Welcome to my review of The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment, a new junior fiction chapter book co-authored by Kathy Hoopmann and Josie Montano.
The book will be launched on 10 August, timed to coincide with National Science Week 10–18 August and just prior to Children’s Book Week 17–23 August. I received an advance copy from the authors in return for an honest review.
About The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment
Authors: Kathy Hoopmann and Josie Montano
Illustrator: Ann-Marie Finn
Publisher: Wombat Books
Publication date: 10 August 2019
Genre: Junior fiction
Number of pages: 92
Mona likes to moan. Kiki is a worry-wart. Bart loves following rules. And Zane HATES following rules.
When the four of them are put into the Secret Science Society together, this could only mean one thing: DISASTER!
Will they be able to work together to create an experiment that Mona won’t moan about, Kiki knows is safe, Bart will think is perfect and that is really, REALLY exciting for Zane? But sssshhh, the ending is a secret.
About the authors
Kathy Hoopmann has written over twenty books for children and adults, with translations into fourteen languages. Her work sells widely in Australia, the UK, the US and the Middle East.
She has won, and been shortlisted for many literary awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia Award and has four times been awarded a silver Nautilus Award (US) which is given to books that make a better world. Kathy is best known for her photo-illustrated books dealing with Asperger Syndrome, ADHD and Anxiety. The simplicity, charm and insight of these books have made them must-haves for children and adults worldwide.
I introduced Kathy to you last year through a guest post she contributed about her books that support teachers teaching children with ASD.
From age nine Josie’s dream was to be an author and at age 13 she received her first rejection letter from Golden Books. Decades later, she is now an international award-winning author of over 60 books.
Josie also writes under the pseudonym of Santomauro on the topic of Autism. She’s always holding a pencil and writing down ideas. Josie wants to write until she’s a really, really, really, old lady in a nursing home full of other authors.
The story opens with Zane, bored with the lesson and struggling to see the sense in the teacher’s instructions. When, in total innocence, he decides to find out what could be so bad about mixing those coloured powders, his usually calm teacher springs into action and evacuates the classroom.
From there the tension and excitement escalate as four diverse children are thrust together to create an experiment for the soon-to-be-held science expo. It’s a chance for Zane, who often acts without thinking to show he can be responsible as he works with his best friend Bart, who has a tendency to take things literally and prefers to work on his own, Kiki who sees disaster in every situation and difficult-to-please Mona.
I was drawn into the story from its opening and I’m certain children will be too, seeing elements of themselves and their classmates in the familiar characters and situations as they try to work together, each contributing equally to the experiment.
The story deals with diversity in an open and honest way that will help children develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of themselves and others who may have quirky characteristics due to ADHD, ASD, Anxiety or other differences.
The book, perfect for reading aloud to the class, provides opportunities for sensitive and open discussions of emotions and diversity which in turn contribute to the development of empathy. It just might inspire children to ask their own science questions and conduct their own science experiments too, responsibly, of course.
The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment is also suitable as an introduction to chapter books for your more able readers.
Where you can purchase The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment
The book can be pre-ordered prior to its 10 August launch or purchased after that from the publisher Wombat Books.
Teaching notes are also available on the website.
Both Kathy and Josie are available for school visits. You can contact them via the publisher Wombat Book, their websites or on social media.
Josie Montano: www.booksbyjosie.com.au
You can also read a little more about the authors and their book on the Just Write for Kids blog.
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