Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan

Common Deer Pr. (Asha and Baz: Bk. 1). Sept. 2022. 106p. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781988761671.
Gr 1-4–Asha and Baz go on a magical adventure meeting Mary Sherman Morgan. Asha and Baz are two best friends who couldn’t be more different. Outgoing Asha is friendly and likes to talk, while shy Baz is quiet and does not like being in a crowd or talking in public. Ms. Wilson, their teacher, has come up with an assignment for her class. They are to create a rocket that can take off using only paper, straws, tape scissors, pencils, cardboard rolls, and markers. The winning team will meet astronaut Chris Hadfield. While Asha and Baz are on the playground eating their lunch, Asha notices an unusual stick. As both children are awed by the pecuilarity of the stick, Asha decides to draw their rocket all around them. Before they know it, they are transported to 1957 California. They end up at North American Aviation where they met Mary Sherman Morgan, who invented liquid rocket fuel. Seeing how Mary created the first satellite explorer allows the children to brainstorm with her; they come up with the solution of their rocket by using straws and blowing into their rocket creating wind power. They successfully return to school using their magical wand and win the rocket challenge! This story interweaves a time-traveling adventure with real-life historical figures. Fernandez skillfully features a period of U.S. history when societal restrictions on women changed because of war. This is a great way to introduce STEM concepts to young minds. Asha is depicted with brown skin and long brown hair, while Baz is white with light brown hair.
VERDICT A wonderful start to a new series centering STEM and history; great for any children’s library collection.

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