9780804189354By Karen Kingrea, STEM Director at Immaculata Catholic School

Growing up outside Houston, Texas in the ’60s and ’70s, it is no surprise that I developed a love of space exploration and NASA. During my thirty-five years in education, I have furthered this passion whenever possible by attending NASA workshops and conference sessions across the country. Thus, it was with great excitement that I read The Martian by Andy Weir last summer. The book was everything I hoped it would be and more. My only regret was that it was not appropriate for my middle school students to read. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to learn that a classroom edition of The Martian exists. After seeing the movie as well, I knew that Mars would be our theme for the 2016–2017 school year. (more…)

9781101903544 (1)By Mike Massimino, author of Spaceman (Crown Archetype, October 2016).

When I was six years old, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and dreamed that one day I would follow in those historic footsteps. But as a working class kid who was skinny, awkward, nearsighted, and afraid of heights, I saw no path to becoming an astronaut. So my dream died by age eight, only to be rekindled after seeing the movie and reading the book The Right Stuff when I was a senior in college.

In my book, Spaceman, I encourage young people to never give up on big dreams. I take them through the struggles I overcame to get to space: pursuing an engineering degree, failing my PhD qualifying exam at MIT, being rejected by NASA three times before being accepted on the fourth try, and overturning a NASA medical disqualification by training my eyes to “see better.”  (more…)

Since its p9780804189354ublication, The Martian (Broadway Books) has captivated readers with its charismatic narrator, fascinating—and accurate!—use of science, and engaging story of perseverance. With its compelling narrative and scientific content, the book is perfectly suited for both language arts and STEM curriculums.

However, we have been receiving feedback from some teachers regarding the language used in the book. You’ve talked, and we’ve listened: it is with great excitement that we now announce the availability of The Martian: Classroom Edition. Featuring classroom-appropriate language, discussion questions and activities, and a Q&A with Andy Weir himself, this edition is now available wherever books are sold

Additionally, our website and blog feature further resources to make teachers’ lives just a little bit simpler. An essay by Andy Weir discusses the book’s ability to double as both novel and science textbook. We also have created a Teacher’s Guide aligned with the Common Core State Standards. For print copies of our Teacher’s Guide, please email highschool@penguinrandomhouse.com. If you are considering (or reviewing) the book for classroom use, please email us for a free review copy.

9780553446791By Rachel Swaby, author of Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World (Broadway Books, April 2015)

A programmer examines a computer as massive as a room and finds the first computer bug—a moth stuck in the machine’s relays. A 10-year old is hunting for treasure and discovers a Dinosaur skeleton. Hidden in a pile of data, a woman finds the inner core of the earth, another reveals nuclear fission, and another spots evidence of continental drift in the ocean floor. Who are these incredible scientists? Most of us can’t even name one.

I wrote Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—And the World to help reveal the hidden history of women in STEM fields. The desire to write these stories was three-pronged. First, I was dismayed at the way women in science were being covered. When the New York Times obituary for the rocket scientist Yvonne Brill started with, “She made a mean beef stroganoff,” I was as disappointed as the rest of the internet. I wanted to rewrite Yvonne Brill’s profile and find a way to more appropriately honor the exceptional work of other women in science. (more…)

By Andy Weir, author of The Martian: A Novel 9780804189354

When I wrote “The Martian,” I didn’t mean to craft a thriller that could double as a science textbook— but to some extent, that’s what happened.

The story revolves around a lone astronaut named Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars. He faces countless trials and tribulations in his increasingly desperate attempts to survive. As a science dork, I wanted to make sure everything in the book was as accurate as it could be. I wanted to back up Mark’s solutions with hard numbers. As a result, many parts of the book are basically deadly word problems based on what Mark must do to survive. His life becomes a series of challenges in chemistry, physics, astronomy, and math. (more…)

By Jared Diamond, author of The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution And Future of the Human Animal (Seven Stories, April 2014).The Third Chimpanzee For Young People

One day, when my twin sons were in middle school, they came home from school angry with me.  I wasn’t aware of having done anything particular that day to arouse their wrath, and so I asked them what was the matter.  They replied, “Our history teacher has assigned your book to our class to read.  We haven’t looked at it yet, but we already know that it’s a bad book.  Worst of all, our teacher is inviting you to come to school to talk to our class.  We are going to be so embarrassed in front of our friends!”

I duly arrived at my sons’ class, to find my sons sitting in the last row, with faces averted, huddled in uncomfortable postures, and obviously in agony from embarrassment.  As I began to talk about my book, their classmates started asking questions and expressing increasingly lively interest.  My sons gradually rotated to face forward, relaxed from their cramped posture, and began smiling.  They were delighted that their classmates liked my book, and that they didn’t have to be ashamed of me.  Since then, my sons have been among my strongest supporters, quick to denounce any criticism of my books.  (more…)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksIn a news conference, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced an agreement with the family of Henrietta Lacks that will restrict NIH-financed research on the HeLa genome. Two members of Lacks’ family will serve on the HeLa Genome Council, marking the first time tissue donors have had a voice in the process and finally giving the Lacks family a say in how Henrietta’s cells are used. To learn more about this landmark announcement for which author Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has played such a large role, please read the following articles: The HeLa Genome: An Agreement on Privacy and Access from the NIH, Nature Magazine and The New York Times.