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How To Fake Moon Landing

Friday, May 16th, 2014

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Title: How to Fake a Moon Landing
Author: Darryl Cunningham
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: April 2, 2013 

In this non-fiction graphic novel, science writer and cartoonist Darryl Cunningham explores seven hot topic controversies: The Moon Hoax, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, The MMR Vaccination Scandal, Evolution, Fracking, and Climate Change. The author uses comics, photographs, diagrams, and text to evaluate the science behind each topic. Every chapter gives a succinct overview of the history and science behind its subject. The information provided acts as a great starting point for research into these topics for both middle and high schoolers. The final section, entitled “Science Denial,” explores the outcome of ignoring what science tells us and also explains what the scientific method is and how it works. This particular graphic novel does rely heavily on the text, but images in “The Moon Hoax” and “Fracking” will be especially helpful in showing readers what the author is talking about!

The author of the book has put together a great teacher’s guide with helpful tips on how this graphic novel can be used in the classroom as well as how it can be applied to fill common core standards. The PDF can be found here.

This graphic novel is a great book to encourage critical thinking in science, history, and English classes!

Donner Dinner Party

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

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Title: Donner Dinner Party
Author: Nathan Hale
Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Publisher: Abrams

Donner Dinner Party is the third book in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, but it is a self-contained story. Narrated by the famous spy Nathan Hale (not to be confused with our author), this graphic novel follows the Reed Family, one of the families that made up the now infamous Donner Party. The graphic novel begins when the Reeds are preparing for their journey and continues through all of the horrors that befell them until they are rescued and finally reach Sutter’s Fort in California.

This graphic novel is an excellent common core book. It explores the trials of westward expansion with historical figures (Abe Lincoln makes an appearance and so does Daniel Boone’s grandson) and includes context for what is happening during that time (such as the Mexican-American War). The Donner Party’s progress is mapped throughout the story, marking important landmarks and showing just how grueling of a journey it was (even without the horrors the party encounters). Hale also includes a bibliography of the books used while researching the Donner-Reed Party as well as an email for readers to send questions and corrections to Correction Baby, who clarifies some seemingly far-fetched parts of the story.

Hale’s choice to follow a family that survives the horrors of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was a wise choice and his blend of history and (often times morbid) humor will have middle grade students eating up this historical graphic novel that even most adults would find informative!