My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Source: E-ARC via NetGalley, by reviewer’s request
Fact: I was never part of a Science Fair. It’s one of those things that I’m a little sad to have missed out on. But Dutton offers a chance to live vicariously through some kids who are really part of the Science Fair scene. Twelve students are profiled in individual chapters, which alternate between a student (as of the book’s writing) headed for the 2009 Intel International Science Fair after winning a qualifying local competition and a participant in a previous year who has become Science Fair Legend. Their projects are not simple baking soda volcanoes or skin cells under microscopes; these are kids who have done things like build a nuclear reactor or create a home heating system out of salvaged materials.
Dutton takes the reader deep into the world of the Science Fair, interviewing not only the students, but also parents, teachers, and mentors. The young scientists reveal themselves to be teenagers much like their less scientifically-inclined peers, just kids with some quirky interests and an uncommon drive to explore. If you think you know what a Science Fair – or a Science Fair entrant – is all about, this book may surprise you. An entertaining and informative peek into the lives of the next generation of scientific discovery for teens and adults alike.