The Acadia Files: Book One, Summer Science

Katie Coppens (Author) Holly Hatam (Illustrator)

Product Details

$13.95  $12.83
Tilbury House Publishers
Publish Date
June 12, 2018
6.1 X 8.1 X 0.5 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

KATIE COPPENS lives in Freeport, Maine, with her husband and two children. She is an award-winning middle-school teacher of science and language arts, and her books include a teacher's guide for the National Science Teachers Association entitled Creative Writing in Science.
Children's book illustrator and graphic designer HOLLY HATAM loves to combine line drawings, photography, and texture to create illustrations that pack energy and personality. Her picture books include What Matters (SONWA children's awards honorable mention), Bear is Not Scared, The Boy in the Box, and the forthcoming picture book series Maxine the Maker (Dial, 2018).


The Acadia Files introduces kids to science via the readily observable principles and easy-to-reproduce experiments of its precocious and endlessly curious lead character, Acadia, who's enjoying the summer before she enters fifth grade. Both of her parents are science teachers, so learning is naturally encouraged.The book introduces important scientific information in a clear and enjoyable fashion. Each chapter highlights a new topic based on Acadia's summer activities and what she observes. Acadia uses the scientific method to discover who is stealing her blueberries from the bushes. She learns about genetic inheritance of traits like height and curly hair.She learns how sand is formed and what creates seasons and tides. Her summer adventures will open young minds to science and how it helps to make sense of the world. Illustrations from Acadia's scientific notebook include amusing images, notes from experiments, and summaries of what she learned. Lists of vocabulary terms and further questions are also included. Notebook pages beautifully reflect the perspective of a ten-year-old girl. They are fun and entertaining, supporting and clarifying scientific concepts.

The science in the book is wonderfully presented, but there is also another layer of lessons: Acadia learns not to accuse someone without proof; she learns to treat others with kindness; and she learns to accept and even celebrate things that might otherwise irritate her, such as the early morning sun and the temporary nature of a sandcastle.These age-appropriate lessons are clearly conveyed, without taking attention away from the book's science. The Acadia Files is an excellent book that will help its audience look at the world in a new way.

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. ForewordMagazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

-- (07/18/2018)

The Acadia Files is an excellent science book for boys and girls ages 9-12, by Maine author Katie Coppens and Canadian illustrator Holly Hatam.

In the summer, Acadia tackles questions about birds and blueberries, how genes affect humans, what makes sand, the summer's early sunrise and ocean tides. In each chapter her parents teach her the fundamentals of "the scientific method," so Acadia identifies a question or problem, learns to form a hypothesis, gather evidence, create experiments, note results and reach a conclusion.

This may sound complicated, but Coppens and Hatam use easy, fun narrative and illustrations to make science simple. Acadia wonders who eats all her ripe blueberries (it isn't the annoying little boy next door), so she conducts an experiment and is surprised at the result. Later, she and her friend Isabel learn how a person's genes determine human traits like height and eye color.

Her mother teaches Acadia how sand is created, why sand can be different colors and textures and why some minerals can be hard or soft. Her father teaches her why a summer sunrise is connected to the Earth's rotation and tilt, and how the moon and gravity make the Earth's tides. All the experiments are easy and fun activities.

Acadia also wonders if there is a cure for her father's corny puns, but as humorist Robert Byrne wisely concludes: "Science has not yet found a cure for the pun."

-- (06/27/2019)