Texas Bluebonnet Award 2015-2016

Official TBA Master List Resources Compiled by the TBA Program Committee

The Lost Planet


The Lost Planet
by Rachel Searles


Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Additional Author Interview
Rachel Searles discusses the science behind her books.


Letter from Rachel Searles to Texas Students

About the Author:
Rachel Searles Facebook Page:

Rachel Searles Blog:

About Rachel Searles:

Rachel Searles on Twitter:

Interview with Rachel Searles:

Interview with Rachel Searles:

Interview with Rachel Searles:

Interview with Rachel Searles:

Interview with Rachel Searles:

Interview with Rachel Searles:

Topical Websites:
NASA Kids Club:

Learn about spacesuits:

What is a parsec? (3:48):

Spinoff Inventions:
Spinoff Inventions Activity book with explanations:

Aeronautics and space technology in your life (interactive game):

Trace space back to you:

Space Spinoffs of tomorrow:

Behind the scenes parachutes:

Orion’s parachutes:

What g-force do astronauts experience? ( scroll down to #6):

G-force explained:

Our World-gravity in space (6:21)

How much do I weigh?

Definition of robot:

Robonaut 2 trailer (1:2):

Robonaut 2 NASA’s humanoid robot (6:8):

Valkyrie (R5) NASA’s newest robot (3:03):

Space and Galaxies:
National Geographic – The definitive guide to the Milky Way Galaxy (31:24)::

Hubble space telescope & amp: the formation of the galaxy (44:29):

Hubble image of El Dorado Galaxy:

Image of the day (slideshow):

Our planets:

Health Websites:
How to help someone who is having a seizure:

Warning signs of seizures:

Concussion signs and symptoms checklist:

What to do after a concussion to get better:

Causes, types and symptoms of amnesia:

11 ways to improve your memory:

Mayo Clinic – 7 tips to improving your memory:

Top 10 ways to improve your memory (article-not a list):

Memory Games and Exercises:
Memory games:

Memory games for kids:

Neuroscience for kids (memory games and tests):

Memory training games:

Round Games memory games:

AARP Free memory games (there are several games):

Dallas Morning News games and puzzles:


Discussion Questions:

If you looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the face in front of you how would you feel and what would you do?

Should children have ID markers and trackers implanted in them? Do you believe this is ethical or legal?  Should it be?  Explain.

How much of the technology named in this book has been invented yet and do you believe it will be one day?  Are we working on it?

Think of all the technology that we saw in the old Star Trek shows that were filmed in the early 1960’s. food synthesizers, phasers, blasters, communicators, transporters, space travel, etc. The technology in those shows did not exist at the time the the writing of those shows.  Discuss how much of it exists today. Does science fiction give us ideas to try to invent?

If Chase was attacked before showing up at Parker’s compound, why doesn’t he seem to be afraid for his life?

There is an interplanetary trafficking network and slave trading.  How does this parallel our current situation?  What countries still have human trafficking today and what illegal contraband is smuggled today among countries?

Parker says Chase still has his semantic memory which is the memory of facts and information.  Would you rather lose your memory of facts such as the names of things and words or the memories you have made?  Explain.

Chase lives in a compound with an electrified dome around it.  If you were never allowed out and no one could enter, would you feel like a prisoner even though you can do anything you want inside?  Is he a prisoner?

We have robots today. They do not have to look like people.  Robots are programmed to do a task.  Is an automatic sliding door of a grocery store a robot?  What machines are programmable and could be considered doing the task of a robot?

Chase has no wounds after the zinnjerha attack.  Are there people today who can heal that fast?  Why didn’t his head would heal automatically?

When Parker takes the starjumper he says, ‘He who hacks the drivekey has the right to pilot’. Is Parker any different from kids who hotwire cars today to go on joyrides? And if so. then how? How interesting that in a futuristic world people still need keys.

Parker initializes the gravity generator.  How would life on the international space station be changed if we had a gravity generator?  Give several examples. Would there be a health benefit?

