Astronauts and aquanauts are two career paths which on the surface go in opposite directions. Which one would you choose? The number one answer I hear from MG girls is Marine Biologist. For boys it’s often an astronaut but only if their first wish isn’t realized: to be a pro basketball player.

This new title from the creative minds at National Geographic Kids (author Jennifer Swanson in this case), explores how these two exciting endeavors are more alike than similar. Beginning with Exploring New Environments you’ll learn how gravity, pressure, and darkness effect both types of explorers. Next comes a look at the training involved to become one of these brave individuals. Hear from astronauts as to what it’s like to blastoff into space and from aquanauts how it feels to take the plunge deep into the depths of our oceans.

Then you get an insiders view of the experience living in these environments, including the work done to survive. A fascinating page is devoted to a typical day in space and sea. I’m not sure I’d be up for the task in either of the temporary homes.

Bringing the journey to a satisfying ending (or hopefully a beginning for young readers) are chapters on why we explore and what we have learned so far. I especially enjoyed the biographies of ten real life astronauts and aquanauts. Middle grade kids just might follow one of their paths to greatness.

Here’s the official word from National Geographic Kids:

Journey from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the farthest humans have ventured into space and learn what it takes to explore the extremes. You might just be surprised by how similar the domains of ASTRONAUTS and AQUANAUTS really are.

Space and the ocean. If you don’t think they go together, think again! Both deep-sea and space explorers have to worry about pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. Join us on an amazing journey as we go up in space with astronauts and dive deep down in the ocean with aquanauts to explore the far-off places of our planet and the solar system.

With a strong tie into STEM topics–such as making connections, making comparisons, and recognizing patterns across content areas–readers will discover the amazing science and incredible innovations that allow humans (and sometimes only machines) to survive in these harsh environments.

Amazing pictures also accompany the text. Inspiring and thought provoking, this title should be a library favorite for many years to come.


Coming up next Monday is another:
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in non fiction, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. You are lucky to be on NatGeo’s mailing list. They have such beautiful books and this looks like no exception. Thanks for the post.

  2. I love the book for young people. It is exceptional! Many teens would be enthralled with the idea of both places. But, I’m with you as I wouldn’t handle either temporary home very well. Not in my DNA, I guess. I like exploring, but with my feet on the ground.

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