon Association of School Libraries conference. She is an excellent speaker, thorough researcher and write great non-fiction for young people. She has a new book coming out on volcanoes & I already have it on hold at the library, even though it is still on order. I just know it will be good.

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