Unlocking the Universe- Everything you need to travel through space and time
Stephen & Lucy Hawking
Penguin Random House UK 2020
Have you ever wondered how the universe began? ‘Unlocking the Universe’ is a non-fiction text by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, written with the purpose of answering this question and more. Intentioned to support the scientific theories presented in ‘George’s Secret Key to the Universe’ series, it is a compilation of fascinating scientific theories by scientists from around the world. Stephen Hawking, famous theoretical physicist, wrote the international bestseller ‘A Brief History of Time’ followed by a number of other adult essays and books that addressed questions about the universe and our world. His daughter, Lucy Hawking is a journalist, novelist and science educator.
The book is a large, beautifully presented text with a colourful centre insert of photos and images depicting elements of the cosmos. Despite the weightiness of the book, the font is large and well-spaced with easy to navigate headings and sub-headings. It is structured in seven parts including topics such as ‘Exploring the universe’, ‘Dark Matters’ and ‘Time Travel’. Within each part are essays by professors and mini biographies of famous scientists such as Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei.
The publishers have recommended a target audience of 8 to 100 year olds and the design of the book certainly looks appealing for a younger audience. Aside from the embedded photos, it is a black and white text. Fact boxes, diagrams and comical pictures break up the heavy subject matter. The authors try to make the language accessible to a younger audience, however, there is a still a great deal of technical scientific language that will lose a non-committed reader. As an adult with little physics knowledge myself, I found the text difficult to digest at times, however, the short chapters and intriguing subheadings ensured that I continued to persevere. I would recommend this text for children 8 and older who have a passion for learning about space, non-fiction texts and considerable reading stamina. For adults, if you are a beginner to the theories of the universe like myself, perhaps this is a more appropriate book to one of Stephen Hawking’s more advanced texts!
Review published in Practical Literacy The Early and Primary Years (PLEPY) Volume 25
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As a lover of books and a teacher, I read widely. Here you will find book reviews of many genres including picture story, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, women's fiction, short story anthologies, non-fiction and anything else that takes my fancy.