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West Hartford Resident Wins Awards for Best STEM Children’s Books

Illustration from 'The Stardust Mystery.' Courtesy image

Peter R. Solomon, a West Hartford resident, recently received first place awards for two STEM books, along with praise for educational videos, games, and learning activities accompanying the books.

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By Sophie Christensen

Peter R. Solomon, PhD., is now the author of two award-winning children’s books. His first illustrated e-book, “The Stardust Mystery,” won best STEM e-book. The illustrated sequel, called “The Race to the Big Bang,” won best STEM book. Both were awarded the Purple Dragonfly Book Award.

Solomon’s goal is to present scientific material to elementary and middle school-aged children in a fun and engaging way. It seems he’s found a way to do just that.

Peter Solomon. Courtesy photo

A middle school science teacher says that “The Stardust Mystery” is a “great resource for [the] STEM classroom.” Her students especially enjoy the interactive website that accompanies the book.

The theme of “The Stardust Mystery” is that “we are made of stardust that was once in the body of Albert Einstein and the Last T-Rex.”

“The Stardust Mystery” follows the adventures of four young children – cousins – who set off on a mission to understand stardust. They must find out what stardust is (atoms, as they learn), and how it’s created (in the Big Bang). They also discover that everyone and everything is made of stardust. In fact, each person has “more than 5,000 trillion [atoms] that were once in each T-Rex.”

Along the way, the kids witness the Big Bang, see dinosaurs, and meet Albert Einstein.

A middle school girl emphasized that what makes [“The Stardust Mystery”] “even better is reading about kids my age doing science.”

In an Amazon review, Patrice LeBlanc states, “as an adult, I learned…things I had never heard before, and it made the time reading this wonderful material a true learning experience for me.”

Solomon’s newest book, “The Race to the Big Bang,” is a sequel to “The Stardust Mystery,” and both books are a part of The Stardust Mystery Project. It features a timely, teachable twist: As seven children form a team to compete in “The Race to the Big Bang” contest, they learn about mRNA vaccines and how viruses affect the human body.

In the epilogue, students can closely follow the stages of viral development, and of vaccine immunization. Additionally, Covid-19 Learning Pages provide eight illustrated short stories, video links, lesson plans, and questions for students and teachers.

As CEO of TheBeamer LLC, Solomon develops media products for education. To accompany “The Stardust Mystery,” Solomon created companion video games, YouTube videos, and online student projects with funding from the National Science Foundation.

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TheBeamer LLC will provide free books to educators and children’s groups. To receive a free PDF copy of the books, email [email protected] and put STARDUST and/or BIG BANG in the subject line.

The Stardust Mystery Project website, YouTube channel, and video games can be found here.

“The Stardust Mystery” can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble; “The Race to the Big Bang”can be purchased as a print or e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Sophie Christensen

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