All summer I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them a new topic to learn about. Most of the time these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn how to be better people or learn empathy from fictional stories too.
So, I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and in the tags. It’s so important to prevent that summer slide with our kids, so I hope you can use these books to keep them reading and learning all summer long. See all the posts, HERE.
WEIRD BUT TRUE! KNOW IT ALL: ROCKS & MINERALS
By: Michael Burgan
Published: February 15, 2022
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Rocks are everywhere…here on Earth and even in Outer Space. Plus there are the rocks we see on the ground, rocks that create mountains, and rocks that we don’t see that are below the Earth’s surface or in the ocean. Geologists are scientists who study rocks and the minerals in the rocks as well as how volcanoes erupt, where earthquakes may shake next, and where natural resources are located that could be used for various purposes. The author calls the geologists he features, “Rock Stars” and profiles them throughout the book. Some are current and some of them have blazed trails in the past for future information and learning.
The book begins with an explanation of what a rock really is and also includes a glossary of terms used throughout the book. I like that the author chose to put this right at the beginning rather than at the end. It makes more sense for kids to know the vocabulary before starting the reading.
I didn’t expect the rainiest spot in the United States to be in Hawaii as well as the second wettest spot on the planet. I would have thought there were much wetter rainforests than here in the US. Mount Waialeale receives about 450 inches of rain every year. If you have a child interested in geology, visiting some of the sites mentioned in the book would makes for an exciting vacation like Yellowstone National Park, Devil’s Tower, or Mount St. Helens.
If I had to choose a favorite rock, I would choose a geode. As a child, our family found a few in the area where I grew up. I loved the sparkly inside of the geode and visiting places that made grottos out of geodes. Arches National Park is still on my bucket list. Rock sculptures created by nature have formed over 2,000 natural stone arches in an area in Utah that 300 million years ago was covered by an ocean.
Due to recent rains, there have been devastating landslides in Yellowstone National Park. Landslides can start from a volcano eruption or from torrential storms. They can run for several miles and push away anything in it’s path. Engineers have found some ways to help prevent landslides by placing protective netting over rock walls or soil as well as possibly blowing up rocks that appear to be a danger.
Part of geology is also archeology which is the uncovering of items left behind generations ago. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to look for arrowheads along our riverbed behind our house. We found quite a collection.
I was impressed by the various women “rock stars” featured in the book as early as the 1800 and 1900s who studied rocks and whose research led to other discoveries. These were pioneering women and I hope their history would encourage more girls to study in the field of geology. I didn’t even touch on all the various minerals discussed in the book as well including gold, silver, diamonds, copper, bronze, and more.
Even though this book has nearly 200 pages, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. These Weird but True books are always a favorite with kids because of their awesome photography, concise explanations, and fun facts sprinkled throughout the book. Kids that like facts or learning about science will find this book interesting and may add some rocks to visit on their own bucket list.
Michael Burgan studied history at the University of Connecticut before embarking on his career of writing about history, current events, geography, science, and more for children. He worked at Weekly Reader for six years before becoming a freelance author. He is a member of Biographers International Organization and edits its monthly newsletter, The Biographer’s Craft. A produced playwright, he is also a member of the Dramatists Guild.