Gareth Stevens Publishing (a weekly reader company) produced a series called Planet Earth. I have been carrying around the title Earth’s Rocks and Fossils because the pictures intrigue me. I like the cover illustration and keep imagining me there instead of the scientists pictured. Let’s take advantage of Nonfiction Monday to explore this title in a little more depth.
I should have cataloged this title and put it in my library but I am having difficulty separating from it. Every page is filled (maybe even over-stuffed) with the type of scientific information, facts, experiments, connections to everyday objects and history that fills an emptiness in my rock-loving soul.
There’s so much to think about that I have to read one double-page spread then pause and savor what I’ve learned. Take pages 16 and 17 as one example. The focus is on how rocks are formed with these pages zeroing in on metamorphic rocks. There are six different illustrations (all clearly captioned), 3 side-sections (examples of metamorphic rocks, the rock cycle, and from shale to schist) and two main text sections (metamorphic rocks and heat & pressure). I finally learned how to pronounce gneiss ("nice") and discovered how trinitite was formed. (Question: is trinitite radioactive?) I have a new desire to obtain a piece of mylonite thanks to the photography. (Please, please, please, someone send me a sample)
The text even relates to the formation and changes of metamorphic rocks to the way a cake changes when you bake it. Ah! Baking cakes. That I understand. I have accidentally experimented with leaving out ingredients in cake baking through the years so I can understand how they can be different.
The best part of these 2 pages is that the reader is inspired to go learn more. I had to pause, pull out my other rock books, and finally go online to explore to the depths of my personal interest. Are you providing books that give your readers the desire to explore more?
This may be one book in a series, but I think it’s a title that stands out. Eventually I will let it out of my hands and put it in my new middle school library, but I already know I’m going to have to order more copies. Even though this is a library bound title, I can anticipate how it will be used. It will become worn out as students find samples of rocks and compare them to the photos in these 32 pages. Students will want more. I’ll have to bring in some of my rock collection and plead with them to share samples of theirs so we can continue to tie this to real-life.
Students can take heart because there is even information on possible careers and ongoing explorations. Science is alive. There are titles out there that we need to be adding to our collections. Be sure to go back and note the geology sources I found in the ALA conference exhibit hall. We need to expand the hard, rocky sections of our libraries not just the cute cuddly animal sections.
Other titles in this series include:
- Earth’s Crust and Core
- Earth’s Ecosystems
- Earth’s Natural Resources
- Earth’s Rocks and Fossils
- Earth’s Water Cycle
- Earth’s Weather and Climate
Hey! What’s this I see on their website? A new series Rock Stars coming out this fall? Hmm? Where’s my copy?
Go do a search for ROCKS on the Gareth Stevens website (so you can find the library bound editions instead of the paperbacks on the Weekly Reader site). There are many more titles listed than I’ve seen elsewhere. I need to go plumb the depths of this topic and build a definitive bibliography. Anyone want to help contribute your favorite rocks/minerals/geology titles?