Visit Mars, tour the galaxy, and befriend curious species in this week’s great summer reads.
Summer is the perfect time to read whatever and whenever you want to read. Books let you travel to times and places other than your own and, in a time of quarantine, find a way to have some SPACE. I put together a short list of books I loved that I think you might enjoy. See what you think. You will also find links to resources and additional features related to the collection.
Science Fiction by Andy Weir
Mark Watney and his team are the first people to walk on Mars. After a dust storm separates Mark from his team, they think he is dead. Stranded with no means of communication, Mark wonders how he will be able to survive in the planet’s unforgiving conditions with his limited resources. He draws on his inventiveness and engineering expertise in order to survive.
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
Science Fiction by Douglas Adams
Just before Earth is destroyed to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is rescued by researcher and friend Ford Prefect. They begin their journey through space together, relying on the expertise found in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Along the way, they befriend many curious creatures. Be prepared to laugh out loud.
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
Science Fiction by Robert A. Heinlein
Valentine Michael Smith is a human being who was raised on Mars. He is sent to Earth and struggles to understand and acclimate to life there. The social norms are foreign to him, and his own personal beliefs seem to honor a higher moral code. Recognizing a need for change, he begins to teach and inspire those around him. Classic sci-fi at its best!
As you read these titles, consider:
- Is space travel a daring adventure, a dangerous risk, or both?
- How do the characters overcome obstacles or solve conflicts?
- What can we learn about ourselves and others by reading science fiction? About the future?
Try one of these activities to take your reading to the next level.
- Watch these videos that make real-life connections to the topics found in The Martian.
- Create a conversation using these discussion questions for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from Shmoop.
- Peruse NASA’s website to see what it would take for humans to go to Mars.
- Social Studies/Science Connection: Want to know what it looks like standing aboard a space station or on the surface of Mars? Download the Google Expeditions app and search “Explore Space” to find captivating virtual tours.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.
Note: HMH is not responsible for the content of third-party websites.
Photo of Carol Jago provided by ©Andrew Collings