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Book Fair Season

Newsletter, Oct 14th 2022

Our kids school is hosting their book fair this week and several other area schools are as well. Our family has always loved bookfairs, the anticipation of new books, the excitement of shopping with friends, so fun! I love how they promote and create excitement for the written word in kids.

As we were chatting about this, Arun asked me why The Thinking Spot couldn't chip in! And I thought, why not, indeed? So, that's what we're doing.

From now till end of October, The Thinking Spot will be in “bookfair” mode.

What that means, is if you come in and mention your school's bookfair, we will donate a percentage of the profit from your purchase back to your school! Simple as that. Think of it as an extension of your school book fair - just a different set of books!

For the Adults, there is a book fest in town! Our book club is going on a field trip to the Twin Cities Book Festival tomorrow - Oct 15th. We will be heading that way around noon tomorrow - join us if you like!

Please take this short survey, to help plan our our next Author Event.

Jessica Nordell, is the Author of a very thought provoking book “The End of Bias”. She happens to be local and I think we can have a very stimulating discussion. Looking forward to the feedback.

Upcoming Events at The Thinking Spot

Sat Oct 15th 7p : World Premiere of the Math Musical by Matheatre. All Ages. Do not miss this chance. These two literally travel the world and perform at science museums, schools and colleges all over!

Tuesday Oct 18th 11:30a : Virtual Event with Christina Soontornvat. We have now distributed almost 300 books to area schools. Super excited to host my first virtual event and meet award winning author Christina Soontornvat. I still have a few boxes available, if you know of a school with underserved population that could benefit from free copies of her book, please reach out.

Sat Oct 22nd 10:30am : Meet Author of Catstronauts and Waffle and Pancakes - graphic novel books for the 6-10 yr olds. It will be an interactive presentation on cartoons and drawing. You may even get to make one of your own!

Friday Oct 28th 7:30pm : Our favorite monster science comedy lecturer - Matt Kessen - is back with a show about Halloween monsters and the science behind them, right in time for Halloween!. Appropriate for all ages but probably 8+ to appreciate the humor :)

Bookclub News

Sunday Oct 16th 4p : Smart Reads - Ages 7-10 - currently reading The Last Mapmaker. We will pick out our next book on Sunday as well.

Sunday Oct 30th 2p - Yoga for the Mind - our science bookclub for Adults is wrapping up the fascinating An Immense World”. Our next book pick is….drumroll please…..“Joy of X” by Steven Strogatz. Yes, we are bravely venturing into the world of Math! Steven Strogatz promises to be a good guide. Come join us, Math can be intimidating but we can make it less so, in the company of others.

One of our The Thinking Spot members is also hosting their own Bookclub here for a group of Master Naturalists.

If you are interested in running your own bookclub at The Thinking Spot:

Any topic/genre, please reach out. I'd be happy to provide the space and help pick out books.

Private Events at The Thinking Spot

Recently, we hosted a girl scout troop for a private #origami session! Everyone had a blast, a few parents even joined in and when we snuck in a little tidbit about how the James Webb space mirror used origami, their eyes went wide!

If you'd like a private session of any of our workshops :

Origami, robot building, 3D printing, AI Art - please reach out. Scout troops, bday parties, networking, friends groups, all are welcome!

Science News of the week

  • NASA announced this week that the DART mission did successfully change the orbit of the asteroid moon it hit!

  • You know those pump it up bounce houses for kids? Well someone took it a step further to create actual livable houses that away - by pumping concrete into balloon like forms. Check it out.

For new book releases this week, below my picks for various age groups. Full list can be found here.

Keep reading and see you at The Spot soon!


New or Upcoming Titles Recommended For You

Visual Thinking

By Temple Grandin

A landmark book that reveals, celebrates, and advocates for the special minds and contributions of visual thinkers A quarter of a century after her memoir, Thinking in Pictures, forever changed how the world understood autism, Temple Grandin—the “anthropologist on Mars,” as Oliver Sacks dubbed her—transforms our awareness of the different ways our brains are wired. Do you have a keen sense of direction, a love of puzzles, the ability to assemble IKEA furniture without crying? You are likely a visual thinker. With her genius for demystifying science, Grandin draws on cutting-edge research to take us inside visual thinking. Visual thinkers constitute a far greater proportion of the population than previously believed, she reveals, and a more varied one, from the purest “object visualizers” like Grandin herself, with their intuitive knack for design and problem solving, to the abstract, mathematically inclined “visual spatial” thinkers who excel in pattern recognition and systemic thinking. She also makes us understand how a world increasingly geared to the verbal tends to sideline visual thinkers, screening them out at school and passing over them in the workplace. Rather than continuing to waste their singular gifts, driving a collective loss in productivity and innovation, Grandin proposes new approaches to educating, parenting, employing, and collaborating with visual thinkers. In a highly competitive world, this important book helps us see, we need every mind on board

Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Animals in Translation, Animals Make Us Human, The Autistic Brain, and Thinking in Pictures, which became an HBO movie starring Claire Danes. She has been a pioneer in improving the welfare of farm animals as well as an outspoken advocate for the autism community. Dr. Grandin resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Wired for Music

By Adriana Barton

“Beautifully written… a riveting account of how melodies and rhythms connect us, and help us deal with alienation and anxiety.”—Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score

In this captivating blend of science and memoir, a health journalist and former cellist explores music as a source of health, resilience, connection, and joy.

