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Books of the Week: “The Harrowing Case of the Hackensack Hacker,” “Robot Scientist,” and “The Templeton Twins Have an Idea”

Nov 5, 2017 | By: Isabel Huff

Books of the Week: “The Harrowing Case of the Hackensack Hacker,” “Robot Scientist,” and “The Templeton Twins Have an Idea” thumbnail

The Harrowing Case of the Hackensack Hacker

by Roberta Baxter and Barnas Monteith

First, students Anita and Benson notice their tablet is acting strangely and soon they’re learning about coding and hacking and trying to save the world from a computer virus.  This book features color illustrations in an Anime-like style. Part of the Galactic Academy of Science (GAS) series--of which there are many novels covering a great variety of science topics--this book and others in the series offer an interesting and educational blend of fiction and nonfiction by including profiles of real (current and historical) computer pioneers, programmers, and hackers who show up in the story as the main characters travel in time.

Note: This book is published by Tumblehome, which also published Talk to Me and Timetilter

Robot Scientist

by Kevin Cunningham

A guide to robot scientists and what they design, this book covers industrial robots, robots used in medicine, the history of robots, and examples of robots in science fiction.  The chapters in the book are short and complex words are explained in the glossary, making it appropriate for a range of students.  The book is well-written and informative.

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea

by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

An entertaining story about a pair of twins who defeat an evil man trying to steal credit for their father’s invention, this book missed a great opportunity for gender role reversal.  It is Abigail who is (predictably) great at words, while her brother John is (predictably) the tinkerer/builder.  The twins are portrayed as being smart as much or more than persistent, unfortunately.  Regardless, this enjoyable book includes a lot of humor and the narrator is a character with a big personality. (It is worth noting that there is a gun in the story; while no characters get shot and the book isn’t particularly “scary,” in the wake of gun violence we wanted to provide a warning).

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1223868 and 1223460.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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