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Acadia Greene wants answers. Who keeps stealing her blueberries just as they ripen on the bushes? Why is her hair curly? Why does the sun wake her up so early in the summer? Why does the tide submerge her sandcastles? How do rocks become sand? Acadia doesn’t set out to do science, but she has these important questions and her scientist parents refuse to simply feed her the answers. “Conduct an experiment,” they tell her. “Use the scientific method.” So Acadia gathers evidence, makes hypotheses, designs experiments, uses the results to test her hypotheses, and draws conclusions. Acadia does science.
Acadia Files for autumn, winter, and spring will follow on future lists.
The author, Katie Coppens writes a recurring column for NSTA's middle school magazine Science Scope on science and literacy called "The Integrated Classroom."
“Ten-year-old Acadia becomes annoyed when the blueberries she has been cultivating go missing. Her science-teacher parents encourage her to use the scientific method (termed as such in the text) to answer her questions, and assist with setting up an experiment to test her hypothesis. In later chapters, she uses this method to investigate human genetic traits, determine where sand comes from, explore why the sunrises early in summer, and learn about how tides and gravity work. Each chapter begins with a narrative that introduces a problem and provides basic scientific background. Acadia’s lab notes for each experiment are also included: materials, procedures, data, conclusions, glossaries, and lists of “Things I Still Wonder.” Hatam’s colorful, cartoon-style illustrations are particularly evident in the lab sections, where Acadia’s notes appear in manuscript printing, along with childlike sketches. A few spot illustrations also appear at the bottom of some narrative pages. Appended with website resources for each topic, this succeeds as an introduction to scientific methods and may encourage young scientists to try their own experiments.” — Kay Weisman, Booklist Online
The Acadia Files introduces kids to science via the readily observable principles and easy-to-reproduce experiments of its precocious and endlessly curious lead character, Acadia, who’s enjoying the summer before she enters fifth grade. Both of her parents are science teachers, so learning is naturally encouraged.The book introduces important scientific information in a clear and enjoyable fashion. Each chapter highlights a new topic based on Acadia’s summer activities and what she observes. Acadia uses the scientific method to discover who is stealing her blueberries from the bushes. She learns about genetic inheritance of traits like height and curly hair.She learns how sand is formed and what creates seasons and tides. Her summer adventures will open young minds to science and how it helps to make sense of the world. Illustrations from Acadia’s scientific notebook include amusing images, notes from experiments, and summaries of what she learned. Lists of vocabulary terms and further questions are also included. Notebook pages beautifully reflect the perspective of a ten-year-old girl. They are fun and entertaining, supporting and clarifying scientific concepts.
The science in the book is wonderfully presented, but there is also another layer of lessons: Acadia learns not to accuse someone without proof; she learns to treat others with kindness; and she learns to accept and even celebrate things that might otherwise irritate her, such as the early morning sun and the temporary nature of a sandcastle.These age-appropriate lessons are clearly conveyed, without taking attention away from the book’s science. The Acadia Files is an excellent book that will help its audience look at the world in a new way.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. ForewordMagazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.” — CATHERINE THURESON, Foreword Review
The Acadia Files is an excellent science book for boys and girls ages 9-12, by Maine author Katie Coppens and Canadian illustrator Holly Hatam.
In the summer, Acadia tackles questions about birds and blueberries, how genes affect humans, what makes sand, the summer’s early sunrise and ocean tides. In each chapter her parents teach her the fundamentals of “the scientific method,” so Acadia identifies a question or problem, learns to form a hypothesis, gather evidence, create experiments, note results and reach a conclusion.
This may sound complicated, but Coppens and Hatam use easy, fun narrative and illustrations to make science simple. Acadia wonders who eats all her ripe blueberries (it isn’t the annoying little boy next door), so she conducts an experiment and is surprised at the result. Later, she and her friend Isabel learn how a person’s genes determine human traits like height and eye color.
Her mother teaches Acadia how sand is created, why sand can be different colors and textures and why some minerals can be hard or soft. Her father teaches her why a summer sunrise is connected to the Earth’s rotation and tilt, and how the moon and gravity make the Earth’s tides. All the experiments are easy and fun activities.
Acadia also wonders if there is a cure for her father’s corny puns, but as humorist Robert Byrne wisely concludes: “Science has not yet found a cure for the pun.”” — Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal
“5 STARS This book is filled with information about how to do different experiments. It uses a lot of science words and explains what the words mean. It was great that at the end of each experiment there were definitions of new science words and a list of new questions that Acadia discovered while doing the experiment. I loved this book because it gave so much information about things I didn’t know and about how a girl can do science to figure out different things. Acadia is a great role model for girls who want to be scientists. ” — Julia - age 8, Kids Book Buzz