The Secret Life of a Snowflake
written and photographed by Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht
(Voyageur Press) 2009
Source: Mebane Public Library
I apologize for the following pun, but this is one of the coolest books I've seen this year. Kenneth Libbrecht, a professor of physics at Caltech, studies how ice crystals form and has created a series of books devoted to the art and science of the snowflake. The photographs are fabulous, but I am really impressed by how accessible this book is for younger readers. Dr. Libbrecht takes great care to make sure he explains what can be complicated in its simplest terms. For example, he is able to tell the reader why snow is white by comparing several objects that reflect light. The Secret Life of a Snowflake is loaded with interesting facts. Snowflakes are not alike because they all take different journeys before they hit the ground. Talk about a terrific metaphor for humans and the life experience! If you are a third or fourth grader teacher and use Snowflake Bentley as a read-aloud, find this nonfiction treasure and read it as a companion. You can compare the work of the two men and teach a lesson on contrast.