Nano The spectacular science of the very (very) small

Jess Wade

Book - 2021

In this STEM-ready book, an acclaimed physicist takes readers into the cutting-edge world of nanoscience where they will learn about the tiny building blocks that make up the world around us.

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Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2021.
Main Author
Jess Wade (author)
Other Authors
Melissa Castrillón (illustrator)
First US edition
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
29 pages : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

It's incredible to think that everything in the world is made up of smaller parts. In some cases, it's easy to see: a book has pages of paper, and a bedspread is made of cotton, but what makes up the things that make up other things? Everything in the physical world is made up of atoms. It's a huge (tiny) topic to tackle, but Wade, a physicist, breaks the topic down into delightful morsels, introducing young readers to the wonders of nanoscience. The book follows a spritely, blue-haired girl around her colorful world as basic concepts of physical matter are established: atoms, molecules, elements. Once those ideas are in play, Wade delves even further into the scientific possibilities surrounding the use of nanomaterials, from new environmental technologies to medical breakthroughs. Castrillón's intricate illustrations are vibrant and inviting, equally adept at capturing whimsical landscapes and detailed scientific explanations. An appealing and enlightening introduction to the small parts of a big universe.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

"Everything is made out of something," British physicist Wade's picture book debut notes on the first page, instigating an exploration of the world's building blocks. A conversational narrative moves swiftly from macroscopic materials including wood and glass to microscopic atoms and nanomaterials, while finely hatched illustrations by Castrillón (The Balcony) sweep readers into this nanoscience primer. A child in a skirt and yellow boots playfully interacts with each spread, sometimes shrunken and perched on a single atom or microscope stage, observing, other times presenting a simple graphic. More fanciful touches, such as the child's blue hair or an elephant walking a tightrope of graphene ("the strongest material known to human beings"), cultivate a playful tone. Organic, and often lush botanic, motifs rendered in pencil, in a muted primary color palette rendered digitally, link the spreads, turning adding a layer of enticement to this accessible read. After discussing a few hopeful applications for nanomaterials--for example, a nano chip that could help restore eyesight--and giving a nod to ongoing global collaboration, this homage to the "very (very) small" concludes with more details about the who, how, and why of nanomaterials and a brief index. Ages 6--9. (Sept.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 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.--Myra Zarnowski, City Univ. of New York

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

What amazing things could be made from the very tiniest building blocks? Physicist Wade provides an introduction to the science of new and to-be-discovered materials based on nanotechnology. "Everything is made out of something," she begins, starting with a general, macro look at the world around us. Materials like paper, wood, metal, cotton, glass have different attributes: "light, heavy, strong, or flexible." The way that atoms, or elements, are "mixed together" creates the attributes of the resulting material. Carbon, a "very important element" in the human body and "in every living thing," can be found on its own as graphite, as in the soft substance in a pencil. One layer of carbon atoms makes up a new substance called graphene--"the strongest material known to human beings. If you made a tightrope out of graphene, an elephant could walk along it without breaking it." Castrillón's whimsical art is intriguingly paired with the subject matter, incorporating both the explanatory and speculative, using fine lines that seem delicate but are also robust--light but muscular, just like the materials Wade describes. Graphene and other nanomaterials have astonishing applications both current (lighter airplanes, self-washing windows) and potential (sieves that could make ocean water drinkable; nervelike connections that could help blind people see). (This book was reviewed digitally.) A marvelous spark for the imagination and motivation to learn more. (further information, index) (Informational picture book. 4-9) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.