Welcome to the Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero by Valerie Tripp (author of the American Girl book series) on September 8th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive, original content from Valerie, plus 5 chances to win a SIGNED copy of Izzy Newton!
Even Super Famous Scientists were young once and had fabulous hair dos, as you can see by their pictures. Read about these SFSes, and see what they have in common with the S.M.A.R.T. Squad characters named after them. Which SFS would you like for your BFF?
What’s in a Name?
By Valerie Tripp
Tween Isaac Newton, looking starry-eyed.
Crazy Story That’s Hung On for Centuries: An apple fell from a tree and hit Newton on the head and THAT’S where he got the idea of gravity. But don’t fall for that wormy old story; it’s hollow at the core.
Izzy Newton and Isaac Newton not only share a birthday—January 4—they also share a love of physics: the study of matter and energy in all its wonderful variety, such as light, heat, sound, electricity, motion, and force. Isaac Newton is a 17th century genius who explained, among other things, gravity, the three laws of motion, the law of cooling, the speed of sound, and invented calculus. Like Izzy, he was a good detective. (He tirelessly tracked down a famous counterfeiter.) Both Izzy and Isaac are into: stars, prisms, rainbows, clocks, windmills, books, climbing trees, tides, comets, the moon and planets, telescopes, playing the flute, building models – and their cats! They’re on the skinny side, maybe because they forget to eat when they’re absorbed in an experiment. Personality-wise, both Izzy and Isaac are anxious worriers, though Izzy’s friends are helping her chill out. Izzy and Isaac are “compensated introverts.” That is, though they’re shy and dislike pubic speaking, they’re not wimps. They speak up when it matters! They have stubborn streaks, and they can get mad, too. Both Isaac and Izzy are fiercely loyal and devote their energy, smarts, creativity, and dynamism to kindly helping their friends.
Hmmm. . . Charles Darwin supposedly cooked and ate one of every animal he discovered during his five years of exploring the world. Charlie would not do that. She is a vegetarian locovore. Anyway, that story about Darwin is hard to swallow, isn’t it?
You can bet that both Charles Darwin and Charlie Darwin would choose to celebrate their birthday outdoors, even though it’s February 12, which is cold in some places. But Charles and Charlie like all kinds of weather. They’re biologists, and they are interested in everything that grows: bugs, plants, worms, trees, birds, snakes, fossils, fish, fungi, and amphibians, coral reefs – and puppies—because they know that every living thing changes, or evolves. They’re okay being alone, as long as they’re observing nature, but they’re very good at observing people, too. Both Charles and Charlie are curious and open to all kinds of experiences. There are not show-offs, and they are kind, gentle, agreeable, conscientious, hard-working, and very good about paying attention to details. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution states that the fittest survive, so he would admire how fit and fast and flexible Charlie is. Both Charles and Charlie are patient; they know that plants and animals can’t be rushed. The flip side of such patience is that they can be bad at time management – well, you would be too if you became engrossed in a worm’s progress across a muddy path. Charles and Charlie don’t like to break the rules, but they will speak truths, even if those truths are uncomfortable.
Image: “Painting of the seven-year-old Charles Darwin in 1816 by Ellen Sharples. Public domain.
George Washington Carver as a teenager, looking inventive
Hold the jelly! George Washington Carver invented and/or promoted more than three hundred uses for peanuts both as food and non-food products, so many people think that he invented peanut butter. But Aztecs made peanut butter in the 15th century, so don’t spread that idea around about Carver inventing peanut butter. It’s nutty.
Gina – short for Georgina – Carver and George Washington Carver are both inventors. They’re iconoclasts who are more interested in what could be than what is, and they don’t let dusty old rules or stereotypes stop them. George was the first Black person to attend Iowa State College and later, the first Black person on the faculty there. George and Gina both like to hang out with kids – George taught and mentored children, and Gina babysits her nephew Crosby — maybe because kids are as imaginative as they are. Both George and Gina are determined re-purposers who put their talents to use to help others. George found new ways to use sweet potatoes, cowpeas, alfalfa, poultry, cows, and hogs. Gina refreshes, renews, replants, repairs, recycles, and reuses found materials in creative ways. Like all inventors, both George and Gina are artists: George loved to paint and Gina draws. George wrote poetry and Gina is heavy into song lyrics, so they have that in common, too.
Sometimes things get a little messy, but George and Gina know that mess is a necessary part of the creative process. Also, every inventor has flops. George and Gina have to be patient and steadfast and confident, tinkering over and over without complaint, moving by small increments, working through lots of experimentation. Maybe because they build in three dimensions, they see ‘around the corners;” that is, they are not daunted by obstacles or discouraged by failures. Gina would agree with what George famously said: “Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.”
Image: public domain
Marie Curie, approx. 19
Watch out! Even a hundred years after Madame Marie Curie’s death, her clothes, notebooks, lab equipment, and personal things were so radioactive that they were too dangerous to touch. Talk about being too hot to handle!
