Book Review: Spaceman by Mike Massimino

In his autobiography “Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe” Mike Massimino, a NASA astronaut and Columbia University professor describes his journey from a childhood dream of being an astronaut to actual walking in space (of which he and his team set records). As soon as I started reading this book, I was absolutely captivated by Mike’s tale.


His manner of writing is very frank and straightforward. He just tells his story like it is, and it’s impossible to put down. His journey wasn’t always smooth, neither was it always aimed for the space. I admired his determination when he made a decision to get into space program. How he overcame stumbling blocks on his path, his personal ethics – everything is admirable. His story is full of the most important lessons in life -the value of education, the value of public service, deep desire to be a better person, true friendship.

Overall impression: Loved this book to pieces. My 11 y.o. son is reading it now, and I am sure it will make a difference in his world perception, and no doubt will inspire him . Absolute must read.


I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.


Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

Both of my children want to be scientists when they grow up. We often talk about great scientists and their contributions. It’s true that most scientists we are coming across in books are men. But it’s changing and women’s role in science is being acknowledged more and more often. The book Women in Science, written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky addresses exactly that.


The book allows a spread per scientist and covers about 50 brilliant women that contributed to the scientific discovery throughout the centuries, starting with ancient times and up to our days. Each spread features facts from a scientist’s life, her contributions and an awesome portrait illustration with additional facts surrounding her. The book is very fun to leaf through and even more fun to read. Many of these scientists I am learning about for the for the first time and some are like old friends. My daughter was delighted to see her favorite Jane Goodall featured here, and Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space. Most of the scientists covered in this book are Americans, although there are a few Europeans featured, as well as Asians. I wish there were more representatives from around the world, but we can’t have everything. There are more women mentioned in the end of the book, they didn’t get a spread, but they are there.

Overall impression: My children and I enjoy this book and found information straightforward and easy to understand. The illustrations add to the amazement of fantastic discoveries these women scientists brought to the world. This book is a valuable addition to our home library.


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair an unbiased review.




Two Weeks Roundup: Goodbye May and first week of June, 2015

Sunflowerous summer is in full mode!

Such a bliss to wake up on some days and not have any plans at all!

Picture of the week:

our summer playground aka Roxborough State Park

our summer playground aka Roxborough State Park

What we’ve been up to so far:

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BOOK REVIEW: Headstrong by Rachel Swaby

It is true, there is not nearly enough mentions of extraordinary women scientists in books or other media. I, myself, am guilty of naming only a few on top of my head. And one of them is of course Marie Curie (who isn’t in this book at all). Bringing other women scientists’ stories to light is long overdue. This is why I was excited to hear about Headstrong by Rachel Swaby. This book talks about 52 amazing women scientists and their accomplishments. We learn about struggles these women faced  , how they overcome societal prejudices and chased their passions. Each and every story is unique and inspiring.


The book is split into sections covering ladies of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, Genetics and Development, Physics, Earth and Stars, Math and Technology, and Invention. Each section is represented by women scientists from different  periods ranging from 17th century to present time. Scientists come from different countries as well (although most of them American and Western European). I was completely fascinated with their stories, from Mary Putnam Jacobi who had to write a research paper how menstruation does not actually affect women’s ability to learn (there was need to do this, crazy as it sounds) to amazing Hedy Lamar, whose life is better than a novel with twists and turns and accomplishments that made me writing this very review possible. Each entry is about three pages long, the book is an easy and engaging read. I loved how matter of fact it was, there was no need to mention their marital statuses or children, unless they were important for their work.

Overall impression: I want to learn more about each and every one of these amazing individuals. In the beginning of this book, the author states that reading about even just one woman per week will get reader through this book in a year and vastly improve one’s knowledge about women scientists. I feel that this is what I want to do when I re-read this book- to go through each woman’s story slowly, with additional research. I do wish there were pictures of these women ,  although they can be looked up, it would be nice to have them in the book as well. I recommend this book to everyone.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

Silk Road Study part 1

This week we began our Silk Road Study, this is part one.

We had an awesome visit at Denver Museum of Nature and Science exhibit. It is called Traveling the Silk Road. It was most interesting visit. We got to learn a lot about major stops of the Great Silk Road. We learned about market life, means of transportation, tales and perils.I highly recommend this exhibition, it is on for another month.

Silk Road exhibition

Before visiting the museum we watched TED video about Silk Road

I decided to use Marco Polo’s travels as a guideline for our study. A biography video for Marco Polo can be found here. I got a very good book at the museum’s shop. Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China by Janise Herbert. This book is great, it talks about Marco Polo’s travels and provides around 20 activities.

Marco Polo for kids book

This week we talked about  Marco setting off on his journey. Children created a medieval map. We looked at a few  old maps and tried to re-create them, not forgetting to include monsters that lurked in the seas and lands long ago. The fact that we visited Mythic Creatures exhibit earlier this week helped a lot. Children painted their maps on paper grocery bags, I made little boats for them out of polymer clay.

medieval map making

medieval map and clay boat

Our next stop this week was Turkey. We located it on the map, learned a bit about its history, practiced saying simple words in Turkish( a video for common words and phrases can be found here)

We talked about carpets that were made there (children actually got a couple of souvenir bookmarks from the exhibition) and children found it fascinating that making of a carpet could take months. We tried cereal box weaving at home.  It is very simple to make a loom cut a large rectangle out of a cardboard box, make notches to string the yarn and start weaving using yarn, fabric or embroidery thread. Children used grandma’s knitting left overs.

cereal box weaving

final result

final result

Children loved this project.

We also visited Denver Mint this week and besides learning how the coins are made, we had a chance to discuss what was used as a payment among the traders of long ago.

This was first part of our learning about the Great Silk Road, stay tuned for more.

Week’s Roundup: Goodbye February 2015

This post may contain links to IndieBound, which I’m affiliated with. Should you choose to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
February is over and thank goodness it is. It was a good month, but it seemed long and heavy. Russians congratulated each other on the beginning of spring today. And even though here, in the US it doesn’t come for a couple of weeks at least, I think it is here already, lurking in the woods and soon will drive winter out completely.

Photo of the week:

nothing better than spending Sunday afternoon with my baby girl by my side, all nice and cozy

nothing better than spending Sunday afternoon with my baby girl by my side, all nice and cozy

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Learning about Galileo

Today is Galileo Galilei’s birthday, we decided it would be a good idea to learn about this amazing scientist and inventor.

Learning about Galileo

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