Music isn’t just background noise or a series of torturous exercises we remember from piano lessons. In the right doses, it can double as a mild antidepressant, painkiller, sleeping pill, memory aid—and enhance athletic performance while supporting healthy aging. Though music has been used as a healing strategy since ancient times, neuroscientists have only recently discovered how melody and rhythm stimulate core memory, motor, and emotion centers in the brain. But here’s the catch: We can tune into music every day and still miss out on some of its potent effects.

Adriana Barton learned the hard way. Starting at age five, she studied the cello for nearly two decades, a pursuit that left her with physical injuries and emotional scars. In Wired for Music, she sets out to discover what music is really for, combing through medical studies, discoveries by pioneering neuroscientists, and research from biology and anthropology. Traveling from state-of-the-art science labs to a remote village in Zimbabwe, her investigation gets to the heart of music’s profound effects on the human body and brain. Blending science and story, Wired for Music shows how our species’ age-old connection to melody and rhythm is wired inside us.

Adriana Barton was a staff reporter at The Globe and Mail and has contributed to Utne, Azure, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She studied the cello professionally for seventeen years before becoming a journalist. She lives in Vancouver, BC.


By Brenna Maloney

A humorous and engaging nonfiction book about bugs.

Buzzkill presents the big picture on insects. Funny and informative in equal measure, Brenna Maloney lays out the critical role insects play on our planet, from sustenance to pollination to medicines and more. This compelling narrative tackles both the wacky and weird, as well as threats to insects and their habitats, their possible extinction, and ways that everyday people can prevent their decline. Find out what all the buzz is about! Godwin Books A former reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Brenna Maloney has spent the last twelve years deeply ensconced in environmental reporting, writing, and editing for the National Geographic Society. She is the award-winning author of twelve other books—most recently earning a “silver” from the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards for science writing for young readers. She lives and works in Washington, D.C.

Show and Tell! Great Graphs and Smart Charts

By Stuart J. Murphy

Ages 6-10

A visual-learning expert races up the charts and graphs math success with kid-friendly content sure to help with homework. Want to find the most popular meal in the cafeteria? Compare town sports enrollments? Or maybe you just want to know who burps the most in your family! Learn what line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, and pictographs are and how and when to use them to represent data. Each project shows how to build a chart or graph and ties it all together with a creative infographic that really puts the A in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Mathematics). Whether used as an introductory aid or to underscore previous knowledge, the book prepares today's visually savvy children to succeed in school and life by analyzing the world around them.

Stuart J. Murphy is a visual-learning specialist and the author of the I See I Learn series and the award-winning MathStart series. He has also served as an author and consultant on a number of major educational programs. Stuart lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Hydroponic Hijinks

By Rie Neal

Ages 6-10 - Several of my early readers love this Astrid the Astronaut series - come get the latest and find out what Astrid is up to now!

In this third book in the Astrid the Astronaut chapter book series, Astrid is torn between her best friend and arch-rival! The Shooting Stars and Petite Picasso groups are working together on a combined STEM and art project—which means BFFs Astrid and Hallie finally get to team up! But Astrid’s excitement doesn’t last long when they are grouped with her arch-nemesis: Pearl. And what’s worse, Hallie actually agrees with some of the ideas Pearl has for the project. Isn’t she supposed to be on Astrid’s side? Can Astrid, Hallie, and Pearl learn how to work together and create a project that’s out of this world?

Rie Neal is a children’s book author who loves all things space. Growing up, she was often dragged on her grandfather’s unauthorized tours of NASA’s Ames Research Center, which she didn’t appreciate enough at the time. Eventually, though, she became a full-blown space fan, and began to write space-related books for kids. She also has a doctor of audiology degree from the University of Iowa and is nationally certified as an audiologist through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Today, she lives in the Silicon Valley with her husband and kids, where they drag people on (authorized) tours of the NASA Ames visitor center. Learn more about her books at or connect with her on Instagram (@RieNealWriter). Talitha Shipman is a picture book illustrator from Indiana. Her favorite subjects to paint are wild kids and wild animals. Nature inspires Talitha’s painting, and she hopes her work encourages curiosity and creativity in children of all ages. Her books include the Sydney Taylor Honor recipient Everybody Says Shalom by Leslie Kimmelman, American Farm Bureau Recommended Read Applesauce Day by Lisa J. Amstutz, and 2019 IPPY Silver Medalist First Snow by Nancy Viau. Her debut author-illustrator picture book was Finding Beauty. Talitha lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband and their five-year-old wild child, Coral.

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