Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 5 to 8
- Grade: k to 3
A CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens pick!
Asha and Baz have a paper rocket to launch! Whoever builds the rocket that travels the farthest will get to meet astronaut Chris Hadfield. The only problem is Asha and Baz don’t know how to power their rocket. Stuck and unsure, the kids brainstorm by drawing a rocket in the sand using a stick. But this is a very unusual stick. In fact, it’s a magic stick! And it transports them back in time to meet a person who might be able to help them with their rocket problem: scientist Mary Sherman Morgan.
About the authors
Caroline Fernandez is a kidlit author, parenting blogger, and social media enthusiast. She is the author of two bestselling books, Boredom Busters: Over 50 Awesome Activities for Children Aged 7 years + (Cico Books, 2014 2016 Silver Birch Non-Fiction Honour Book) and More Boredom Busters: Over 50 Awesome Activities for Children Aged 7 years + (Cico Books, 2015). She is the creator of www.parentclub.ca, a popular blog which shares information to make life easier for busy families. Caroline has been listed as one of Toronto's Top Mom Bloggers. Caroline lives, writes, and bakes in Toronto, Ontario.
From a very young age in Mumbai, India, Dharmali Patel knew that she would be drawing, painting, or animating for her entire life. By age 6, her parents understood that drawing, crafting and all things creative was going to light her path, and ultimately lead her to her career as a visual artist. After mastering crayons, pastels, and finger paints… Dharmali made her way to Mumbai-Rachna Sansad School of Applied Arts, majoring in Illustration. She studied further at Vancouver Film School, where she earned her Bachelors in 2D Classical animation. In the past 20 years, she has worn the hats of Animation Director, Art Director, Visual Development Artist, Designer, and Illustrator. Every day, she loves to make art that is visually pleasing and engaging for people of all ages. Dharmali is honored that authors trust her with their beautiful words, and allow her to visually conceive the world and characters that ultimately become their books. She hopes that her imagery will inspire young minds with beautiful design, provocative lighting, and emotive characterizations that encourage a love of reading and beautiful art. Currently, Dharmali lives and works in Toronto. She is represented by Illustration Online LLC.
- Short-listed, Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Excerpt: Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan (by (author) Caroline Fernandez; illustrated by Dharmali Patel)
THE GREAT ROCKET CHALLENGE
The science class was abuzz with brainstorming the best ways to build a paper rocket.
Kids sat in pairs on the floor, on desks, even out in the hall, as they worked together on their rockets. Ms. Wilson, the science teacher, went from group to group checking on their progress. “How do we launch the rocket into the air?” Asha asked her best friend Baz. “We need the rocket to launch out . . . not up.” Baz chewed on his lip as he always did when he was trying to sort out a problem.
“Any questions?” Ms. Wilson asked Asha and Baz when she popped by their spot in the corner of the room. All the kids thought Ms. Wilson was the best teacher in the school because she came up with fun class projects. “No questions. We’re good.” Asha replied quickly. Baz felt uncomfortable being put on the spot. He just stayed quiet and tried to blend in with the wall. The Great Rocket Challenge was a project and a competition. The teams had to make a paper rocket fly the farthest. However, the challenge was that they could only pick their rocket supplies from eight items: • white computer paper, • tape, • scissors, • paper straws, • glue, • pencils, • cardboard rolls, and • markers.
The team with the rocket that flew the farthest would meet Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut, at the school assembly! Asha and Baz wanted their rocket to be the one that flew the farthest. They wanted to win the rocket competition. “Ours is going to be better than yours!” bragged the team nearest to Asha and Baz. “Pfft . . . not possible! Do you have Baz on your team? No, you don’t,” Asha shot back. Everyone knew Baz was the smartest kid in science class. He was amazing in math and problem solving. Asha, on the other hand, was creative and curious. She was definitely the most outgoing in the class. Asha and Baz were best friends and always picked each other for partners. They even had a plan to be partners when they grew up. Baz would be an animal biologist and Asha would be a teacher. They would travel the world together teaching people about saving animals. Asha and Baz looked around the class. Some teams were using the cardboard rolls as rocket bodies. “Too heavy,” said Baz. Other teams were using glue to attach paper straws together. “Too messy,” said Asha. A few teams were making paper airplanes. “Not even rockets!” Baz whispered. Asha and Baz brainstormed a different way to build a rocket. They decided to make a light yet solid rocket using only three items for construction: paper, a pencil, and tape. They cut a rectangle of paper to be the rocket body. They rolled the paper snugly around the pencil and taped it to itself. Then, they folded over the top of the paper to make a rocket nose cone. Finally, they cut three small triangles to attach to the bottom as rocket fins. Carefully, they slid the paper rocket off of the pencil. Success. It looked like a real rocket! Launching the rocket was their roadblock. “What