CATCH THE WIND, HARNESS THE SUN: 22 SUPER-CHARGED PROJECTS FOR KIDS, by Michael J. Caduto and John Hanson Mitchell
Each chapter begins with background information followed by the projects that range from the intensive bicycle-powered generator to a simpler energy-conservation board game. Several activities, such as the “Personal Solar Power” kit, require a considerable number of specialized supplies, tools, and adult help, while others, like the “Party-Balloon Wind Gauge,” do not. Each activity concludes with a series of extension ideas that encourage scientific and creative thinking. Young people or “Green Giants” who have made significant differences to the environment are highlighted. Clear photos and step-by-step instructions modeled by real students accompany the activities. With its solid science and inspirational stories and quotes, this is a great guide for classrooms, youth groups, and motivated individuals. Reviewed by Carol S. Surges, New York Journal of Books. Age Range: 8-12 years. Grade Level: 4 and up
ENERGY ISLAND: HOW ONE COMMUNITY HARNESSED THE WIND AND CHANGED THEIR WORLD, by Allan Drummond
In this first title in a series of picture books about sustainable energy, Drummond combines winsome, kinetic, ink-and-wash illustrations with a succinct, simply phrased, smoothly flowing narrative that describes how Samsø transformed itself. – Booklist Review
ENERGY MAKES THINGS HAPPEN (LET’S READ-AND-FIND-OUT- SCIENCE SERIES), by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Energy Makes Things Happen uses familiar examples and a clear focus to introduce basic scientific concepts. An opening scene shows children playing ball, flying kites, and cooking and eating hot dogs, with a rock on a hill in the background. Bradley explains that inherent in the scenarios are different kinds of energy. She then tells how the kite uses the wind, the rock converts stored energy into moving energy, and so on, and discusses how the greatest source of power, the sun, makes food, fossil fuels, light, heat, and wind. The author intentionally makes this a very general introduction; not even moderately difficult words such as “potential” or “kinetic” are used. A simple experiment and a game are appended. While rolling a toy car into a stationary one and observing the result can be easily done, tracing energy back to the sun will probably need adult guidance. Meisel’s color illustrations of cheerful multiethnic children match the level and tone of the text perfectly, make it more comprehensible, and add to the book’s appeal. Reviewed by Louise L. Sherman, School Library Journal
FINDING OUT ABOUT GEOTHERMAL ENERGY, by Matt Doeden
Part of the “What Are Energy Sources?” series, Doeden walks us through the basics of energy gathered from underground. While these topics are actually more complex than Doeden lets on, he provides a good introduction about where we can find this energy and how we can use it. Organized as an early chapter book, Doeden explains that Iceland and places like it can get energy from hot magma that happens to be at a thin spot on Earth’s crust. However, for most of the rest of us, geothermal energy is used for heating and cooling systems. Any new building project that is trying to go green will use a ground-based heating and cooling system, so I would have appreciated if Doeden had explained a little more about how the system takes the fifty degree temperature of the Earth, and changes it into seventy-degree air that can be blown around a house. However, as a simple introduction, this book works reasonably well. As with the others in the series, the text is illustrated by bright, well-chosen photos and a few drawings. This book is one of the best of the series. Back matter includes a glossary, a list of more resources, and an index. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen, Children’s Literature. Age Range: 7 to 11.
KIDS’ SOLAR ENERGY BOOK, by Tilly Spetgang and Malcolm Wells
Written with humor and Illustrated with cartoons, Tilly Spetgang and Malcolm Wells demonstrate how solar power works in clear and easy-to-understand language. Through a classroom lesson, students explore active and passive solar energy systems, the conversion of sunlight into electricity, why the sun is superior to nonrenewable energy, and solar energy’s different uses. Age Range: 8-12 years. Grade Level: 3-7.
MY LIGHT, by Molly Bang
A lovely and illuminating book that presents sound science while expressing the wonder of flipping a switch and flooding a room with light. Jennifer Mattson, American Library Association. Age Range: 4 – 8 years. Grade Level: Preschool – 3
THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND: CREATING CURRENTS OF ELECTRICITY AND HOPE, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him
misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him. (High school to adult edition).
THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND: YOUNG READERS EDITION, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
This youth edition of the original adult book of the same title has been skillfully adapted for middle grade readers. This is a fascinating, well-told account that will intrigue curious minds, even the somewhat anticlimactic closing chapters describing Kamkwamba’s education. There is also a picture book version of this tale (Dial, 2012), making it of interest to all-school reading programs. An inspiring, incredible story. Reviewed by Dorcas Hand, School Library Journal. Age Range: 10 and up. Grades 4-7.
THE SUN: OUR NEAREST STAR, by Franklyn M. Branley
The third edition of this title pairs bright, computer-produced cartoon art with a basic discussion of the sun and its importance to life on this planet. The pictures and text work closely together to impart such information as how large, hot, and distant the sun is, and how its energy is stored, not only in the foods we eat, but also in the fossil fuels we use. However, as Branley concludes with a particularly poorly thought out sundial project, and neglects to recommend books or Web sites, or to warn readers about the dangers of gazing directly at the sun, Paulette Bourgeois’s The Sun (Kids Can, 1997) and Allison Lassieur’s The Sun (Children’s, 2000) make preferable replacements for the older edition (1988). John Peters, School Library Journal. Age Range: 4-8. Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4.
KidWind Project’s Bibliography http://media.wix.com/ugd/816012_d43b947305b14211929ddbd7f27145a9.pdf