Monday, August 12, 2013

Non-Fiction Monday: Disasters: a close-up look at nature's biggest disasters by David Burnie

I'm pleased to be hosting Non-Fiction Monday today. Please leave your link in the comment section below.

Discover More series. 112 p. Scholastic, Inc. March, 2013. 978054547938. (Review copy provided by the publisher)

Disasters is one of the newer additions to Scholastic's Discover More series. It delivers on its subtitle promise of "a close-up look at nature's biggest disasters." The photographs, many double-paged, are over-sized, full-color and riveting. Seriously, when your students discover this one, there will be some major rubbernecking in your library or classroom. 

The series takes the browse-ability of the Eyewitness series but pumps up the information and focus. Disasters is divided into five sections: Disastrous Weather; Unstable Earth, Troubled Waters: How People Cause Disasters and The Threat from Space. Each section opens with three questions that will be answered. In addition to the spectacular photographs, there are plenty of maps, cutaway illustrations, and artist's renderings, as well as text boxes containing data and "eyewitness" accounts. Each section also contains a color-coded strip entitled, "More here," which lists vocabulary words and books and websites for further reading. 

The book does contain an index and an additional glossary at the end as well as photo credits.

Another nice feature of this series is that each book is paired with a downloadable companion digital book. In this case, the book is called Storm Chasers. It's worth looking at as it focuses on the scientists who risk their lives to study these disasters. Sections include: Storm Chasers; Hurricane Hunters; Lifesavers & Heroes of Hurricane Sandy; Lightning Seekers, Avalanche Rescuers: Quake Questers; Eruption Experts; Wildfire Fighters and Sky Watchers. As in the print version, the photographs just pop. Readers can scroll through the book and read continuously or utilize the navigation buttons to skip to videos and interviews. As in the print version, there are plenty of vocabulary words defined in boxes. 

Our sixth grade science classes work on a disasters unit. It's a group project in which each member researches the disaster assigned to the group and the team collaborates on a PSA, which is then presented to the rest of the class. They work with a rubric in order to stay on track. This book will be a welcome addition to the resources I've collected so far. 

Thanks for stopping by. Please add your link in the comment section. Email me at kahnbrenda(at)yahoo(dot)com if you have any difficulty.

Natalie, from Biblio Links, features And the Winner Is... by Etta Kaner. It looks like just the thing to hand to your fact hounds. I also love how Natalie provides tons of ideas for teachers.

Read about The Strongest Man in the World: Louis Cyr by Nicolas Debon, over at Perogies & Gyoza. I just love it when folks feature older titles. I missed this one.

Roberta, from Wrapped in Foil, highlights 10 Plants That Shook the World by Gillian Richardson. I appreciated Roberta's comment about her changing feelings for the book.

Jeff, of NC Teacher Stuff reviewed Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch. This looks like a must-purchase for my collection. 

Anastasia, from Booktalking#kidlit, booktalks the appealing, Planet Earth (The World in Infographics).

Lynn and Cindy, over at Bookends, feature two books in their Non-Fiction Monday entry. Imprisoned by Martin W. Sandler and Fish for Jimmy by Katie Yamasaki along with Common Core Connections. My SLJ came today and I just read the starred review for Imprisoned.

Sondra, of Sonder Books, submits The Boy Who Loved Math. This is one of my favorite picture book biographies this year.


  1. Love the digital book pairing--what a good idea that kids will love. Disasters in general have huge appeal in our library, especially with reluctant readers, so I'll definitely check this one out!

    I posted a review on And the Winner Is...Amazing Animal Athletes here:

    Thanks for hosting!


  2. Very interesting! My son is interested in disasters, and it looks to be at his reading level.

    Thanks for hosting today! My contribution is The Strongest Man in the World: Louis Cyr, about a French Canadian from over a hundred years ago who still holds some strength records!

  3. Thanks for hosting today, Brenda! At Booktalking, I'm sharing Planet Earth (The World in Infographics)

  4. How great that you have a disasters unit in 6th grade? I'm adding to the disasters fun with my post at NC Teacher Stuff. I'm featuring Volcano Rising:

  5. The digital book on Storm Chasers piques my interest. It is exciting work, but so dangerous.

    No disasters today at Wrapped in Foil, but 10 Plants that Shook the World

    Thanks for hosting!

  6. Thanks so much for hosting today! At Bookends, Cindy and I are reviewing two connected books: Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese-Americans During WWII by Martin W. Sandler and Fish for Jimmy by Katie Yamasaki. We include a teaching activity and CCSS.

  7. Thanks for hosting! Tonight at Sonderbooks I'm reviewing The Boy Who Loved Math, by Deborah Heiligman and LeUyen Pham. It's brilliant!