Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of the book for review purposes from the publisher. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
Science is near and dear to my heart. As a teacher, I loved showing children in my classroom how things worked, grew, and thrived. Chemistry was especially interesting to teach, especially when it came to sharing chemical reactions and other things related to the periodic table that would hang proudly on my bulletin wall. Once I was able to get my students not to be afraid of the world of Chemistry, they would quickly relax and enjoy the wonder of everything. There was just something extra special about working in a lab and hearing a room full of experiments make another generation of scientists.
Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter (ISBN 9781454905097) – Written by Simon Mayo – Splinter (YA from Sterling) – April 2013 – Hardcover $16.95 – Ages 12+
Now imagine you have a fourteen year old student who collects items. Only these are not rocks, minerals, rare coins, or anything like that. No, the student collect elements from the periodic table. Yes, Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter is about a teen boy named Itchingham Lofte who has a collection of items like Carbon, Sodium, and even Radium. Of course, you can not simply head to a store to pick up an element that you need for your collection. While reading Itch, we watch as a young boy learns that experiments can not only go wrong from time to time, but dreams can change your entire life in an instant.
Debut author and beloved BBC radio DJ, Simon Mayo takes us along on an adventure like no other I have read before. It is filled with science, intrigue, and teen/school drama. We watch as Itch, his cousin Jack, and sister Chloe work to protect the wrong people from finding something that never should have been unearthed. Yes, they stumble upon what is likely a new element and the power of this item could cause a lot of danger if it gets into the wrong hands. Of course, someone they thought they could trust was involved with the wrong people. Soon after, this the story escalates as Itch has to run to protect everyone from these powerful rocks that everyone now wants to get their hands on for all the wrong reasons.
I definitely recommend this book for all teens and adults that are fascinated with science. I adore that a geek turns into a hero and his love and knowledge of science thrusts him into this role. The twists and turns in this book will keep you on your toes and turning pages to see what happens to Itch and everyone involved in his story. I know I am looking forward to the sequel that will not be available in the United States until next year.
If I was in a middle school classroom right now, this book would be a great addition to reading that connects the world of science and fictional tales. There is also a reading group guide available from Splinter on their website that was linked above. Oh and one other interesting piece of information. The cover and jacket flap of the hardcover book feature augmented reality animations via a free downloadable itch app. I have to admit, this tech love science geek is very intrigued by this.
If you were an element hunter, what would you like to find? As always, Tuesday Tales is about spreading love for books. Please share what you have read recently. Be sure to link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.