The Children’s Book Review | September 26, 2018
Liz Heinecke’s Selfie With Star Wars Maker Lab
My daughter May took these “selfies” on our screened in porch, next to a Monarch butterfly chrysalis and several caterpillars munching on milkweed in an old aquarium. She told me to send the goofy one too. Since I’m constantly stirring up science experiments at the kitchen table, my three kids help out a lot when I write books like Star Wars Maker Lab. Not only are they guinea pigs for testing the fun factor of projects, they’re great at coming up with ideas to make them more appealing to kids.
We had a paper-mache Death Star hanging in our breakfast nook for an entire summer while I worked on project-testing and writing Star Wars Maker Lab. It was a blast thinking up Star Wars-themed takes on classic science experiments, and fun making up some entirely new ones as well. My co-author Cole Horton is a fountain of Star Wars knowledge, and I love how the book turned out. Hopefully, it will inspire lots of kids to make the projects, and maybe even come up with a few of their own.
Liz Heinecke’s Shelfie
I’m a book worm, so there are books in almost every room of our house. This bookshelf is in our living room and I’ve taken over the top two shelves. A folk song book, full of music I grew up singing with my parents and sister sits on the top left and gets pulled out occasionally. Books about art are plentiful, including several about Picasso, whose drawings and paintings inspired me to change my major to art in college. You’ll also find a treasured copy of The Hobbit, which our family read out loud when I was a kid.
Because I love a good story, fiction rules on my shelves. I keep favorites around to re-read or loan to friends. Naturally, science storytelling has a place in my heart, so there is always a science narrative or two on my night stand, and I keep science books around for inspiration. A few of my friends are authors, so their books have reserved spots, and I keep copies of books I’ve written, including foreign language editions. It makes me happy to think that one of the books I wrote might be on a kid’s bookshelf somewhere.
Cole Horton’s Selfie With Star Wars Maker Lab
Here I am with my latest Star Warsbook, Star Wars Maker Lab. While it’s not my first book, it is my first foray into science so it’s a good thing I got to work with my co-author and actual scientist, Liz Heinecke! Liz and the team at DK did a fantastic job coming up with twenty Star Wars-themed science experiments that kids can do at home and I had the pleasure of providing the Star Wars content. The book is proof that Star Wars can make anything more fun and is great for those reluctant readers and scientists in your life.
Cole Horton’s Shelfie
One look at my bookshelf and it’s abundantly clear that much of my reading is Star Wars. Having written books like Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know and now Star Wars Maker Lab, I rely on this trove for reference. Every book I write is packed with facts, backstories, and trivia from a galaxy far, far away.
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, space is at a premium and my shelves are packed to near capacity. I do make space for a few notable items though. The first are some Indiana Jones items, representing that film series I love just as much as Star Wars. You’ll see dozens of notebooks and some of my fountain pens, as I still prefer ink and paper note taking. Many of these are full of notes taken while writing previous books. The top shelf is also home to a stormtrooper playset from the 90’s, my first Star Wars toy ever and the item that sparked my interest so many years ago. I never thought it would have led to a career working on this franchise across multiple mediums.
Written by Liz Heinecke and Cole Horton
Publisher’s Synopsis: Ever wanted to move things without touching them like a Jedi can? Or grow your own kyber crystal? Or maybe explode a balloon with a beam of energy, just like the Death Star? Now you can!
With 20 amazing projects, Star Wars™ Maker Lab teaches your budding Padawan how to become a Master of science, in both the real world and the Star Wars galaxy. Using clear step-by-step instructions, the book guides home scientists and makers through each exciting experiment–from making Jabba’s gooey slime or a hovering landspeeder, to an Ewok catapult and a glowing Gungan Globe of Peace. Each experiment has fact-filled panels to explain the real-world science as well as the Star Wars science fiction from the movies.
With projects that are out of this world, this fantastic Star Wars book can keep children entertained for hours, making use of many household items such as cardboard tubes, baking soda, cornstarch, straws, balloons, and food coloring. There is also plenty to keep more adventurous scientists enthralled, with instructions to make your own bristlebot mouse droid, lightsaber duel, and Mustafar volcano. Star Wars Maker Lab supports STREAM topics and helps children to learn the basics of science by traveling through the Star Wars galaxy. May the (static) Force be with you!
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: DK Children | July 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1465467126
About the Authors
Liz Heinecke has made it her mission to show the world that anyone can be a scientist and that kids from three to ninety-three can have fun playing with science at home. After working in academic molecular biology research labs for 10 years and getting a master’s degree in bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Liz started doing science with her three kids, journaling their experiments and adventures on KitchenPantryScientist.com.
Cole Horton is an author, historian, and games industry professional. He is the author of multiple Star Wars books, including Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know and Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia. Cole graduated with a degree in history from Indiana University and has contributed as a historian to StarWars.com, Marvel AR, and Marvel.com. By day, he works on Star Warsgames at EA and lives in San Francisco with his wife.
Discover more books like ‘Star Wars Maker Lab,’ written by Liz Heinecke and Cole Horton, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Books With Experiments, Science, Star Wars Books, and STEM; and be sure to follow along with our Selfie and a Shelfie series.