Madame Curie and Marie Curie are both citizens of the world: Madame Curie was born in Poland and later moved to France, and Marie Curie was born in the U.S., moved to France for two years, and then returned to the U.S. Luckily, both Madam and Marie like changes; they’re chemists, so they enjoy mixing things up! Madame Curie changed scientists’ view of the world with her theory of radioactivity and her techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. And she changed everyone’s view of women by being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes. Marie Curie changed her middle school by finding a creative solution to the crowded stairway, and she enjoys changing her appearance, too, by dying her hair pink, or green, or purple. Both Madame Curie and Marie are changeable in their moods and can be unpredictable and mercurial. They both like riding bikes, chocolate, and cool hats. Chemists must be precise, and both Madame Curie and Marie are painstaking and careful when conducting experiments. They measure, weigh, observe, draw, take notes – and then do it all over again if the experiment goes wrong. Chemists know things very often turn out in surprising ways and failure can lead to serendipitous solutions. Both Madame and Marie are dogged, determined, and ambitious. They know that to trust the results of your experiment, every detail must be perfect and so they will work tirelessly until it is. You might say that they are perfectionists, a little bit uptight, and rather demanding. But both Madame and Marie have generous hearts. They use their love for chemistry, their endless creativity, their eye for detail, and their willingness to work hard and stick-to-it-till-it’s perfect in service to their friends.
Image: public domain
Teenage Albert Einstein, adding it all up
What a headache! After Einstein died, Dr. Thomas Harvey put Einstein’s brain in a jar of formaldehyde, put the jar in the trunk of his car, and drove it from Kansas to California to be examined. Now that’s a mind-trip!
What’s the most perfect day of the year for a math-lovers’ birthday? Pi day, of course! That would be March 14, or 3.14. And that is Albert Einstein’s birthday AND Allie Einstein’s birthday. Totally cool! They’re alike in other ways, too: they are both exuberant, energetic, and interested in LOTS of things like space, time, technology, and of course, math. Albert Einstein wrote the world’s most famous equation, E = mc^2 which means “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” It shows that energy (E) and mass (m) are interchangeable; they are different forms of the same thing. Both Albert and Allie have a beloved sister named Maja, and they both play the violin, and enjoy sailing, hiking, and playing jokes. As an older man, Albert Einstein had wild white hair. Allie has hair so blonde that it is nearly white, and it sticks straight out as if it is as wildly enthusiastic as Allie is herself. Allie has braces that illuminate her smile, which, like Albert’s, expresses her outgoing, friendly, life-embracing, unself-conscious nature. Allie’s favorite color is bright yellow, which is Albert’s favorite color, and her favorite food is spaghetti, Albert’s favorite food. Neither Albert nor Allie is very fussy about clothes. Allie dyed all of hers blue at the beginning of the school year, and it doesn’t really bother her. It’s part of her charm that Allie can put her ego aside, laugh at herself, and act goofy to make people feel better. Albert’s sense of humor is also endearing. Both Albert and Allie can be hot tempered and think without speaking sometimes. But you have to love them for their excessive faith in their friends. They’re very supportive and faithful, and so firmly convinced of their friends’ genius and talent that they’re surprised when their friends don’t see themselves as stars. While nobody likes defeats, Albert and Allie are never crabby for very long because they’re never tied to doing something one way only. They both believe what Emily Dickinson wrote: The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.
When middle school mishaps happen, five friends form the S.M.A.R.T. Squad and use their collective skills and the power of science to bring order to their school.
Science reigns supreme with this squad of young brainiacs. Join Izzy Newton and her friends in the first adventure of this fun new middle-grade fiction series from National Geographic Kids.
A crowded new school and a crazy class schedule is enough to make Izzy feel dizzy. It may be the first day of middle school, but as long as her best friends Allie Einstein and Charlie Darwin are by her side, Izzy knows it’ll all be okay. However, first-day jitters take an icy turn when Izzy’s old pal Marie Curie comes back to town. Instead of a warm welcome, Marie gives her former pal the cold shoulder. The problems pile up when the school’s air-conditioning goes on the fritz and the temperature suddenly drops to near freezing. The adults don’t seem to have a clue how to thaw out the school. Cold temperatures and a frigid friendship? Izzy has had enough of feeling like an absolute zero. She rallies the girls to use their brainpower and science smarts to tackle the school’s chilly mystery … and hopefully to fix a certain frozen friendship along the way. Will the girls succeed and become the heroes of Atom Middle School?
About the Author: Part of the creative team behind the American Girl series, Valerie Tripp has written many of the American Girl books about Felicity, Josefina, Samantha, Kit, Molly, and Maryellen. She also wrote American Girl’s Welliewisher and Hopscotch Hill School books. Tripp has also written numerous levled readers, songs, stories, skills book pages, poems, and plays for educational publishers and is the editorial director of the Boys Camp series. She is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries.
About the Illustrator: Geneva Bowers is a self-taught illustrator who lives in the North Carolina mountains. Her drawing career started at age seven, when she wanted to draw horses better than her sister. Bowers works mostly digitally, using a vivid palette and simple shapes to create interesting images that reflect whimsy with a touch of realism. She has illustrated several webcomics, books, and book covers and is a 2018 Hugo award winner.
One (1) winner will receive a finished copy of Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero SIGNED by Valerie Tripp
Check out the other four stops for more chances to win
3 responses to “Izzy Newton Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway”
I would want to meet Dian Fossey.
This book looks great, can’t wait to read it!
I would dearly love to spend time with Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the only female doctor to write a book in the 19th century. Knowing she was the first African American woman to work as a physician makes me desperately want to hear the stories she could tell.