by Brie White
First, You Explore by Rachel Haynie is a beautifully produced story of discovery. The feeling of finding out about something for the first time and where that moment can take you is exemplified through Charles Townes. Townes, who invented the laser, is depicted in his childhood, exploring the natural world and all it had to offer. His family fed his curiosity, and the story in turn encourages its readers to nurture their inner explorer.
Young Palmetto Books has used First, You Explore as a teaching tool, giving it out to students around our state through Cocky’s Reading Express. First, You Explore offers a biographical perspective on an important South Carolinian, emphasizing to readers that learning is a lifelong journey. Richland County School District One has named First, You Explore the book for third graders in their “Together We Can Read” Initiative.
With so many ties to South Carolina, it also important to highlight the exhibits at the South Carolina State Museum, where Charles Townes’ family and invention are highlighted. The planetarium is an experience encompassing a 55 digital dome, where lasers are set to music such as the Beatles, Pink Floyd and U2. There are currently 3 shows: Earth, Moon and Sun, Back to the Moon for Good, and Two Small Pieces of Glass, with different times and dates to suit your schedule. This is the perfect activity for a family and for readers of First, You Explore!
For more information on the planetarium, or to purchase tickets: http://scmuseum.org/explore/planetarium/
To learn more about the “Together We Can Read” Initiative, visit Richland County School District One’s website: http://www.richlandone.org
To learn more about Cocky’s Reading Express, a literacy outreach program associated with the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy: http://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/mcis/library_and_information_science/literacy/cockys_reading_express/