Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small

Candlewick. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536217667.
G. 1-4–Using clear, down-to-earth language, a friendly writing style, and a touch of humor, this book explains the nature of nanoscience—the study of very, very small materials. The explanations are perfect for young readers. They begin with what children know (“Look around your home. Everything is made out of something”) and then proceed to introduce words readers need to know such as atom, molecule, graphite, grapheme, and nanomaterial. The author doesn’t hesitate to speak directly to the reader. After explaining that everything on Earth is made from atoms, she writes, “Stop: read that last sentence again. It’s a gigantic idea to get your head around, but it’s too important to skip over.” The written content is presented using engaging and effective examples that are well-supported by the illustrations. A discussion of how nanoscience is a work in progress discusses how graphene, a material made from a single layer of graphite, is already being used to make lighter airplanes that require less fuel and emit less pollution and windowpanes that wash themselves using only sunlight. The illustrations show “Before” and “After” pictures of both planes and windows. Throughout the book, readers are also told about the nature of science—how discoveries are often preceded by years of failure, that exciting discoveries are yet to come, and that these discoveries might even be made by the reader.
VERDICT An excellent book for getting young children interested in science, this supports classroom studies of matter, the work of scientists, and the possibilities of future discoveries.

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