Why I Love Science and Non-Fiction

Science is how we know things are true. But science can still be wrong sometimes – it only tells us what’s true based on the things we already know. And if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that we don’t know everything. We don’t know even a fraction of all the things that there are to know about life, the Universe and all that good stuff.

We don’t know even a fraction of all the things that there are to know about life, the Universe and all that good stuff

100 Things to know about Space doesn’t tell you anything that you NEED to know; there’s no such thing (although knowing how to read is obviously amazingly useful). What 100 Things to Know About Space does tell you is lots of things that you never knew you wanted to know, such as where the coldest spot in the universe is (it’s closer than you think...) or how much a space toilet costs (answer: a lot!). 

Story books are brilliant – you can lose yourself in a whole new world, and live amazing lives through the characters in them. The best ones often tell you something you didn’t already know about the real world, too. Explaining scientific truths in a story is possible – but it’s usually quicker, easier and less complicated for everybody just to draw a picture and explain what’s going on with labels. Who needs paragraphs and sentences when we can explain supertornadoes, water supplies on the International Space Station and what a holiday on Jupiter’s moon might be like using just a few words and lots of colourful and comical pictures? Non-fiction books don’t waste time trying to suck you in, they hit you with facts, full in the face. That’s what 100 Things to Know About Space is like: there’s a new fact on almost every page, so you don’t have to read a whole chapter or even a whole paragraph – the information is right there in front of you, available at a glance.

Explaining scientific truths in a story is possible, but it’s usually quicker, easier and less complicated just to draw a picture and explain what’s going on with labels

Sometimes, the most interesting things in science aren’t about what people know, but about the things people DON’T know. Why do things always fall down when you drop them? Because of gravity, of course. But what makes gravity? NO ONE KNOWS. Space is full of things that people don’t know anything about. Whether aliens exist, and where they’re hiding. Dark matter. What’s on the surface of other planets – and what’s underneath them. We don’t even know for sure what’s in the centre of the Earth. Understanding big ideas like this, especially when we don’t have any scientific proof yet, requires A LOT of imagination. And that means that science can sometimes be a little bit like a story, too.

My favourite thing about science, though, is that it’s endless. What are you interested in? Do you want to unravel big ideas, such as time and gravity, or are you fascinated by little details, such as the tiny living creatures that can survive in the harshness of space? The Universe is so vast, we’ll never run out of different things to find out about what’s in it, how it fits together, and what it might look like in the future.

So where do you want to start?

A Scientist's view of 100 Things To Know About Space!

100 Things To Know About Space is published by Usborne and is out now! We asked Dr Sarah Thomas, Events Developer at Edinburgh Science Festival, to tell us what she thought of 100 Things to Know About Space

'Imagine a bunch of adults huddled around a book for children about space, excitedly pointing at graphics, gasping at facts they didn’t know and enthusiastically telling everybody in earshot – well that’s what happened when 100 Things To Know About Space arrived at the Edinburgh International Science Festival office! This creative book will transport budding space explorers through our Solar System: from super tornadoes on the Sun, to growing food on Mars, to piles of astronaut litter on the Moon.  Each awe-inspiring concept is presented as a beautifully designed infographic. These fun infographics make the science easy to understand and exciting to read. It also prevents 100 Things To Know About Space from becoming too text heavy for younger readers whilst keeping it interesting and engaging for older readers. A book to pick up time and time again, and each time you’ll find out something new.'

Check out some images from 100 Things to Know About Space in the gallery below.

You can find more fantastic books for young readers in our book lists section, including books about space and the world of science in general!

Alex Frith, Sarah Thomas

Alex Frith is the author of 100 Things To Know About Space and a whole host of other Usborne books on everything from chemistry to submarines to the human brain. You can find more of Alex's books at the Usborne website.

Dr Sarah Thomas is an Events Developer at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Sarah is the champion of the Sci-Ku Competition, a nationwide science and literacy project for primary and secondary schools in Scotland, and coordinator of The Reading Experiment, a scientific literacy campaign aimed at adult audiences to foster lifelong learning.