A University of Virginia astronomy club created a book to get kids interested in the sciences. It's called "Snapshots of the Universe" and the goal is to make the book available to every third grader in Virginia for free. It's a colorful book written for elementary school students to teach them about astronomy. Joleen Carlberg is an astronomy Ph.D candidate and lead writer for the book.

"The text was written such that all the space objects are talking to the kids and they're sort of describing themselves," Carlberg said.

About a year ago, UVA astronomy professor, Kelsey Johnson, and a team of student volunteers created a club for elementary schools in rural Albemarle County called "Dark Skies, Bright kids."

"The first time we ran the club we had a Hispanic girl in the club who was really, really shy and we wanted to figure out a way to bring her out and engage her," Johnson said.

The idea to create an astronomy book with English and Spanish translation was born. Now the club is hoping to receive a $25,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh educational program so the book can be published and given to every third grade classroom in the state at no cost.

"Science literacy is more important than ever before. So we're really trying to help these kids get a start that way," Johnson said.

Laura Jackson is a Spanish major who graduated in May and illustrated the book.

"I never pictured that I would be illustrating a book or that it would end up any more widespread than handing it out to a few friends," Jackson.

In order for the club to receive the grant, they need the community to vote. You can go to the Pepsi Refresh Project website and vote for their idea.

Reported by Jennifer Von Reuter
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