Light Is All Around Us
written by Wendy Pfeffer; illustrated by Paul Meisel
Source: Mebane Public Library
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Light is found in many different forms and many different places. It travels from the sun and the stars. It lights up the sky, the sea, and our backyards.
Light Is All Around Us begins with our biggest source of light, the sun. Ninety-three million miles away, the light from the sun travels in waves of electromagnetic radiation. Light travels over 11 million miles a minute! There's a great graphic on pages 14 and 15 that shows how it compares to other things (cars, planes, sound) that travel. Light is not only fast, but it can be tremendously bright as well. Measured in lumens, light from a lightbulb measures about 1,750 lumens. Light from the sun measures 35 octillion lumens. That's 27 zeroes after the 35. That's more light than all the lightbulbs on Earth turned on simultaneously. This illustrates what I like best about this book. It has some very cool facts. I didn't even know that octillion was a number. Throw that word in a conversation and watch someone's jaw drop.
Light comes from many other sources besides the sun. Several familiar examples are presented, but one I did not know was my favorite. People in the West Indies would poke holes in gourds and put fireflies in them. This was their version of the flashlight. Very ingenious.
The last part of the book teaches readers how they are able to see light. On pages 32 and 33, there are two terrific diagrams that show the human eye and how the eye sends messages to the brain. In the back matter, you will find three simple experiments that will encourage students to think more about light.
Before reading Light Is All Around Us, I would do a circle map and ask students what could produce light. I would revisit the map as I was reading the book. I think you could also use this book to segue into a discussion of why we have day and night. If you teach a unit on light, find this book and add it to your resources.