Chase felt small when seeing millions of the tiny white speckles of distant stars and far off galaxies.  Have you ever felt small?  Where were you and what were you seeing that made you feel that way?  When you look up at the night sky what do you feel?

Chase falls when he steps out of the starjumper onto the transway.  We have transways here.  We have a different name for them.  What are they called and where have we seen them?

Parker steals a badge from a junk dealer.  Chase is not happy about it.  How come Parker didn’t turn him in?  Would you if you were in Chase’s position? What does this tell you about Parker’s upbringing?

Parker is raised alone with an android.  Could this happen today?  Would CPS get involved?  If you were raised by an android who’s only job was to protect you and wasn’t there much what kind of social, antisocial or acting out issues might you have? Do you think Parker is well adjusted?  Explain.

Parker acts badly at the restaurant when he is not served the beverage because he is underage.  Is his behavior solely his fault? Explain.

When Parker wants to leave Mina on the moon after she’s shot what does that tell you about Parker’s character? Does it matter that she is just a robot and will find them later?

Chase and Parker rescue a man floating outside. After the rocket Christa McCalla was in exploded the astronauts started wearing orange suits instead of the blue ones when traveling. The orange ones have emergency oxygen and other features that the blue ones didn’t have.  How long can an astronaut survive today in a space suit? How long can an astronaut stay outside on a spacewalk today?

Trucon is destroyed.  If our world was destroyed where would you want to live? Which planet or moon, etc. Why.

What measurement is a parsec?

Chase and Parker folded into a debris field.  We have debris fields in space today.  What are they made of?

Parker comes up with a plan to tie up Maurus in their Skyjumper.  If you were in trouble would you choose Parker or Chase to help you?  Discuss their traits. Explain your choice.

Maurus is going to use a giant gas planet’s gravitational pull to assist the fold.  How does this work?

Chase and Parker are supposed to go to a refugee station to fill out paperwork on a planet.  We have refugee stations today near war torn countries and on the Texas border.  What questions do you think would be on the papers?

The medic wants to take the boys to the refugee camp in a hovercraft.  What is a hovercraft and do we have them today? They have flying taxi’s and bikes.  We have something where individuals can fly alone.  What is it? (jetpacks)

Qesaris has skyscrapers and smoggy haze.  How come with all the technology of the future they have not found a solution to air pollution?  Isn’t it interesting they call Qesaris the blue planet?  Did you see any parallels with earth?

When a small boy asks Parker where he was when Trucon was destroyed Parker responded about it being a wild sight.  The boy calls Parker a freak.  Is Parker a freak and what was wrong with Parker’s response?  What should his response have been?

While Parker and Chase are in Captain Orion’s they see a commercial for ReNuvaGel.  What do you think about people from the future being concerned about wrinkled faces?

Trucon was destroyed by nuclear thermodetonators.  Do we have this technology today?  What about the bombs dropped during WWII and chemical orange during the Vietnam War?

Maurus is accused of being involved in the destruction of Trucon.  What would you do if you were running around with him?  What would your first thought be?  Would you seek the truth?

Parker tells Chase only Alphas can be in the blue sector.  Epsilon species is one level down from Alphas.  Is this considered segregation, racism or a caste system?  Why or why not?  Do we have this anywhere in the world today?

Parker says the Gray sector has no species restrictions.  Restrictions are because not everybody gets along very well.  Is this ever a good thing?  Why are there whole neighborhoods in some cities made up of only African Americans, or Hispanics, or Asians, etc.  Do people naturally wish to live with people like them who share a language and culture or is this segregation and a bad thing?

Parker uses the words Never. Steal. Puckered. Grapes. to remember the names of the planets and species.  We also do this.  Can you give an example?

Chase thinks ‘Better the devil you know than the one you don’t’ in choosing who to trust.  What does this statement mean and do you agree with it?

Maurus say, ‘you believe everything you see on the news, do you?’ when Parker confronts him about statements made on their news.  Is everything on our news true? Is there ever a bias or slant to our news?  Does which station or newspaper we read make a difference?

