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“The 50 State Unofficial Meteorites: A Guidebook for Aspiring Meteoriticists”

With a degree in geosciences from Princeton, author Yinan Wang brought the magic and wonder of gems, minerals, and fossils to the young adult masses through a pair of books using “The 50 State” theme. And now in a third book, meteorites join the fold with the new book The 50 State Unofficial Meteorites: A Guidebook for Aspiring Meteoriticists.

The 80 pages of color photos present meteorites found around America with each state represented whether or not the state can claim a meteorite fall or discovery of its own. But what really makes this book stand out in the realm of youth literature about meteorites is the quality of the explanations across a wide scope of meteorite and scientific topics. But not with lengthy, detailed, dense paragraphs of text, but with concise, to the point explanations that answer the question without wandering into the gory details that we learn to love as collectors.

The first dozen pages of this hardcover book would make an exceptional introduction to meteorite science on their own. But the bulk of the book is a deeper tour through the nuances of meteorites themed across each state’s contribution to our collections.

Before the reader knows it, they will have a significantly better than average understanding of complexities of meteorite history, meteorite science and the connection between meteorites and planetary geology. In fact, I would be happy if graduate students in geology had the background knowledge in this book. It’s that good.

Twodot picture

The Twodot meteorite is an oriented stone so the mushroom-shaped head should point towards the earth. That is something I mentioned to the author, and I’m glad it was presented that way.

The publisher’s description of the book is as follows:

Delve into this unique look at meteorites that have been found in almost each of the 50 US states, and discover how these treasured rocks from space fell down to Earth.

With each state entry, award-winning author and mineral and fossil expert Yinan Wang presents details about several meteorites that are worthy of becoming official state meteorites. Since no state has an official state meteorite, this kids’ guidebook explores each state’s “unofficial” meteorite, along with its interesting backstory of why it was selected.

• More than 150 illustrations and photographs showcase these marvels from outer space

• Meteorites have not been found in all states so helpful suggestions are given on where they might be found

• Suggestions and guidance are provided so that the reader can lead the way in getting one designated

• Museums and parks with meteorites are listed in the appendix

From the Lafayette Mars meteorite found in a drawer in Purdue University to the 26-pound space rock that smashed into the trunk of a car in Peekskill, New York, immerse young science students in an encyclopedic yet easy read that is great for aspiring meteoriticists.


MT Joy picture

One of the images used in the book has been sitting quietly on a digital shelf for over two decades. I’m glad it is back in the sunlight.

With the loss of so many of our meteorite book authors over recent years, it is both refreshing and important to continue the literary contributions about meteorites referencing our current science and most of all, our current interests. I just know that some young readers of The 50 State Unofficial Meteorites: A Guidebook for Aspiring Meteoriticists will cite this book as the turning point when they decided to become a member of the next generation of practicing meteorite scientists.

Until next time…

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