Earth Science

A Doorway of Amethyst

Book Cover
Author(s): 
Mary Daly
Illustrator(s): 
Margy Jakos

Here is a geology text that assumes no conflict between Christianity and science and is faithful to Church teaching. This book covers basic topics in geology, including the Earth's age and composition, the dynamics of continental plate motion, classification of rocks and soil, effects of glaciers, radiometric dating, and more. The illustrations are lovely and hand-drawn – not what you would expect in a textbook. However, I prefer a few glossy photographs as well, but you can find these on the internet.

The Seashell on the Mountaintop

Author(s): 
Alan Cutler

The Seashell on the Mountaintop is a very welcome biography of St. Neils Stenson, also known as Nicholas Steno and about 16 other variations. The good news is that, after years of neglect, this convert, this holy man, and this founder of the science of geology is being pulled from the edge of oblivion to be remembered for his true greatness. The title of the book refers to the presence of fossil shells in the mountain soils of Italy and , among other places, and the long effort to interpret such a curiosity.

Journey into Amazing Caves

This weekend we rented Journey into Amazing Caves (an IMAX film). It's a beautifully filmed documentary that traces a group of scientists' explorations into caves in the Grand Canyon, ice caves in Greenland and underwater caves on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The scientists are searching for "extremophiles" - bacteria and other small creatures that survive extreme conditions and may be useful for medicines.

Caves and Caverns

Author(s): 
Gail Gibbons

This is a terrific children's picture books, with lots of details about different parts and features of caves, how caves form and plants and creatures that can live inside of caves. Gail Gibbons has a nice balance of real information that is presented in an easy-to-understand format.

Here's a little sample of the style and content:

"Next, the cavers carefully enter the variable temperature zone. The temperature doesn't change as much here as it does in the twilight zone. Mushrooms, molds, and other fungi grow here. It is dark!"

Earth Science for Every Kid

Book cover: 'Earth Science for Every Kid'
Author(s): 
Janice Van Cleave

In the Van Cleave tradition, this book presents 101 experiments that are simple, yet informative, and can easily be performed in the home. The book covers seven major segments: Earth in Space, Rocks and Minerals, Crustal Movement, Erosion, Atmosphere, Weather and Oceans.

What Makes Day and Night?

Book cover: 'What Makes Day and Night?'
Author(s): 
Franklyn M. Branley

The clearly written text is combined with simple, colorful pictures to make the concepts of day and night and the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun very understandable for both young children and their parents. : ) Included is a very simple hands-on "experiment" requiring only your child and a desk lamp. Some information about the moon is also covered. Like other books in this series, this book is a great solution for satisfying some of those "why" questions that young children constantly ask.

Sunshine Makes the Seasons

Author(s): 
Franklyn M. Branley

"Sunshine warms the earth. If the sun stopped shining, the earth would get colder and colder..." It is important for children to consider the importance of the sun in our lives. In Sunshine Makes the Seasons, children are introduced to the sun's role and in particular how the seasons change because of the earth's rotation around the sun and the tilt of the earth.

Stories in Stone

Book cover: 'Stories in Stone: The World of Animal Fossils'
Author(s): 
Jo Kittinger

Although this is a meaty book for its age level and rather lengthy, my children were completely absorbed when I read this aloud to them.

' Stories in Stone presents the "World of Animal Fossils" and the story of the dinosaurs from the point of view of generally accepted scientific theories of today. Chapter 1 (A Rock Sandwich) covers introduces the idea of fossils, how they were formed, types of fossils, the scientific classification of animal species ("Why Dinosaur Names are Hard to Spell") and how scientists determine the age of fossils.

A Look at Rocks

Book cover: 'A Look at Rocks: from Coal to Kimberlite'
Author(s): 
Jo S. Kittinger

I really didn't expect to get much out of a children's picture book on rocks. Rocks are, well, rocks! I was wrong. Mrs. Kittinger has done a fine job in presenting various types of rock, how they are formed in nature (with a significant emphasis on volcanoes) and the various fascinating and often beautiful varieties of rocks. There are many stunning photos and fascinating statistics on rock-related items from Mount Rushmore (and it's lesser known "sister-sculpture" - Stone Mountain - of some "monumental" figures of the Confederacy) to the Grand Canyon to amazing volcano formations.

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