Parker says Lyolians are huge liars who can never be trusted.  Is Parker racist, ignorant or speaking proven fact?  Explain your opinion.

Mina tells Chase phasing or passing through walls is a hypothetical ability invented by Earthan storytellers. Where do storytellers get their stories?  If the stories are ancient could they be based in fact?

Particle dispersers vaporize but don’t reassemble. The annihilation weapons came from teleportation research.  We also have inventions that came as a result of trying to invent something else.  Many inventions came from NASA.  The microwave and cell phone technology are two.  What others can you name?

The title of the book is, The Lost Planet. Which planet do you think the author is referring to?

Chase and Parker are very different and have different attributes.  Which one would you want as a friend and which would you choose to help if you were in trouble?  Explain.

A parachute slowed down the escape shuttle.  NASA uses parachutes also.  The Apollo missions also landed in the ocean.  How did the parachute work and why did they land in the water?  How much can a parachute slow a ship down?

Maurus says, ‘You can respect authority without mindlessly trusting it’.  What does he mean by this statement? Do you agree with it?

Chase’s body seemed to weigh twice as much as usual on the muddy Zeta-grade planet.  Figure out how much you would weigh on each of our planets.

Chase tells Parker to just hang on.  That they were going to get him some help.  He was lying to Parker.  If you knew your friend was dying and there was no hope would you lie and say he would live?  Explain.

Parker has seizures after being stabbed with the poisoned spike.  What are the signs someone is having a seizure and what should you do if you witness one?

Maurus says, ‘This is my duty as a soldier of The Fleet’.  Maurus wants to fulfill his duty to the Fleet even though the Fleet is after him. What does this tell you about Maurus’s character? If America wrongfully turned on you, would you still be loyal to her?  Explain.

If you had to choose someone to be your best friend, would you choose the one who had a super power or the one who was loyal?  Explain.


Perform the readers’ theater.

Read the front flap.

Show pictures of space and the galaxy.


Science Fiction and Adventure Stories with Boys:
Appleton, Victor. The space hotel. When Tom and Sandy visit the Apogee, the world’s first space hotel, Tom begins to notice strange happenings and when the billionaire guest of the hotel goes missing, Tom suspects foul play. (NoveList)

Adventure Stories and Boys:
Barrie, J. M. (James Matthew). Peter Pan. The Darling children have adventures in Never-Never Land with Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up. (NoveList)

Hiaasen, Carl. Chomp. When the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane’s family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna’s gun-happy father. (NoveList)

Ho, Oliver. The adventures of Huckleberry Finn. An abridged version of the adventures of a nineteenth-century boy and a runaway slave as they float down the Mississippi River on a raft. (NoveList)

Suspenseful, Action-packed, World-building, Adventure Stories with the Subject ‘Identity (Psychology)’:
Hunter, Erin. Sunrise. When Firestar’s grandchildren, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather, finally discover who their true parents are, there are dire consequences for ThunderClan and the Warrior Code. (NoveList)

Suspenseful, World-building, Adventure Stories with Boys:
Rodda, Emily. Rowan of Rin. Because only he can read the magical map, young, weak, and timid Rowan joins six other villagers to climb a mountain and try to restore their water supply, as fears of a dragon and other horrors threaten to drive them back. (NoveList)

Suspenseful, Action-packed, Science Fiction and Identity (Psychology):
Applegate, Katherine. The departure. Cassie realizes that she is tired of being an Animorph and quits, but she is still in danger when a human-controller named Karen threatens to expose Cassie and the rest of the Animorphs. (NoveList)

Suspenseful, World-building, Science Fiction, and Identity (Psychology):
DiTerlizzi, Tony. The search for WondLa. Living in isolation with a robot on what appears to be an alien world populated with bizarre life forms, a twelve-year-old human girl called Eva Nine sets out on a journey to find others like her. Features “augmented reality” pages, in which readers with a webcam can access additional information about Eva Nine’s world. (NoveList)

