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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Mother Nature shows off: shake, rumble, and roll

June 13, 2008

Our normally calm dog turned into Velcro the other night; she became stuck to my side. By the time the thunder and lightning subsided, I was ready to go into a closet with my trembling pooch.

It was a sound and light show provided by Mother Nature.

The weather and other natural disasters have been in the news a lot lately — earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, torrential rains, and now the hurricane season has started.

These events directly impact children in affected areas, but also on children who hear about them. It's almost impossible to insulate kids from this kind of news.

But learning about weather and other natural disasters may prepare kids or at least help develop an understanding of events.

I usually rely on books by Seymour Simon. He's written about Storms, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, (all HarperCollins) and more — each illustrated with amazing color photographs and clearly presented information. (Adults may need to 'translate' the information for younger children — but it's a great way for adults to get the information.)

For those who'd like a lighter approach to weather, something sillier might be just the thing — like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs(Aladdin) or the imaginative Hurricane by David Wiesner (Clarion).

You can complain about it, but it can't be changed. It's simply Mother Nature showing her stuff.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables