Thursday, August 9, 2012


written by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley; illustrated by Megan Lloyd
2008 (Collins)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out STEM Friday for more math and science links

There are plenty of volcano books out there. So why do I highlight this one(other than I needed a nonfiction book for Friday)? Two items in this book stood out to me. First, did you know about the year without a summer? Not nearly as fun as The Year Without a Santa Claus, it took place in the summer of 1816. The previous year, Mount Tambora exploded in Indonesia and threw tons of ash into the air. Winds in the atmosphere blew this ash around the earth and contributed to bizarre weather occurrences in North America and Europe. Snowstorms contributed six inches of snow in June for New England, and there were frosts in July and August. Not exactly a day at the beach.

The second reason to recommend this book is that it contains one of the best explanations, of plate tectonics, for children that I have ever read. Here is a brief section:

Under the plates there is very hot rock. The plates move on the hot rock, which is like soft dough. They don't move much, only about as fast as your fingernails grow. But they keep moving year after year after year.

The simple to understand text, along with diagrams, makes my life a lot easier when trying to explain why earthquakes and volcanoes occur. We're only two weeks away from the anniversary of the 2011 Virginia earthquake that damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, so this would be a good book to have handy for that occasion. Famous volcanoes, such as Mount St. Helens (1980) and the "Hill of Fire" at Paricutin, Mexico (1943) are also featured.

The back matter contains extra volcano facts and a recipe for a baking soda volcano. With the baking soda volcano, you are sure to win the blue ribbon at the science fair.


  1. Wow, that cover definitely catches you eye.

    Thanks for participating in STEM Friday this week.

  2. I'd say this is a good pick because volcanoes are always hot. :-)


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