Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Crater, by Homer Hickam (2012)

My son is considering astro-physics as a career path.  When I came across this title I knew immediately that I needed to read it.  Hickam is most known for his book Rocket Boys  that was used as the base for the film October Skies.  Rockets, spaceships, and outerspace are not my first choice of settings in fiction.  However, Hickam has captured my imagination.  His possible world, mining for inexpensive energy on the Earth's moon, is believable and in the opinion of many scientists, likely.  His background as the son of a miner and as a NASA engineer makes the underlying science trustworthy.  I'll admit--the science is way beyond my knowledge level, but I'll trust Hickam to know what he's talking about.

This appears to be a promising series that will appeal to both boys and girls.  There is a love interest, strong family/community themes, and the adventures that the main character, Crater Trueblood survives.  I am actually looking forward to the next book.  As someone with more interest in biology and ecology Hickam conveyed the geology and energy science topics in an interesting and understandable fashion.  He even discussed the main object of the mining on the moon, helium-3, in a way that got me interested in this isotope. 

I recommend this book strongly to teachers as a good choice for a book club selection or even a whole-class reading.  If English language arts and science teachers are collaborating this is a great choice for physics and energy related units.

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