Suspenseful, Action-packed, Adventure Stories with Boys:
Bell, Ted. The time pirate. It’s 1940 and the Nazis are invading Nick’s beloved home, the British Channel Islands. So Nick takes to the skies: He has discovered an old World War One fighter plane in an abandoned barn. Determined to learn to fly, he is soon risking life and limb to photography armed German minelayers and patrol boats, and executing incredibly perilous bombing raids over Nazi airfields at night. Meanwhile, the evil pirate Captain Billy Blood, still desperate to acquire Nick’s time machine, returns to Greybeard Islands, kidnaps Nick’s sister, Kate, and transports her back to Port Royal, Jamaica, in the year 1781.–From publisher’s description. (NoveList)

Suspenseful, Science Fiction, and Amnesia:
Dashner, James. The journal of curious letters. Thirteen-year-old Atticus “Tick” Higginbottom begins receiving mysterious letters from around the world signed only “M.G.,” and the clues contained therein lead him on a journey to the perilous 13th Reality and a confrontation with evil Mistress Jane. (NoveList)

Science Fiction, Adventure and Space Flight:
Crilley, Mark. Akiko and the journey to Toog. Akiko, Mr. Beeba, Spuckler, and Gax journey to Toog to help their friend Poog save his planet from destruction–whether he likes it or not. (NoveList)

Crilley, Mark. Akiko: the training master. Fifth-grader Akiko renews her acquaintance with her friends from the planet Smoo when they whisk her away to the Zarga Baffa Training Camp, where she must deal with mud, misery, and a training master who is out to get her. (NoveList)

Dallimore, Jan. Captain Cal and the great space race. Even though an Earth spaceship has never won the Great Space Race, Captain Cal and the crew of the “Silver Pig” prepare to fly into first place–without cheating. (NoveList)

Dallimore, Jan. Captain Cal and the robot army. Captain Cal and his crew aboard the Silver Pig Intergalactic Probe Spaceship embark on another dangerous mission, this time to stop Professor Spitzer, a famous inventor turned mad scientist, from taking over the world. (NoveList)

Guibert, Emmanuel. Sardine in outer space. 3. Sardine and her uncle, Captain Yellow Shoulder, sail their ship, The Huckleberry, across the universe meeting up with monsters and aliens in order to confront Supermuscleman, who is trying to take over the galaxy. (NoveList)

Haddon, Mark. Boom! When Jim and Charlie overhear two of their teachers talking in a secret language and the two friends set out to solve the mystery, they do not expect the dire consequences of their actions. (NoveList)

Hawking, Lucy. George’s cosmic treasure hunt. George is heartbroken when his neighbor Annie and her space-scientist father move to Florida, but when Annie sends him a secret message telling him she has been contacted by aliens with a terrible warning, he joins her in a galaxy-wide search for answers. Includes scientific essays on space travel. (NoveList)

McKinty, Adrian. The lighthouse keepers. After teenage friends Jamie and Ramsay travel back to Altair to save the last citizens of that dying planet, the ancient race who built the mysterious, wormhole-seeking Salmon returns with a terrible proposition for Jamie. (NoveList)

O’Malley, Kevin. Captain Raptor and the space pirates. Captain Raptor and the crew of the Megatooth are called back into action to save the planet Jurassica from rogue space pirates. (NoveList)

Reeve, Philip. Larklight: a rousing tale of dauntless pluck in the farthest reaches of space. In an alternate Victorian England, young Arthur and his sister Myrtle, residents of Larklight, a floating house in one of Her Majesty’s outer space territories, uncover a spidery plot to destroy the solar system. (NoveList)

Reeve, Philip. Mothstorm: the horror from beyond Georgium Sidus!. Reports of a strange phenomenon at the fringe of the galaxy and its connection to one of Father’s old friends send the entire Mumby family, accompanied by Jack and other friends, to a far-off planet where they must find a way to prevent a new invasion of the solar system by giant moths. (NoveList)


The Lost Planet. Searles, Rachel (author).  Jan. 2014. 384p. Feiwel and Friends, hardcover, $15.99 (9781250038791). Grades 5-8. 

REVIEW.  First published January 1, 2014 (Booklist).

