Physics fiction – learning in disguise

How many fight scenes in action books take time to explain the difference between mass and weight?  How many plot twists in kids’ fantasy depend on the reader understanding Newton’s laws of physics? 


Thrills run up and down my educator’s spine when we stumble on an engaging book which my children choose to read for fun that teaches something worthwhile.  This one was recommended to me by Teresa, my fellow warrior in the anarchist guerilla war to shake the very foundations of organized education, I meaan, homeschooler. 🙂 


I’m used to fiction books incorporating historical information, but physics fiction for kids is a whole new genre for me.  Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman is actually the only book I know of that falls into this category – someone tip me off if you know of another.  What a fun subcategory of science fiction.  In many ways, The Gravity Keeper is a typical teen fantasy book – 2 young boys and a girl (somewhat parallel to the Harry Potter/Ron/Hermione trio) gain strange new powers that they use to defeat the master arch villain and put the school bully in his place along the way.  Their powers aren’t dependent on magic, but on mastering scientific knowledge and physics formulas found in the teachers manual.  Gravity, friction, velocity, and even the theory of relativity are fair game.  Some of the dialog is cliché, the humor is dry, and the book starts out a bit slow, but on the whole I found this to be a completely entertaining (and educational) book.  My 10 and 12 year olds listened to the audio book with me, while my 14 yo devoured the hard copy book (audio books are too slow for him). They didn’t seem to be bothered by literary limitations. LOL  We’re all looking forward to the sequel Simon Bloom, The Octopus Effect which is due out in February.  


Language warning: I caught one curse word.  Several uses of less polite terms for your rear end. Character problems: the kids keep their powers secret from their parents and actually lie to them to hide their activities.  Age level: I’d say 10 and up.


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