The Universe
Teacher Resources

The Universe: The Big Bang, Black Holes, and Blue Whales

Illustrated by Alexis Cornell
Available September 2020! What exactly is the universe? How did it begin? How will it end? Explore these questions and more in The Universe: The Big Bang, Black Holes, and Blue Whales. Readers ages 12 to 15 embark on an exciting journey that starts with the Big Bang and takes them all the way to the end of the universe, with many exciting stops in between.

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Praise for other titles by Matthew Brenden Wood

Planetary Science: Explore New Frontiers
School Library Connections
"This well-written informational book provides readers with accurate, up-to-date planetary facts, vocabulary, primary sources, projects, interesting sidebars, QR codes, and more. Perfect as a reference book for school projects or to satisfy planet enthusiasts, this book's expository text is organized in a readable, highly engaging style. The text structure, which includes a solid introduction and six chapters, is easy to navigate with consistent headings and page design throughout the book. At the end of each chapter, readers will explore vocabulary in the Vocab Lab and can complete an investigation or experiment, which come complete with detailed instructions and a QR code for additional help. Inquiry is promoted and encouraged throughout each chapter. Illustrations include photographs, diagrams, and drawings. Helping to engage readers is a brief comic-style story that continues throughout the book with the characters focused on each chapter's content. This book is a great addition to any school or classroom library. Additional Resources. Glossary. Index. Recommended"

National Science Teachers Association Recommends
" . . . This book from the Inquire & Investigate series from Nomad Press is directed at the middle grades, and combines easy to read text with color diagrams and photographs. In short comic strips (two or three per chapter) the book provides a tour of the solar system led by Dr. Fathima Abadi, a female astronomer. It's encouraging to find a book that depicts a woman scientist as its guide without drawing attention to her gender...  Overall, this is an affordable overview of planets in our solar system." Read the complete review online. 

The Science of Science Fiction
Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Literature
Rating: Recommended  - -Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
"Good addition to STEAM collections in middle and high school. Designed to allow readers to discover the science behind classic and modern SF stories, many of which have inspired today’s inventors (think flip phones, small, hand-held tablets and Star Trek)."

School Library Connection
"By exploring the intersection between the arts and sciences, this book provides an engaging discussion of how works of science fiction can influence actual scientific innovation and vice versa. This title is best for middle and high school libraries looking to expand their STEAM collection or with a substantial sci-fi fan base in their community. The suggested activities included in this title provide many opportunities for collaboration, high-level thinking, discussion, and debate. Recommended"

Archimedes Notebook 
". . . What I really like are the hands-on investigations. You can extract your own DNA, calculate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, and play around with centripetal force. My favorite, though, is measuring the speed of light using a microwave, a bar of chocolate, a ruler, and a calculator. Who can resist an experiment that involves chocolate?" Read the complete review online.

Publishers Weekly
In this intriguing addition to the Inquire and Investigate series, Wood explores the science behind cloning, time travel, and other science fiction staples . . . Comics, sidebars, and experiments offer a variety of approaches to the topics (such as using a microwave and chocolate bar to calculate the speed of light), and QR codes provide links to supplemental online resources. It's an engrossing look at how science and fiction converge and diverge." Read the complete review online.

"This latest addition to the award-winning Inquire and Investigate series will be a welcome acquisition for librarians wanting to spice up their STEAM collections. Accessible text, multiple subheadings, guiding questions, and follow-up activities, plus a bevy of graphics (sidebars, cartoons, fact blurbs, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, vocabulary lab exercises, scannable QR codes, primary resources), tackle six familiar science fiction themes: cloning, robots, colonizing Mars, interstellar travel, time travel, and aliens. Fictional characters, settings, and gadgets mesh with science fact and theory, making the technical going easier (and a lot more entertaining)... an excellent way to capture students' imaginations, whether they're of the science and technology or literature and video-arts persuasion."

School Library Journal
"VERDICT Jam-packed with high-interest material, this selection will be useful for science classes or literature units that cover the books mentioned within."


Teacher Resources

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Detailed Book Description

What exactly is the universe? How did it begin? How will it end?

Explore these questions and more in The Universe: The Big Bang, Black Holes, and Blue Whales. Readers ages 12 to 15 embark on an exciting journey that starts with the Big Bang and takes them all the way to the end of the universe, with many exciting stops in between. Take a look billions of years into the past and discover the mind-bending early moments of the universe, the rise of the first stars, and the formation of the earliest galaxies. Explore the birth of our sun and solar system and the formation of the only place in the universe known to support life: the earth. Finally, zoom billions of years into the future to learn about the death of the sun, a colossal collision of galaxies, and even the fate of the universe itself.

The Universe includes hands-on STEM projects that encourage critical and creative thinking skills, along with graphic novel–style illustrations, amazing photography from NASA, and links to online resources.

Try these hands-on science projects!

  • Examine ancient black holes with citizen science
  • Measure the speed of light
  • Explore the effects of local climate change
Available In:
Hardcover, $22.95
Paperback, $17.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Charts | Glossary | Resources | Index | Metric Conversions Chart
Specs: 8 x 10 size | 4-color interior | 128 pages
Subject: Science
Content Focus: Space Science



Welcome to the Universe

Chapter 1
It Begins With a Very Big Bang

Chapter 2
Lighting up the Universe: Stars

Chapter 3
Think Big: Galaxies

Chapter 4
Think Small: Planets

Chapter 5
Evolving Earth

Chapter 6
How It Ends—Or Does It?

Metric Conversions