Filed under: Rock Hunters
The Nature Works theme for this week in Rock Hunters, so here are Shira Belenke’s recommendations for children’s books about rocks. Shira is the former Director of Education at Wonder Works and is currently studying to be a librarian. She’s helping out with Nature Works this summer by making lists of recommended books about the topic of the week.
Each review includes a link to that book’s entry in SWAN, a computer network that many Chicago-area libraries use to share books (including Oak Park Public Library). If your local library is one of the 80 members of SWAN, you can follow the links below and put a hold on any of Shira’s recommended books. Go here for more information about SWAN.
Bailey, J. (2006). The Rock Factory : a story about the rock cycle. (M. Lilly, Illus.). Minneapolis, MN : Picture Window Books. Follow this link to SWAN.
The Rock Factory, explores the rock cycle and the creation and journey of one specific rock.
As the title suggests, The Rock Factory explores the rock cycle and the creation and journey of one specific rock. Jacqui Bailey tackles this complex topic by using easy to understand examples, such as comparing the earth’s crust to an eggshell. Matthew Lilly’s exciting illustrations support the text while entertaining the reader. This book includes an experiment, glossary, and a safe website for children to explore. The pace of this book makes it a good first book for children interested in rocks. Ages 4 and up.
Christian, P. (2000). If you find a rock. (B. H. Lember, Photo.). San Diego, CA : Harcourt. Follow this link to SWAN.
There are many different rocks in the world, with many different uses. These rocks do not always have to have a scientific name or even a commercial use.
There are many different rocks in the world, with many different uses. These rocks do not always have to have a scientific name or even a commercial use. Peggy Christian waxes poetic in her book, If You Find a Rock, about these rocks. Barbara Hirsch Lember uses a technique of hand-tinting black and white photos she captured of children using rocks, to illustrate this book. Climbing, throwing, sitting, and kicking. Rocks come with many uses. This is a book for a person who likes rocks, but focuses on non-scientific qualities. Ages 2 and up.
Gallup, T. (2007). Stone Crazy. Traverse City, MI: Mackinac Island Press. Follow this link to SWAN.
A crazy little story about a person’s love of stones.
This crazy little book is a perfect first book about stones. Tracy Gallup shares her love of stones in this short story. She talks about their different shapes and the images that she sees in them. Gallup illustrates the book with a doll created to complement the image she sees in the featured stone. The small size and minimal text on each page makes this a great read-along book for the very young.
Gardner, R. (2008). Smashing science projects about Earth’s Rocks and Minerals. (T. Labaff, Illus.). Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers. Follow this link to SWAN.
This book contains 10 different activities (several using edible objects) to explore rocks and minerals, how they are formed and what they look like.
Complex ideas are broken down into easy to produce experiments in Robert Gardner’s Smashing Science Projects about Earth’s Rocks and Minerals. This book contains 10 different activities (several using edible objects) to explore rocks and minerals, how they are formed and what they look like. At the beginning of the book, there is an explanation of how to execute these experiments safely and how to use them as a jumping off point to create your own experiments. At the back of the book is a glossary, index, list of books for farther reading, and pertinent websites. This is a great book for a child getting ready for their first science fair, or just looking for something to do on a rainy day. Ages 6 and up.
Hurst, C. O. (2001). Rocks in his head. (J. Stevenson, Illus.). New York, NY: Greenwillow Books. Follow this link to SWAN.
This is an inspirational story about a man’s love of rocks and the eventual fulfillment of a childhood dream.
Carol Otis Hurst has written an inspirational story about her father’s love of rocks and despite hardships, the eventual fulfillment of a childhood dream. The watercolors James Stevenson used to illustrate this book help to capture the time-period perfectly. Throughout the book, many characters would comment, sometimes nicely, sometimes not so nicely, on her father’s love of rocks. His upbeat attitude is a good mind-set for any young person with a misunderstood passion. Ages 3 and up.
McLerran, A. (1991). Roxaboxen. (B. Cooney, Illus.). New York, NY : HarperCollins. Follow this link to SWAN.
With nothing more than rocks, sticks, and imagination, a group of children create a town so wonderful it inspired a story.
With nothing more than rocks, sticks, and imagination, a group of children create a town so wonderful it inspired a story. Alice McLerran’s Roxaboxen, is based on her mother’s memory of a town she helped create when she was a child. This story tells of a time when children were content to play outside for hours with found material and might inspire children today to do the same thing. Barbara Cooney tries to capture the magical quality of children’s imagination, while remaining truthful about the materials used. This book works well as a read-along and a read-alone for anyone with an active imagination. Ages 4 and up.
Milord, S. (2007). Pebble: a story about belonging. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers. Follow this link to SWAN.
Many of us wish to belong. In this story, we follow a pebble’s journey to belong.
Almost everyone, at some point in their life, has wondered where they belong. In Susan Milord’s compelling story, the one doing the wondering is a pebble. Expressing feelings most children can relate to, the pebble feels both too small and too big. The beautiful illustrations capture the pebble’s life while dreaming about belonging. A wonderful story for any dreamer. Ages 2 and up.
Murphy, S. (2000). Dave’s down-to-earth rock shop. (C. B. Smith, Illus.). New York, NY: HarperCollins. Follow this link to SWAN.
With the help of Dave, a rock shop owner, Josh and his best friend Amy become rock-collecting experts.
Josh, an avid collector, receives a rock from Hawaii to start a new collection. With the help of Dave, a rock shop owner, Josh and his best friend Amy become rock-collecting experts. Stuart Murphy inserts information about rocks into the story. At the end of the book, parents can find ideas for games and questions pertaining to the story. This is a good introduction to the scientific book genre for children who claim not to like heavy reading. Ages 5 and up.
Note added by Eric: Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop is a real store that you can visit–in Evanston, Illinois, or on the web.
Tomecek, S. (2010). Jump into Science: Rocks & Minerals. (K. Poling, Illus.). Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society. Follow this link to SWAN.
Geologist Steve Tomecek, “Rock Star” of the science world, shares his knowledge of the Earth with children in Rocks & Minerals.
Geologist Steve Tomecek, “Rock Star” of the science world, shares his knowledge of the Earth with children in Rocks & Minerals. Tomecek breaks down the information into manageable pieces for young minds to digest, while Kyle Polings’ easy to follow illustrations support the text. The main topic covered in this book is how rocks form, along with the three main rock types. Included at the end of the book are instructions for readers to learn how to make their own rock. This book is a good read for children interested in becoming “rock stars” of the science world. Ages 4 and up.
Wallace, N. E. (2009). Rocks! Rocks! Rocks! Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children. Follow this link to SWAN.
Buddy, a young rock lover, goes on a walk in a nature center with his mother. Along the way, he learns about rocks.
Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s book, Rocks! Rocks! Rocks!, is an informative book disguised as fiction. Buddy, a young rock lover, goes on a walk in a nature center with his mother. Along the way, he learns about rocks. Wallace has created an interactive book with places for readers to become part of the story by counting what they see and learning how to pronounce long words along with Buddy. The combination of photographs and paper images makes the illustrations as fun to look at as the story. This is a good read-along or read alone for those with inquiring minds. Ages 2 and up.
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