if we connected the bottom of the rocket to the top of my water bottle and then squirted water through it?” Baz suggested. “The water would create energy to blast the rocket.” “Wouldn’t the water soak the paper?” Asha wondered. “True,” said Baz. “Wet paper can’t fly,” said Asha. “Plus, water isn’t on the supply list anyway.” Baz looked stressed. “Keep thinking,” Asha encouraged. Baz looked around at the teams and chewed on his lip. Some were already testing their rockets. “We are falling behind,” said Baz. “We’ll figure it out. Don’t worry,” Asha said, trying to boost his spirits. “Start cleaning up. It’s time for lunch,” Ms. Wilson said cheerfully. “After recess you can continue working on your rockets.” Asha and Baz cleaned up the rocket supplies. “Since it is so nice out,” Ms. Wilson announced, “you can have lunch outside.” The kids clapped all at once. Lunch outside was a treat. Ms. Wilson really was the best teacher! The bell rang out and everyone went outside. Groups of kids sat together on the playground eating, talking, and playing. Asha and Baz headed to the edge of the playground, where the grass turned into sand. “So how do we get our rocket to launch?” Asha asked as she plopped on the ground and took out her thermos and fork. She quickly dug into her delicious curry, enjoying every bite. “Let’s talk out the problem,” Baz suggested. He loved planning. Baz sat next to Asha and began munching on his plain cheese and butter sandwich with the crusts cut off. “We need our rocket to go the farthest. For it to fly, we need energy. Something to push it across the classroom,” Baz said in between bites. “And water can’t do that,” said Asha pointing her fork in the air. “Right. We need to use something on the supply list. But also something that won’t break the rocket,” said Baz. “Correct,” Asha replied, then swallowed. They finished their lunches and wiped their mouths with the backs of their hands. They put their containers back in their lunch bags and put their lunch bags on the grass. Just then, Asha noticed an extraordinary stick lying in between the sand and grass. It wasn’t rough and covered in bark like all the other sticks in the schoolyard. This stick looked as if it had been polished by someone. It was as long as the length between Asha’s wrist and elbow. The wood was a dark chocolate brown at one end that flowed into a warm honey yellow at the opposite tip. This unusual piece of wood also had an interesting bend to it. Asha and Baz were both drawn to the odd stick. “Wow, look at this!” Asha declared picking it up. “Can I hold it?” Baz asked. “Just a minute,” Asha replied holding up her hand like a stop sign. “I know just what to do with this stick . . . let me draw our rocket.” Asha bent down to the sand and drew the outline of their rocket. First a nose cone at the top, then a body tube in the middle. Finally, she drew three rocket fins at the bottom. “Get in!” Asha invited Baz. Asha and Baz stepped into the rocket ship. Asha touched the stick to the sand as if she were pressing a button. “Blast off!” she yelled. In that exact moment, the south wind blew sand into a gentle tornado around them. Asha and Baz were transported through space and time. “What was that?!” Baz exclaimed as the mini tornado died out. “Magic?” Asha guessed. “On second thought, never mind,” Baz said taking a few steps back in fear. “I don’t want to hold the stick after all.” “Look,” Asha said pointing down to the sand. “The rocket is gone.” The rocket ship drawing had disappeared with the tornado, and written in its place was a name and a year:
MARY SHERMAN MORGAN. 1957.
From the physics of aerodynamics to the history of women in STEM, this short, sweet adventure chapter book works in a lot of interesting knowledge alongside an engaging story. Endearing opposites, Asha and Baz's attempts to solve their class project puzzle are a reminder to readers that the work they do in school has real-world applications. At the same time, their indignation at Mary's exclusion from the annals of science history and fame offer thought-provoking starting points for discussion about where knowledge comes from and how it is celebrated in our society.Overall, Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan is a fun, informative, and accessible way to explore history and science. -- Dr. Jen Harrison ― The Children's Book Review, June 15, 2022
"Spunky protagonists get a realistic look at a historical female scientist in an accessible series opener" – Kirkus Reviews
"An exciting middle grade novel about the US’s first woman rocket scientist; it emphasizes curiosity, teamwork, and creative thinking" – Forward Clarion Reviews
"Approachable in tone, length, and subject matter, Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan is an excellent introduction for space enthusiasts and young scientists." – Booklife
A wonderful start to a new series centering STEM and history; great for any children's library collection. -- School Library Journal, August 2022
"Readers who are familiar with the “Magic Treehouse” and “Canadian Flyer” series books will enjoy the time travel elements of this novel." – CM: Canadian Review of Materials
Other titles by Caroline Fernandez
Asha and Baz Meet Katia Krafft
Asha and Baz Meet Elizebeth Friedman
The Adventures of Grandmasaurus At the Supermarket
Asha and Baz Meet Hedy Lamarr
Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan
The Adventures of Grandmasaurus at the Aquarium Rescue Centre
At the Aquarium Rescue Centre
The Adventures of Grandmasaurus
Stop Reading This Book!
More Boredom Busters
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