- NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book
- Georgia Camellia Nonfiction Children's Book award list
Most spiders spin a web and passively wait for prey to come to them. Jumping spiders, by contrast, actively hunt by jumping to catch their food. What if a jumping spider was sent to the International Space Station? When it jumped, it would simply float. No one knew if the spider could hunt in a weightless environment.
This nonfiction picture book for elementary kids chronicles the amazing voyage of Nefertiti, the Spidernaut to the International Space Station and back. She’s a Phiddipus johnsonii, or Johnson jumping spider, native to western United States. Her colorful anatomy—red, black and teal—made for stunning photography and video. In 2012, Nefertitti clocked a record-breaking 100 days in space, during which time she circled Earth about 1584 times, traveling about 41,580,000 miles.
Astronaut Sunita Williams, Captain U.S. Navy said, “It was a suspense story for me as it happened. I didn’t know if she would survive when I unpacked her for the first time, or when I packed her up and sent her back home to Earth.”
This is an astonishing story of change: through the dark and cold, in spite of being weightless and isolated, this incredible spider adapted and learned to hunt. Against all odds, she survived to return to Earth, where she had to re-adapt to Earth’s gravity. Nefertiti’s story of survival brings hope that we, too, can adapt to a changing world.
Join Nefertiti in this inspiring journey into space.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
"In this remarkable true story of a jumping spider sent on a mission to space, Darcy Pattison successfully weaves together life science, earth space science, engineering, and technology within a suspenseful narrative. Readers will be drawn to Nerfertiti’s resilience as she tackles a challenge no spider has ever faced before…to learn how to hunt in microgravity. This heartwarming and educational book will make a terrific addition to any classroom STEM library." - Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan, science educators and authors of Picture-Perfect Science Lessons.
“Nefertiti The Spidernaut is an accurate and step by step account of this spider’s journey to and from the International Space Station. Having worked on invertebrates in space experiments with BioServe, Darcy Pattison truly caught the scope of the science while keeping you rooting for Nefertiti.” Mary Ann Colley, VP of Science and Conservation, Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster, CO