Astronomy in the Real World

9781680780383. ea vol: 48p. (STEM in the Real World). chart. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. websites. ABDO. 2016. lib. ed. $22.95. ebk. $35.95.
Gr 2–4—These volumes are an excellent complement to the 2013 series "Science in the Real World" (ABDO), with upbeat, career-oriented surveys of the history, scope, recent trends, and types of work in selected STEM fields. Despite being aimed at readers who are still some years away from having to pick their majors, several volumes even cite salaries (though these are both unsourced and optimistic). The texts are surprisingly accessible, and if the authors sometimes go light on specific technical details, they don't shy away from controversial topics like cochlear implants in the Deaf community. Also, along with generous quantities of back matter, each volume is pedagogically jet-propelled—with bulleted summary lists at the end and meaty primary-source passages from the likes of Copernicus and Bill Gates followed by comprehension-testing questions and project suggestions.
VERDICT Recommended for budding experimenters and for career-minded younger readers.
Definitions of computers and their parts, as well as descriptions of computer-related jobs, orient readers to this lucrative STEM field. The superficial descriptions provide only cursory information about computer science and its pioneers, both historical and modern. Photographs of scientists and fairly current technologies are included. The purposeful series features intermittent, weakly-related comprehension activities, prompts, and links for further research. Reading list. Glos., ind.

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