Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters (A Nonfiction Companion to High Tide in Hawaii)

Author:  Mary Pope Osborne
Natalie Pope Boyce
Illustrator:  Sal Murdocca
Published:  2007
My students love Magic Tree House books.  I used to read them to my children when they were younger and they loved the books too.  Perhaps it is because I've read so many of them and have read the same ones multiple times that I find it amazing that my children search these books out in my class library. 

I decided to take a look at an informational one that I have in my class library, but I have not taken the time to read it before.  The first thing that I notice is the cover.  I find the blue and green colors soothing even though the topic is of something I hope to never experience, a tsunami.

Right off the bat, I liked this book.  We are introduced to Tilly Smith, a student who is on vacation with her family in Indonesia right before the tsunami that hit there in 2004.  Tilly remembered what her teacher had taught her about tsunamis and she ran along the beach warning people.  She saved many lives thanks to the information she learned in school!  Education that had a real-world application!  I love it!

The next part of the book reminds me of 5th grade science.  I
Chang Hen's Urn
During an earthquake a ball would fall into a frog's mouth. 
The more balls that fall in, the greater the earthquake.
could see 5th graders using this as a tool to learn about plate tectonics and earthquakes.  Scientific vocabulary is also throughout the book and explained in a way a student would understand.  Learning about science and history in books is more fun when you learn extra information too.  I learned that there are earthquakes (moonquakes) on the moon and that in ancient China a man had invented an urn that would help determine when, where, and the strength of an earthquake.

The true stories about survivors of the tsunamis are exciting and surprising.  I wonder as I read if I could survive like the woman who was found 4 days after the tsunami, clinging to a palm tree, hundreds of miles from shore. 

Visiting Yellowstone Park is something I really want to do.  There is a giant volcano under the park, that is what causes the geysers that I long to see.  The only thing is scientists predict there will be another eruption.  I don't want to be there when it does!

Showing children experiencing these disasters and as heroes makes the book interesting.  I think that I can understand the interest in the Magic Tree House nonfiction books.  There are also additional resources for children who find that they want to learn more.  A timeline of major disasters is included, books, parks, and websites with additional information for children are included as well.

Internet Resources listed in the back of the book:

Check this book out from the library.
Read about Mary Pope Osborne

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