“The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology” by Sean Connolly. © 2019, Workman. 227 pages


Sometimes, you really need to feel sorry for your Grandpa.

Back when he was your age, telephones were tethered permanently to the wall. He had to get off the sofa to change the TV channel, and the only computers Grandpa ever heard of were inside warehouses owned by big businesses. You gotta love modern times, right? And with “The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology” by Sean Connolly, you’ll love everything that comes with it.


You’ve heard about it, probably in school. It stands for Science, Technology, Electronics, Mathematics and in this book, Connolly says he’s going to focus on “the “T” of STEM” to show that it’s cool with “a whiff of danger.”

Take, for instance, the fact that scientists have figured out how to make plants grow in space. No big deal, right? Until you know that the plants grow much faster than they do on Earth and well, it’s good (more food for the people on the planet) and maybe bad (what if things “get out of control”?). See the problems, and do an experiment for yourself, by peeking at page 7.

Or how about this: Connolly says that voice-related technology that follows you around is already being used. It’s creepy, but it’s sometimes funny — or is it? What if it was music, rather than ads, or sounds that hurt your ears?

You might already know that there’s danger on the internet, and that extends to WiFi. Connolly explains why, and he offers a couple of scenarios to make you think. He also explains why some people might be “genuinely terrified” by the idea of Virtual Reality, along with a fun experiment.

Is your bedroom wired for everything? Then you’ll want to know why “the Internet of Things” may not be a great idea. Read about why GPS isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Learn how 3-D printing is good and bad. Find out why drones are cool and not-so-cool. And see how lunch in the future might be different than what you saw on your plate today. Bon appétit!

Sometimes, you have to marvel at the speed with which your child adapts and uses technology. It seems as though it’s an extension of her fingers but you know that, like any other good thing, it has its dangers. “The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology” explains some of them.

That, of course, isn’t going to turn your child away from the future; quite the contrary, this book is going to whet his appetite for everything STEM. Author Sean Connolly gives young readers the low-down on high-tech by laying out the good and the cautionary, envisioning the future just a little bit, and then he offers experiments so that older kids can get their hands dirty, (mostly) without adult supervision.

For a child who’s tech-minded, that’s gold; for a kid who’s not so techy, it’s a good way to get her started. Your 9- to 15-year-old will have fun with “The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology” coz it ain’t his Grandpa’s book.

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