Terrifying monsters, cold androids, and intriguing mysteries abound in Searles’ first novel. Chase Garrety awakens on a planet he doesn’t know and with a face he doesn’t recognize, his life up to now a complete blank. But his amnesia is far from his biggest problem: the only thing he can remember is a secret message, but what does it mean? Who is it for? His adventure across the planets of the Federation garners him new friends, old enemies, and more problems than he knows what to do with. Even though Chase is confused from the second he wakes up, his need to find out his history makes him easy to cheer on. Comparisons to Star Wars are not out of bounds, as this intergalactic escapade races on at an exciting pace. This fun, adrenaline-filled story is perfect for younger teen sci-fi fans. There could certainly be another installment to this story since Chase’s exploits aren’t easily put to bed, but The Lost Planet has a solid, satisfying conclusion. Let’s hope Searles has more up her sleeve.
— Stacey Comfort

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Searles, Rachel. The Lost Planet. February 2014
ISBN 978-1-250-03879-1
Paperback: 9781250056887, eBook: 9781466856950

When thirteen-year-old Chase Garrety suddenly appears within the well-fortified walls of an isolated compound on the planet Trucon, he has a blaster wound to the back of his head and no memory of his name, his life before, or how he got there. Things get even more complicated when the compound’s only other resident, the friendly but petulant fourteen-year-old Parker Mason, tricks him into an unauthorized trip to a nearby moon, and the boys inadvertently survive Trucon’s total destruction as a result. Suddenly they are being chased by intergalactic Federation Fleet soldiers, dragged into dangerous, illegal deals with underground crime lords, and rescued by an alien who may be the terrorist responsible for Trucon’s demise. Desperate to save themselves and uncover the truth of Chase’s past, they instead discover a vast conspiracy that could make them enemies of the Federation itself. A rollicking space adventure in the spirit of classic juvenile science fiction from Heinlein and Hoover, this fast-paced novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats from page one. Chase and Parker are amusing, likable, authentically realized teenage boys, as likely to put their foot in their mouth as to save the day with unexpected courage. Strongly crafted alien worlds, discordant alien races, and often unsound space vehicles only add to the overall sense of strange and dangerous fun. Perfect for readers ready to graduate from Colville’s My Teacher series and Star Trek and Star Wars fans who want a middle-grade adventure of their own, this novel will have readers jetting across space itself for probable sequels.

Horn Book:
Searles, Rachel The Lost Planet
372 pp. Feiwel (Holtzbrinck Publishers) 2014. ISBN 978-1-250-03879-1

(3) 4-6 Chase Garrety wakes up on a strange planet with just one cryptic memory: “Guide the star.” In his quest for answers, Chase teams up with an orphan boy, the boy’s android caretaker, and a shady alien pilot and finds himself in the middle of an interplanetary war. Filled with action, intrigue, and extraterrestrials, this is an exciting debut novel.
(Fall 2014 Guide)

Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
Searles, Rachel. The Lost Planet. 384p. Feiwel & Friends. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781250038791.

Gr 4-7–This debut novel is a rousing space adventure, filled with government conspiracies, a quest for identity, and nonstop action. In the distant future, intergalactic space travel is possible, Earth has colonies, all humanoid races are ranked, and the Fleet, controlled by Earthans, enforce justice. Chase Garrety wakes up on the planet Trucon with a blaster wound to the head and a case of amnesia. He is taken in by Parker, an orphaned ward under the care of the mysterious and absent Asa. It becomes clear that Chase is no ordinary boy, and no one is quite sure who or what he really is. To make matters more complicated, Chase and Parker witness a horrific attack on their planet while on its moon, sparking what could be the beginnings of war. Chase must learn who he is and where he comes from, no matter where the answers may lead. While the universe and its inhabitants are interesting, character development and world building are on the thin side. The book’s appeal, however, lies in its plot-driven story line, making it fun and accessible. Short, fast-moving chapters with cliff-hanger endings will be particularly attractive for reluctant readers. There is a planned sequel. Recommended for general purchase.–Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ




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