Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 30, 2018

Book Giveaway: Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact by Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson has agreed to give away a copy of her new book ASTRONAUT AQUANAUT: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact to one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


Journey from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the farthest humans have ventured into space and learn what it takes to explore the extremes. You might just be surprised by how similar the domains of ASTRONAUTS and AQUANAUTS really are.

Space and the ocean. If you don’t think they go together, think again! Both deep-sea and space explorers have to worry about pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. Join us on an amazing journey as we go up in space with astronauts and dive deep down in the ocean with aquanauts to explore the far-off places of our planet and the solar system. 

With a strong tie into STEM topics–such as making connections, making comparisons, and recognizing patterns across content areas–readers will discover the amazing science and incredible innovations that allow humans (and sometimes only machines) to survive in these harsh environments.(National Geographic Kids, 2018)


This book started from a conversation that I was having with my editor, Shelby Lees. We were discussing another book that I was working with her about space. The topic came up of how astronauts train and I said something like, I bet it’s very different from how deep-sea divers train. Then we wondered… was it? Loving research as much as I do, I had to look it up. To my surprise, I learned that actually  astronauts now train underwater, just like aquanauts. WOW! That is a COOL fact. Anyone who writes nonfiction knows that one cool fact can become the hook. I knew this would make a great book.

The next day, I dove into the research like, well… a deep-sea diver. (pun intended) 😊 For me, it’s all about finding the WOW factor. I focus all my research on discovering the bits of information that make readers go “WOW!” or “I didn’t know that.” The more of them I find, the better – and more interesting—my book is. So, it was with great anticipation, that took a giant leap into my research.  

I headed to the library to check out every single kid’s book on space and the ocean. I want to see what’s out there, so my book is different. Then, I hopped on the internet.

NASA had, of course, a wealth of information about astronaut training. It was much more difficult to find information about how an aquanaut trains. Then I found this link to the Aquarius Underwater Lab It was so amazing, and also in Florida where I lived! I read everything I could find, watched all the videos, and took copious notes.

But, something was still missing. I needed a big WOW factor that would tie everything together. Something that gave the inside look and feel of being an astronaut or aquanaut. Since I didn’t think that National Geographic would pay for me to go into space, or learn to be a deep-sea diver, I’d better get some expert help.  But where to find them? On the Aquarius website, a Dr. Brian Helmuth was listed. I emailed him, and he responded right away. He’d be happy to help me with my research and answer my questions. And, the best part, was that he knew a bunch of other aquanauts (and even an astronaut or two), that might help me on my journey, as well.

I was over the moon with excitement! I set about contacting the experts on Brian’s list. A few responded very quickly and agreed to help. Others did not. I didn’t let that deter me, I went on and kept hunting for experts. Have you ever tried to get the email of an astronaut? It’s difficult.

But I kept at it. 3, 4, 5 months into this book, I was still trying to contact experts. I eventually got connected with Dr. Darlene Lim, a NASA scientist. She offered to help me, too.

Finally, about six months into the project, I connected with Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, and also at the time, the head of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assn). I had a phone interview with her. It was a very thrilling moment in my life, speaking to such an amazing pioneer.

The last expert that I brought on board was Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, one of the heroes of my youth. Fabien is a spectacular explorer in his own right. He led a team that spent 31 straight days under the water—the longest any human has ever done. Speaking with him was quite an amazing experience and meeting him in person, even more so.

Creating this book led me on my own incredible journey UP into space and DOWN into the ocean and fueled my passion for science. What can I say? I love my job.  SCIENCE ROCKS!


Science Rocks! And so do Jennifer Swanson’s books. She is the author of over 30 nonfiction books for children. A self-professed science geek, Jennifer started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, Jennifer’s passion for science resonates in in all her books but especially, BRAIN GAMES (NGKids) and SUPER GEAR: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge) which was named an NSTA Best STEM book of 2017 and an NSTA Outstanding Trade Book 2017 Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarians Workshop, Library Media Connection, and a Nerdy Book Club award. Her book, Astronaut-Aquanaut (National Geographic Kids) is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Find Jennifer through her website

Jennifer, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I can’t wait to see it in the bookstores. I am sure the winner will love it.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a cool book! Love the layout. And what amazing interviews you conducted.Thanks for sharing your journey into the deep with us. -Vicki

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow–what an amazing adventure in book authorship! And what an unique topic to explore. Looks like a book my twin 8-year-old boys–and I!–would really enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book looks so fabulous! I am asking my library to order it so I can get my hands on a copy even if I don’t win. Thanks for the opportunity, Kathy. I’m also going to tweet the giveaway. @KirstenWLarson

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait to read this one! What a clever mashup of two engaging areas of science. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This looks absolutely delightful and I wish I had thought of it myself. I mean, come on–studying space and deep-sea diving in the same book? Brilliant! Thanks Jennifer and Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks like a fantastic book. And what a great interview, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to win this wonderful book. I have tweeted about the giveaway also.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Jen makes me want to like science! 🙂 Tweeted it, put it on Facebook, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sounds fascinating–the glimpse into the book’s background and research were insightful! Congrats, Jen, and this is moving to the top of my book list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shared on FB and Twitter. WOUld love to win this book for my grandkids. What a great premise! (in other words, I wish I had thought of that!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This book looks fantastic! Can’t wait to read and learn more about the commonalities between these two types of exploration. Congrats, Jennifer!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, Science Rocks! I Tweeted about ASTRONAUT AQUANAUT. Great concept!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a great idea to combine and compare the two sciences in one book. I’m sure lots of kids will find it very eye-opening.
    I tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest:
    Thanks again, have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved reading about Jennifer’s WOW-driven approach to writing nonfiction for kids. This surely will be a book that adults will enjoy reading as well. The unique ocean/space connection will make this a real standout. Congratulations, Jennifer!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love the beautiful photos and helpful information. Such a well-created book! Just excellent for all readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oceanography is my love! I can’t wait to sea how space meets the ocean in this book!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. This looks fascinating and your experts – wow! Looking forward to reading it. I retweeted too. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sounds so interesting Jen. I can’t wait
    to read it! Congrats to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Such a beautiful book. I shared this on FB and Twitter as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I can’t wait to see this book! Your discussion of the book’s genesis and the research process is very helpful. I have a number of non-fiction manuscripts I have been working on, and it is always intriguing to read about the research processes others use, as well as the manner in which they deliver the results. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a fantastic story about delving into space and underwater I’d love to read your book and all you discovered in your research. I love non-fiction and you did find just the right hook. Congratulations Jennifer! I’ll post on my FB page.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So cool Jennifer!

    Liked by 1 person

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