Kid’s Book Corner: A Snowy Season

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alisonfreebairnsmith90BY JO PERRY

Though it doesn’t snow in southern California, you and your kids can enjoy the delicate and mysterious symmetry of snowflakes with these frosty and very cool books:

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian.  This Caldecott medal-winner tells the true story of snow-scientist Wilson Bentley, the first person to photograph snowflakes. Bentley grew up on a farm in snowy Vermont, and as a child was a lover of nature, particularly rain, raindrops, snowstorms, and snowflakes: “…snow was as beautiful as butterflies or apple blossoms.” An old microscope, a gift from his mother, allowed him to discover snowflakes’ dazzling beauty, masterful design, and unending uniqueness: Bentley realized that no snowflake repeated the design of another.

snowflake-bentleyBentley wanted to figure out a way to save snowflakes, so he could share their beauty. He tried drawing them, but they melted before he could finish his drawings. At 16, he learned of a camera equipped with a microscope. His parents used their savings to purchase the camera for him, and after a year of frustration and failure, Bentley figured out a way to capture the fragile crystals on glass negatives. The triumphant and beautiful book ends with a photograph of Bentley and three of his photographs of snowflakes (6 years and up).

snowflakes_coverSnowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht. This is a gorgeous collection of modern snowflake photographs taken by a physicist who continues Wilson Bentley’s study of snow crystals at Caltech. Libbrecht has also published The Art of the Snowflake; The Magic of Snowflakes; Ken Libbrecht’s Field Guide to Snowflakes; The Little Book of Snowflakes; and The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty. All ages will enjoy Libbrecht’s crystalline images and his descriptions of the creation of and structures of snowflakes.

Kids will enjoy visiting Dr. Libbrecht’s snowflake website at http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/ to learn about his work, his books, snowflake physics, structure, snowflake hotspots, and to see more of his snowflake photographs.

theSnowflakeFor kids who want to learn more, The Snowflake by Neil Waldman follows a drop of water from snowflake, to droplet, to a pond, to the sea, and into the clouds once again throughout one year, while Thomas Locke’s sumptuous Water Dance presents water in all its forms through haunting landscape paintings.

water-danceJo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for BookBrowse.com and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • http://www.jackiehouchin.com Jackie Houchin

    What a great collection of kids’ bookos, Jo. Wow, I want to read them myself! A Wilson Bently history is especially good. THANKS!

    • Jo Perry

      Thanks. I enjoy these books, too. Happy Holidays.

      Jo

    • Jo Perry

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading about them. Happy Holidays.

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