Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Tornado!

written by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin
2011 (National Geographic Kids)
Source: Orange County Public Library

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I have a weather radio in my house. I wish when we built our house we would have included a basement. Why? The storm you see to your left. Tornado! starts with a riveting narrative describing the devastating storm that demolished Greensburg, Kansas on May 4, 2007. Ninety-five percent of the buildings in the town were destroyed, but many lives were saved due to repeated warnings from the National Weather Service. Before and after photographs show the heartbreaking damage suffered. Alongside the narrative are interesting and informative inserts. In this particular chapter, survivors talk about the drop in air pressure causing in the ears and in another insert, you read about the smell of the town after the tornado struck. I never thought of a smell being a lingering effect from a powerful storm, but for one survivor this was the case. The second chapter of this book deals with tornado science. I was fascinated by the section detailing Benjamin Franklin's encounters with a tornado in 1755. The maps and diagrams in Tornado! are excellent with detailed descriptions of why these storms take place. Pages 23-25 are must reads for teaching about tornadoes. Chapter three, Killer Tornadoes, contains amazing photographs and facts. There is a record book for tornadoes (highest wind speed, most time on the ground, etc.) and a list of the five deadliest storms. The last chapter talks about today's tornado hunters and the science involved with tracking. You will want to see the sequence of 25 photos taken by a weather probe that was directly in the path of a tornado.

Tornado! is an excellent resource for learning about the history of tornado strikes in the United States and the science of how these storms occur and what we are learning about them. If you are teaching text features, this is also a good book to model how readers deal with these. It would be an interesting writing assignment to take one piece of this informational text and turn it into a persuasive text about tornado safety. The photographs and features in this book are terrific. This is a good find for your junior storm chasers.


  1. Thanks for sharing this book. It looks like a wonderful resource. I will try to find it at my library.

  2. Hi Jeff, one of my favorite movies of all time was Twister (hehe). My 10 year old daughter enjoyed it too, I thought that this would be a great book companion to the film. Thanks for sharing this. :)


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